With Canada Day long weekend behind us, its time to load up the kids, the family pet and all your supplies for the yearly ritual for many western Manitobans. Its time for the family road trip.
According to an online survey from Facebook, the most popular out-of-province destination for families of Westman this year will be the Wisconsin Dells, followed by the North Dakota State Fair, and the Alberta Rockies.
"Mom, are we there yet?" followed by "Mom, are we there yet?" followed by long stretches of farmland in the middle of nowhere doesn’t make for the most appealing of journeys.
This week, we look at movies that take something excruciatingly boring and turn it into something entertaining. So if you find yourself dreading the lengthy voyage from point A to point B, just think about these road trip classics. Better yet, jump online, or try to find someone with the DVD copy of one or more of these movies, and have a good laugh before you venture down the highway with your family this summer.
We try to watch at least one every year, so when the expected disaster happens unexpectedly, often we can laugh at a similar situation we just finished watching at our very own "Road Trip Film Festival". Here’s the best road trip movies, in no significant order:
• "Wild Hogs" — A group of middle-aged friends decide it would be fun to get on some bikes and get away together, but they more than they bargained for. Tim Allen and John Travolta are quite funny in this one. However, its less about a family suffering through a summer vacation and more about some guys approaching mid life, looking to deal with a mid-life crisis by jumping onto some motorbikes. This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a group of radio personalities from Western Manitoba who discover the US food chain "Golden Corral". It does not end well.
• "Dumb and Dumber" — Two less-than-intelligent friends go on a road trip to return a briefcase that one of Lloyd’s customers left in an airport. This was Jim Carrey’s best movie ever! Jeff Daniels in the bathroom scene is still one of the best potty humor scenes in the history of cinema. Not as much a family road trip movie as a "Two buddies on a quest to find themselves". This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about (insert two local politicians’ names here) for doing (two bonehead moves this year.)
• "National Lampoon’s Vacation" — A father decides to take his family on a vacation to Wally World. There are actually three movies in this series. This is the first, and next to the Christmas Vacation, certainly the best. This franchise sums up family dysfunction at its best. However casting directors must have pulled their hair out trying to keep the movies’ casts consistent. Every movie had different kids in it. But I have to admit it, when I finally got the kids to Disneyland last year, we had to do the ceremonial "Chariots of Fire" run across the parking lot as Clark and Russ did in the first movie. This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a Westman family with the last name "Lampoon". Larry, Lindsay, Lance and Laura are lucky the length of the legendary laugh-fest was less than last year’s. L also stands for loser.
• "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" — A man who is trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving has to put up with an obnoxious man in order to get home. John Candy and Steve Martin are gold in this movie. The "those aren’t two pillows" scene is one of the funniest of any road trip movie. This movie teaches you "what will likely go wrong on a summer vacation usually will." This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a city who pleads and begs with a local air carrier to fly out of their town. Everyone does their own stunts in this one too.
• "Road Trip" — A group of friends take a road trip to retrieve a video that one of his friends accidently sent to one of their girlfriends. The problem is that the guy was with another woman on the tape. Where is Tom Green now? Couple of "B" movies, a quickie marriage to Drew Barrymore, and back to Canada? I miss this guy and his sense of humour. His practical jokes on his parents and "fun with road kill" disturbed a lot of people, but I thought he was genius. This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a group of Jets fans from Brandon who get turned around in Portage and end up watching a broomball game in Gilliam, but are too drunk to realize they were not at an NHL game.
• "Are We There Yet?" — The boyfriend of a divorced mother of two promises to bring her kids to her for the holiday. Ice Cube does a great job in this movie. And of all those listed, the best road trip movie to also address the challenge of a "mixed family". As if it wasn’t stressful enough to load up a group of kids that belong to you, let alone kids that belong to someone you are starting a NEW relationship with. And if they’re brats? The fun never stops, but after watching almost every scene you mutter to yourself "thank God that isn’t me!" This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a couple of Country music fans who set out for Dauphin’s Countryfest on mo-peds. It isn’t until midway through the park that these mo-ped packing partners realize maximum speed is 20 miles per hour. They should be arriving right about now.
• "RV" — A father rents an RV for his dysfunctional family to travel in to the Rockies. Next to Chevy Chase in the Vacation movies, Robin Williams does a great job playing a dad who has much of the same problems Clark Griswold had. Only Williams’ character drives a big RV he’s rented for his family. Maybe that’s problem No. 1. Shouldn’t you really own the RV you drive? Goodbye damage deposit and hello holiday fun! This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about Rockin’ Violin students from the BU Music program, who live the dream of classical marriage to rock and roll, complete with instrument smashing. In the most civil way possible of course.
• "Kingpin" — A former bowling pro takes on a new prodigy and tries to help him into the pro league to make some money. NOT FOR KIDS. Lotsa colourful language and some nasty scenes. Woody Harelson waking up after a one-night stand with … well … er … I shouldn’t spoil it. Very funny movie, but again, take the kids for a game of bowling instead of having them see this one. For mom and dad, it’s got some great laughs. This movie title is also used for a documentary picture about a man obsessed with getting his picture in the sportsbar in a south Brandon bowling lane, staying awake without food for 114 days attempting to do it. He doesn’t. And his wife leaves him.
• "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" — Both movies are about two stoners. One simply has two young guys needing munchies, so they embark on a journey for hamburgers. Anyone who ever grew up in a small town and made the trek to Brandon for a late night Big Mac, can appreciate this one. And the other is about two guys who set out to stop a movie where the guys resemble their likeness. Both are not for kids, and next to the Trailer park boys, Jay has got the filthiest mouth I’ve ever seen. I didn’t now the F word could be used as an adjective, noun, pronoun, verb and every other way. He used it constantly. Still, it’s very funny. No local documentary confusion with these two movies, although some stoners thought they were at Jay and Bob when they were at Harold and Kumar, and visa versa. Pass the Visine. And the White Castle.
May you and your family have a safe and happy vacation road trip. And don’t pull a "Clark Griswold". Remember the dog is tied to the back while you deal with grandma on the roof.
- Ashton English
- Amanda Galbraith
- Shaye Bolduc
- Stephanie Bell
- Chalaine Martine Wood
- Laura Bowley
- Shailyn Eastcott
- Laryssa Mecas
- Glenn Good
- Criss Huntinghawk
- Kristal McKinney
- Shawna Bertone
- Laura Spelliscy
- Gayla Parker-Neufeld
- Alvaro Velasco
- Beverly Loane
- Candice Michelle Sanderson
JOKE THIS WEEK
A little girl asks her mom if she could take the family dog for a walk.
Her mother replied, "No honey, the dog is in heat."
"What’s heat?" asks the girl.
The mother says "Go and ask your father"
The little girl takes the doq to her father and asks if she can take her for a walk.
Her father dips a rag in gasoline and wipes the dog’s back, and tells his daughter "That should do, just take the dog around the block."
About 10 minutes later the little girl returns in tears without the dog.
"Where’s the dog?" asks her father.
The little girl says "She ran out of gas, but not to worry — there is another dog pushing her home."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 7, 2012