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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Travel Movies

Actually going somewhere may be off the table for a while, but you can take a trip around the world with these movies filmed on location.

The pandemic has dampened travel plans for many of us, but our wanderlust is still urging us to explore. Sadly, we come to terms with a bucket list that won’t have that trip to the Greek islands checked off. Many of us will investigate state and national parks in the safety of an RV, but what to do about our desire to eat Indian food in India, or munch a chocolate croissant atop the Eiffel Tower? How can we stay safe while seeing new parts of the world? 

Hollywood may have the answer: there is no shortage of great movies filmed abroad. No, it is not the same as traveling there yourself, but it can provide a somewhat-satisfying substitute in a pinch. Order some curry takeout from your favorite Indian restaurant and watch the charming Marigold Hotel or snag some delectable frozen pastries at Trader Joe’s to heat up and enjoy while viewing An American in Paris. Thrifty retirees have known for a long time that it is a great way to get a foreign experience on a budget!

But what to watch? Whether your preference is adventure, action, or romance, there is a movie for you. Keep a box of tissues nearby for the tear-jerkers, a cuddly blanket, and settle down to enjoy. Here is our list of favorites featuring a variety of locales, in no particular order:

Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
This heist film is the second in a trilogy of entertaining romps. While not set entirely abroad, it does take viewers to Lake Como in Italy and has an overall international flavor. 

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Based on a true story, the film follows an Austrian mountaineer and his partner who are imprisoned then escape across the treacherous Himalayan mountains and find refuge in Lhasa, where he befriends the Dalai Lama. Personal and political drama amid a breathtaking setting make this a winner.

A Room With a View (1985)
This charming British romance set in Edwardian England includes a stop in Florence, Italy. If you thrill at thwarted young love that resolves happily at the end, this is your film. Based on a 1907 novel by E. M. Forster.

Sound of Music (1965)
Julie Andrews plays a winsome young nun who becomes the pseudo-mother of six rich Austrian children whose handsome father is a recent widower. Gee, what do you think happens?! Yet this somewhat saccharine, predictable classic is somehow imminently satisfying and worth yet another viewing, if only for the scene where the nun disables the Nazi car.

The English Patient (1996)
Bring out the hankies for this romantic war drama featuring a horribly burned WWII soldier as he has flashbacks of his life working in the Sahara Desert before the war. Set in an Italian monastery, the film satisfies with a great story and foreign flavor.

Endless Summer (1966)
Yearning for some saltwater and sand between your toes? Try visiting beaches from Africa to Tahiti in this epic surfing lifestyle flick, as a pair of Southern Cali boys chase the waves. The cinematography will thrill you, and you may even be inspired to sign up for a lesson or two on your next seaside vacation.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Traveling through India by train, three fictional brothers reinvent the classic road trip through the stunning backdrop of Rajasthan. Brew a pot of tea while you watch the trio interact with other passengers and villagers they encounter along the way.

The Way (2010)
Northern Spain is the setting for this drama set along the Camino de Santiago, where Martin Sheen traces the footsteps of his recently deceased son, meeting a variety of pilgrims and fellow travelers seeking some form of enlightenment as they tread the ancient pathway.

Tracks (2013)
Accompany the actor portraying Robyn Davidson, who walked 17,000 miles through the Australian Outback with only a dog and four feral camels for companionship. Adapted from her namesake book, the movie highlights both her solitude and courage as she trudges through wild landscapes that vary from desolate to stunning.

Y Tu Mama TambiƩn (2001)
In this coming-of-age adventure, a pair of friends and an older companion seek a fabled Mexican beach but find a variety of challenges, including sex and drug use. Set in the late 1990s, the beauty of Oaxaca is juxtaposed with its poverty.

Click below for the other articles in the June 2020 Senior Spirit


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