RETURN OF THE FURIOUS ROAD MOVIES
Road movies are one of our favorite genres here at Furious Cinema. If you recall, we started with the 10 Furious Road Movies list in August 2011, then followed it up with a For a Few Furious Road Movies More list in November 2011. Those covered a good batch of films but there was many more we didn’t get to highlight. That’s why we think it’s about time that we got back on the road again. It’s The Return of The Furious Road Movies!
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974, Dir: Martin Scorsese)
A newly widowed woman from New Mexico named Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) goes on the road with her young son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) in hopes of starting a new life. A real departure for urbanite filmmaker Martin Scorsese that examines life from the female point of view. It remains one of his very best efforts. Co-starring Kris Kristofferson, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd, Jodie Foster, Billy Green Bush and Vic Tayback. TRIVIA: This film inspired the TV show ALICE starring Linda Lavin.
Almost Famous (2000, Dir: Cameron Crowe)
Teenage music journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) joins his favorite band “Stillwater” on tour and lives like a rock star, learning about life in the process. I’ve always found this movie to be really corny and sentimental but I wanted to include it in the list since it’s so well known. Based on true events in the life of writer-director Cameron Crowe. Co-starring Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Dir: Preston Sturges)
A successful filmmaker (Joel McCrea) who specializes in comedies longs to make an important drama based on a book entitled “O Brother Where Art Thou”. To learn more about the human condition he hits the road living like a tramp and finding out along the way that the work he was doing with his humor based films was more important than he thought. Co-starring Veronica Lake.
Based on the Starkweather killings of the 50s, Martin Sheen plays Kit, a young rebel who goes on a deadly spree with his innocent teenage girlfriend Holly (Sissy Spacek) through the South Dakota countryside. A beautifully poetic story about young lovers on the run and a fantastic directorial debut from Malick.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the legendary Depression era bank robbers. A superb, exciting ‘criminals on the lam’ classic from the beginning of the New Hollywood era. Featuring standout supporting performances by Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Gene Wilder and Dub Taylor.
During The Depression years, drifting musician/sign painter Woody Guthrie (David Carradine) travels from his home in Texas to the promised land of California and becomes a folk singing sensation. A late 70s dusty gem with gorgeous cinematography by Haskell Wexler. Co-starring Ronny Cox and Randy Quaid.
Buffalo 66 (1998, Dir: Vincent Gallo)
After serving five years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Billy Brown (Gallo) is released and immediately kidnaps a young woman named Layla (Christina Ricci) forcing her to pretend to be his wife. A strange, emotional and funny indie gem. Some of Gallo’s best work featuring a score he composed and performed. Co-starring a fantastic group of actors: Angelica Huston, Ben Gazzarra, Mickey Rourke, Rosanne Arquette, Kevin Corrgian, Jan Michael Vincent.
The Chase (1994, Dir: Adam Rifkin)
A wrongly accused fugitive on the run named Jack Hammond (Charlie Sheen) kidnaps a rich heiress (Kristy Swanson) in desperation thus kicking off a high speed police chase from California to the Mexico border. A fast paced comedy romp. Co-starring Ray Wise, Henry Rollins and Josh Mostel.
Convoy (1978, Dir: Sam Peckinpah)
Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald (Kris Kristofferson) rallies his fellow truckers in a massive protest against corrupt law enforcement through Arizona and New Mexico. Sadly it is Peckinpah’s last good film. Co-starring Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young, Franklyn Ajaye and Madge Sinclair.
In this futuristic sci-fi B-classic produced by New World Pictures, a cross country road race involving killing pedestrians for points brings together a weird assortment of contestants including the mysterious, disfigured champ “Frankenstein” (David Carradine), the loudmouthed, crude thug “Machine Gun Joe” Viturbo (Sylvester Stallone) and others.
A nerdy businessman (Dennis Weaver) on his way from San Francisco to a meeting up the coast gets caught in a highly charged, deadly game of cat and mouse with a psychotic trucker. Originally a Made for TV movie in the USA that was released theatrically overseas. A Spielberg fan favorite.
Dumb and Dumber (1995, Dir: The Farrelly Bros)
In this hilarious screwball comedy, two idiots, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and his best pal Harry (Jeff Daniels) from Providence Rhode Island plan a cross country trip to Aspen, Colorado in hopes of finding the woman (Lauren Holly) that left her briefcase behind at the airport. This movie is filled with hysterical sight gags and off the wall humor. Co-starring Charles Rocket, Mike Starr and Karen Duffy.
Five Easy Pieces (1971, Dir: Bob Rafelson)
A misanthropic, ex-piano prodigy Bobby Dupea (Jack Nicholson) can’t seem to settle down no matter how hard he tries. His cute but annoying girlfriend (Karen Black) wants to take their relationship to the next level but he has too many unresolved personal troubles and a very bad attitude. Co-starring Billy Green Bush, Sally Struthers and Ralph Waite.
W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975, Dir: John G. Avildsen)
Set in 1957, W.W. Bright (Burt Reynolds) is a roving gas station robber with a big personality. When he sees a chance at going straight as the manager of an up and coming Country/Western group he quickly jumps into action charming up a storm. A rollicking, light hearted and funny southern fried adventure with some good downhome music and characters. Co-starring Ned Beatty, Conny Van Dyke and Art Carney.
