Practicing social distancing means doing everything you can to minimize the need to physically leave your house so as to avoid exposure to/transmission of the novel coronavirus. Being cooped up, though, can lead one to feeling the need to wander out into the open world. The problem is, that’s not in the public’s best interest.
At times like this, being stuck inside up can feel isolating, which is why movies revolving around characters who hit the road to go on adventurous quests can be so soothing to watch. Road trip movies might not always be your thing, but if you’re in the mood to go on a vicarious journey, these films (and staying inside) might be just the thing to get you through the next few weeks.
There are a number of different tones any given road trip movie can take, and Mad Max: Fury Road does its damnedest to strike more than a handful of them while also weaving a surprisingly cohesive and ultimately uplifting narrative about pouring your blood, sweat, and tears, into defeating authoritarian overlords. Heavy as some of the movie’s themes concerning toxic masculinity and how women have always had to fight for their bodily autonomy are, it also features some genuinely hilarious and visually stunning set pieces.
Road trips with one’s parents—or in the case of Logan, one’s parental figures— can be invigorating or exhausting depending on what your particular relationship with them is like, and James Mangold’s Logan expertly shifts all of its central characters back and forth between those two poles. The film also unsubtly digs into the reality that even though Wolverine is chronologically older than Xavier, the mutant professor ultimately did become a kind of father to him. While their relationship wasn’t always the most stable or healthy, the years they spent fighting alongside each another left Logan a changed man who would eventually pay it forward with his own daughter, shocking as it was to him.
The Zombieland franchise has always understood that no matter how gross-out gory a zombie movie manages to be, it’s all for nothing if the central characters don’t have a genuine amount of heart or compassion for one another. That’s not to say that love and friendship are the only keys to surviving the apocalypse—basic, common sense like double-tapping belongs on that list—but it’s something that ended up making Ruben Fleischer’s films feel both heartwarming and bloodcurdling.
Strictly speaking, it’s inadvisable to hitchhike one’s way across the country, especially in instances where a local bully steals your bike and ends up sending you on a wild goose chase into the great unknown to find it. But Pee-wee Herman’s never been one to stick to societal norms, and he truly does end up having the time of his life encountering specifically the kinds of oddball characters that made Playhouse the beloved series it still is today.
It should be stated: Just because you’re traveling in a car with people you should trust doesn’t mean your cross country road trips are guaranteed to be safe. An important lesson to always keep in mind is that no matter how secure you might feel when driving through the middle of nowhere and pass by what appears to be a gruesome murder scene, what you need to do is stay in the car and keep going until you’re back in civilization—where there are likely to be more witnesses to ensure that an ancient demon thing (or a regular homicidal maniac) doesn’t snatch you up.
A road trip without any musical numbers to speak of is a unique kind of hell, which is what makes The Wiz’s spin on the genre uniquely delightful, even when its moments of technicolor brilliance take a hard left into objectively alarming territory (like when Evillene’s Flying Monkeys make their entrance to ambush Dorothy and her crew). As the movie’s quartet of mismatched heroes journey into Oz, each of them faces unique obstacles that stretch their respective resolves to their limits, but the madder their adventure gets, the more fantastic each of the movie’s songs become.
Journeys into the afterlife are road trips in the existential sense—they often raise the kinds of questions about life and death that one won’t necessarily ponder while speeding down a highway. In a world where all colors lack their normal vibrancy and people physically cannot smile, people like Zia and Mikal are confronted with the idea that the lives they left behind might not have been quite as hopeless as they once believed, especially compared to their current reality. Though Wristcutters is a morbidly dark comedy about sensitive, real-world issues that people face every day, the movie approaches its subject matter with a level of care and attention that makes it a tragedy you can grimly chuckle your way through.
Technically speaking, Hurricane Landing!! and Transcendent Evolution!! are two halves to a film that spans the entire globe and follows as the second generation of DigiDestined make their way to the U.S. from Japan in order to confront a mysterious threat from the Digital World that’s made it into the real world. As many nostalgic memories as Digimon fans may have for the dubbed version of the Digimon movie, the unedited story in Hurricane Landing!! and Transcendent Evolution!! is far more nuanced, heavy in terms of subject matter, and ultimately more satisfying. It gives its heroes and villains the space to explain and justify their respective positions.
It might not be Pixar’s finest offering, but it’s certainly the studio’s latest film to hit theaters, and also one that happens to have been fast-tracked for home viewing because, and we can’t emphasize this enough, keeping the time you’re spending outside to a minimum is one of the best things we can all be doing right now.
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