Erika Star and I drove 15 hours from Portland to Los Angeles this week, thus inspiring the new Huddle Topic: Road trips! So many great stories, movies, TV episodes are inspired by going on the road, it was only right to share our faves.
Lucy Hallowell: Finding Nemo. They don’t always have a flipping clue where they are going but that’s no excuse not to “just keep swimming.”
Ali Davis: I have to go with It Happened One Night. (And not just because I am perversely fascinated by the fact that it was almost disastrously titled “Night Bus”). Clark Gable is Clark Cable, Claudette Colbert is spunky and hilarious, and everybody is so good that it won like ALL the goddamned Oscars that year. Plus you get to see the origin of the flagging-down-a-car-by-sticking-out-one’s-shapely-leg move. I don’t care if it’s an old-fashioned hetero-centric romance. The ending is so perfect it made me burst into tears.
Dana Piccoli: What about the greatest “road” trip of all? The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and a her “friends” head off to find what each of them desperately thinks they lack, only to find the truth inside of themselves. Just like any good road trip it has snacks (apples from those jerkwad trees ) great scenery (Hello, Emerald City!), some mind-altering experiences (POPPIES, man), difficult fellow roadtrippers (flying monkeys) and most important of all, friendship.
Erika Star: I’m pretty sure Follow That Bird is the movie that single-handedly shaped me as a person, especially in regards to my stalking habits, fear of the circus and inability to settle on a city in which to live.
Heather Hogan: Lord of the Rings is the most epic—in the truest sense of the words—road trip of all time. Sam tells Frodo: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” And does his sage prophecy ever come true! Wargs! Watchers! Gollums! Bears! Serpents! Trolls! Good wizards! Evil wizards! And eagles, boy! They set out as naive, pure-hearted hobbits and returned as the greatest heroes in Middle Earth! (Still pure-hearted.)
Chloe: OK, not entirely a road trip movie ALTHOUGH there were road trip elements but: Eurotrip. That movie was hands down hysterical I laughed and laughed and then bought the VHS for my European mother who died laughing. Eurotrip is vastly underrated.
Dara Nai: Thelma & Louise! C’mon! Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, baby Brad Pitt and a ’66 Thunderbird. Sisters before misters, a crime spree, and one asshole trucker gets what’s coming to him. What more do you want?
Elaine Atwell: I really feel like Paper Moon is one of the best movies that most of my generation has never heard of. Ryan O’Neal and real-life daughter Tatum star in this black and white masterpiece of a kid and adult pair of con artists. They travel the depression-era midwest foisting bibles on the recently bereaved, and trying to get away with bigger and bigger cons. Tatum O’Neal is so funny and mean and heartbreaking, and there’s a spectacular—and in its own unexpected way, equally heartbreaking—cameo from Madeline Kahn. Plus it features one of my favorite pieces of dialogue ever.
Kim Hoffmann: Road trip movies are so important, because road trips are rites of passages, and I can speak to that since I’ve travelled cross-country from Seattle to Florida, and then from Florida to Portland. The first time I was with a passenger, but the second time I was all by myself and experienced many moments of great reckoning, picking up treasures along the way, crying at the sight of a mountain, following my instincts and curiously traveling away from the path in search of moonshine, or desert relics, or the best gumbo in balmy, mysterious New Orleans at midnight. I love a movie that backs up the open road with its music: Like Lindsey Buckingham‘s “Holiday Road” in National Lampoon’s Vacation, or just the whole damn soundtrack from Now and Then.
But I feel really compelled to express my love of the episodes whenever Jenny Schecter takes to the road in The L Word. Waking up in a motel to realize Tim is gone and her stockings have surely ripped even more, no words written down on the scroll of paper that holds Tim’s ring, Jenny ends up shrooming with a group of curious kids, mutually in awe of each other. She shows up back in LA covered in dirt, having climbed a mountain, having written such words like: “I would plunge my fingers through my chest, and rip out my heart and give it to you.”
A couple of seasons later, she’s back in the Midwest after her bathroom incident and we catch glimpses of her family dynamic, the relationship she has with her mom, and then we meet Moira, soon to be Max, and learn about the effect of taser guns, road head, camping under the stars, small town gay bars featuring girls in hyper crop tops, that Jenny can drink like 16 shots of tequila in a row, and when it’s all said and done, you can rely on “us butches” to get the bags. I have an understanding for Jenny, and for the ways she — so fucking filled with conviction — set out to make things right by leaving her environment for a minute, if not for herself, for the great beyond, for possibility, for love, for the preservation of her life, however emptied of her organs she wanted to be, however consumed by herself. She’s a resilient embracer of her dark side, and somewhere in between Chicago and LA is a special path where all Jennys know they will meet themselves completely for the first time.
Valerie Ann Liston: Crossroads, duh. (p.s. I forgot Pennsatucky was in this movie.)
For TV, it would be the episode of South of Nowhere where Ashley rescues Spencer. Or any time any combination of the Liars are in a car together, bonus points if they’re spying on someone.
Jenna Lykes: I will forever love Dumb and Dumber because, no matter what, I know I can communicate with my brothers through stupid quotes.
Marcie Bianco: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, because Pee-Wee should’ve stayed in his Playhouse and even got the fortune cookie saying “not to leave the house today,” but he went out and Tim Burton scared the crap out of him and me with clowns and Large Marge.
Grace Chu: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!
Bridget McManus: My pick is Y Tu Mamá También.
Trish Bendix: Boys on the Side! Whoopi Goldberg as a lesbian, Drew Barrymore as the wild child she used to be, and Mary Louise Parker — I mean, just watch the “You Got It” scene and die with me.
What’s your favorite road trip story?