Road trips are more popular than ever before in the USA, with nearly 69% of respondents to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers indicating that they were planning to take a road trip in the coming year. Many road trippers possess an inherent yearning to explore the highways and byways of the country. There is, however, no denying that the plethora of road trip movies that have graced the silver screen have inspired more than a couple of memorable cross-country expeditions. While there are countless movies worth watching, three, in particular, deserve a mention if you’re looking for inspiration for your next road trip across the USA.
Thelma & Louise
The 1991 dark comedy by Ridley Scott follows the adventures of Thelma (Geena Davis) and her best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) as they make their way from Arkansas to Mexico after Louise shoots the man who tried to rape Thelma. Apart from the dark theme of the movie, the plot also examines the importance of female friendships and the value of living life to the fullest and on your own terms. Even if you don’t own a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible, you can still travel along the same route that Thelma and Louise did. Regardless of whether you travel in a regular RV or make use of a travel trailer that will enable you to journey like a modern-day tin can tourist, the road to Mexico will undoubtedly lead to a great adventure.
Little Miss Sunshine
The 2006 film features an all-star cast, including Steve Carell Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin, and was the recipient of two Academy Awards. The dark comedy follows the Hooper family as they drive across the country in a yellow VW bus to allow 7-year-old Olivia to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The journey to the pageant takes the family all the way from New Mexico to California along Route 66, one of the most-traveled roads in the USA. The family, which includes an overworked and emotional mom, a Type-A father, a foul-mouthed granddad and a suicidal brother, may not be endearing from the get-go, but they undoubtedly grow on you as the movie progresses.
The critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-winning Rain Man stars Tom Cruise as the vile Charlie Babbitt, and Dustin Hoffman as his autistic brother, Raymond. When Charlie’s father dies and leaves his fortune to Raymond, the brother he never knew even existed, Charlie insists on taking Raymond to his home in Los Angeles. Raymond, however, refuses to board the plane, which results in the two embarking on the journey of a lifetime. The trip from Ohio to LA is not a short one, and both characters display immense growth along the way The movie, which became the highest-grossing US film of 1988, earning more than $172 million, is undeniably one of the most memorable road trip movies ever made, and definitely worth watching more than once.
There is something distinctly alluring about embarking on a road trip reminiscent of a silver screen film. Regardless of where you draw your inspiration from, exploring the hidden gems of the USA will undoubtedly allow you to make your own movie-worthy memories.