2008 Travel Movie Awards
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 02.20.09 | 4:27 PM ET
The Oscars are looming, and in keeping with the season I’m thrilled to announce my second annual Travel Movie Awards. As I noted last year, these picks rate high on the arbitrary scale and are not intended to be comprehensive: this is just a collection of movies (and movie moments) from the past year that got me thinking about travel, and about places new and familiar.
Most Adorable/Unusual Tale of Indie Love in New York
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
There is never any shortage of romantic comedies set in the Big Apple, but most directors opt to focus on the entanglements of young professionals (bewildered new-to-the-city female journalists, more often than not), and to set the action in or near Central Park. “Nick and Norah,” in contrast, follows a pair of suburban, straight-edge teenagers through the live music venues of lower Manhattan—and captures my heart in the process.
Slate’s Dana Stevens said it better than I can: “Some people really were made for each other ... and New York does look beautiful by night. You got a problem with that?”
Most Unexpected Urban Flavour
How She Move
Yup, that’s flavour with a “u.” I’d imagine a few Americans were surprised when, out of the slew of urban dance movies that have been released in the past few years, a Canadian step dancing effort emerged as one of the best. Filmed on location in Toronto and starring mostly Canadian talent, the movie breaks the “gritty inner-city underdog” mold—by picking it up, virtually unchanged, and moving it someplace totally unexpected.
Most Enticing Ode to Riding the Rails
The Oscar front-runner has been accused of glamorizing poverty, and while for the most part I don’t think that’s true, I’ll agree that the sequences where the boys are criss-crossing India by train are entirely intoxicating—despite (or because of?) the fact that they’re barely scraping out a hard living. See for yourself:
“The New Jersey-est Movie of All Time”
The phrase comes courtesy of Nerve.com’s Screengrab blog (see: 10:54 p.m. on this liveblogging post from the Golden Globes), and I think it’s entirely apt. Darren Aronofsky’s film is getting a lot of (well-deserved) attention as a character portrait, but it’s also a portrait of a place and time. From the Springsteen-infused soundtrack to the community halls where Mickey Rourke’s character wrestles on the weekends and the bleak winter boardwalk where a crucial scene takes place, this really might be the New Jersey-est movie of all time.
And finally ... a shout-out to my least favorite travel movie moment of the year:
Most Embarrassing National Cliche
Made of Honor
Embarrassing for the actors getting paid to play along, that is. There wasn’t much I liked about this formulaic (yet simultaneously poorly constructed—just match the paint colors to the numbers, people!) cornball rom-com, but the worst parts of all were the cliche-riddled scenes in Scotland, where our hapless male lead must stop his female best friend’s wedding. Think grim, dreary stone castles, kilts and boar hunts, and—naturally—a little pre-nuptial caber tossing competition. I couldn’t find video of the relevant scenes on YouTube; consider yourselves lucky.
What were your favorite travel movie moments of 2008? And here’s to many more in 2009!