The Grapes of Wrath (1941, Dir: John Ford)
During the Depression, a family of poor Oklahoma farmers lose their homestead to greedy land barons and decide to head to California in hopes of finding work and a better future. One of Ford’s greatest films features a stirring, memorable performance by a young Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Co-starring Jane Darwell and John Carradine.
The Great Race (1965, Dir: Blake Edwards)
Some Like It Hot alum Tony Curtis is heroic “The Great Leslie” and Jack Lemmon is the villainous “Professor Fate” two flamboyant rival daredevils that stage a road race from New York to Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Co-starring Natalie Wood, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn.
The Gumball Rally (1975, Dir: Charles Bail)
Mike Bannon (Michael Sarrazin) a wealthy but bored candymaker sets up a coast to coast roadrace accepting only non catalytic converted vehicles with no 55 MPH speed limit and most importantly NO RULES! One of the standouts of the subgenre. Co-starring Raul Julia, Gary Busey, Nicholas Pryor and Joanne Nail.
An old crook named “Smiler” Grogan (Jimmy Durante) dies after giving the whereabouts of a buried stash of money to some strangers that find him on the side of the road. This kicks off a hysterical, high octane roadrace featuring a phenomenal cast that includes Spencer Tracy, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Terry-Thomas, Dick Shawn and Ethel Merman.
On their weekend fishing trip, two men (Edmund O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) are held hostage by a sadistic criminal (William Talman) who’s on the run from the law. A taut, tense film noir classic.
O’ Brother Where Art Thou? (2002, Dir: The Coen Bros)
After escaping from a Southern chaingang, Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) convinces fellow hick convicts Pete (John Turturro) and Delmer (Tim Blake Nelson) to join him on a trip to retrieve $1,200,000 he claims he stole before being imprisoned. On their way they encounter a wide variety of wacky characters and obstacles. Featuring a hit soundtrack with lots of great old timey bluegrass music. Co-starring John Goodman and Charles Durning. Based on Homer’s The Odyssey.
Following the death of her mother, youngster Addy Loggins (Tatum O’Neal) has to move in with her aunt. One of her mother’s old suitors (Ryan O’Neal) offers her a ride to the bus depot at the funeral and soon the two reluctant acquaintances are working together as grifters. Co-starring Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman and Randy Quaid.
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1986, Dir: Tim Burton)
When his cherished custom bike is stolen and said to be held at The Alamo in Texas, oddball man-child Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) hits the road to get it back while meeting a variety of kooky and colorful characters. Co-starring Elizabeth Daily.
Rain Man (1988, Dir: Barry Levinson)
Tempermental sportscar dealer Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) finds out his estranged father has died and left the family fortune to Ray (Dustin Hoffman), the older (and autistic) brother he never knew he had. Charlie then decides to kidnap Ray from the special needs home where he lives and use him as a pawn to get the money he feels he deserves. A very funny and touching look at two siblings connecting on the road.
Roadgames (1981, Dir: Richard Franklin)
Stacy Keach is Patrick Quid an American truck driver working in Australia who becomes entangled in a mystery revolving around a serial killer who’s knocking women off across the Outback. Co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis as a hitchhiker he picks up on his travels.
Scarecrow (1973, Dir: Jerry Schatzberg)
In this overlooked 70s gem, an ex-convict (Gene Hackman) and ex-sailor (Al Pacino) meet up on the road hitchhiking. The two strike up a friendship and agree to go into business together when they reach their destination in Pittsburgh, PA. In the tradition of Midnight Cowboy.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977, Dir: Hal Needham)
Good ol boy Bo “Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) is hired by wealthy Texans Big (Pat McCormick) and Little Enos (Paul Williams) Burdett to haul 400 cases of Coors beer (outlawed east of Texas) from Texarkana to the Georgia Classic in 28 hours. Bandit gets his best buddy Cledus Snow (Jerry Reed) to drive the freight truck full of suds as he accompanies him in his superfast Pontiac Trans Am. Co-starring Sally Field, Jackie Gleason and Mike Henry.
Two non-talkative friends simply called “Driver” (James Taylor) and “Mechanic” (Dennis Wilson) live on the road, competing in small town auto races for cash. On their travels they pick up a hitchhiker (Laurie Bird) and meet the older hot rodder “GTO” (Warren Oates) who challenges them to a race from New Mexico to Washington D.C. for pink slips (ownership) of the car which loses.
Neer do well NYC hipsters Willy (John Lurie) and his pal Eddie (Richard Edsen) travel from New York to Cleveland to visit a family member (Eszter Balint). A freewheeling, minimalist indie comedy classic.
Y Tu Mamá También (2001: Alfonso Cuarón)
Two teenage boys go on a road trip and take a good-looking woman in her 20s with them. What ensues is an enchanting story of love, lust, adventure and coming-of-age, unlike any other road trip movie you’ve ever seen. It’s full of heart, adolescence and free spiritedness. It was hugely successful and won a whole bunch of awards, in Mexico and beyond. Years later he would make modern sci-fi classics Childrend of Men and Gravity. It is coming out on BluRay and DVD by Criterion tomorrow.