Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cinemawesomeness 101: The American Road Movie

Are you ready to learn about one of my favorite genres of film? I've always had a bit (okay a lot) of wanderlust, so nothing stirs my heart like the classic "on the road" movie. I love the extreme wide shots that show the road and horizon. I love the typical minimal dialogue and slow, building plot line. I love more than anything the feeling of desperation and the hunch that danger, physical or otherwise, is always around the corner. Here are my top 5. Add them to your Netflix.

1. Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967)
Socially relevant, independent, classic. Faye Dunaway is still my favorite.
2. It Happened One Night (Capra, 1934)
My first introduction to the genre. Groundbreaking at its time and still funny today.
3. Badlands (Malick, 1973)
A truly independent, gritty production. Stunning cinematography, some of my favorite. Romantic, dangerous, beautiful and tragic.
4. The Grapes of Wrath (Ford, 1940)
Desperate, epic, an important piece of cinematic history. Much like the novel, crucial to future generations' understanding of the human side of the Great Depression.
5. Paper Moon (Bogdanovich, 1973)
A beautiful character study. One of my favorite relationship stories. A sweeping, sentimental masterpiece.
6. Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch, 1984)
Minimalist, subtle, shocking in the way that it drags you into its world. A hip, stark, stunning find from one of my favorite directors ever.
7. Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, 1971)
My favorite of the genre and one of my favorite films of all time. Desperate, listless, cool. Ground-up shots, tracking shots, interesting characters coming and going. One of the greatest and most haunting lines/deliveries I've ever heard comes at the very end of this sparse script: "Those satisfactions are permanent."
There are so many other good ones from The Wild One to Little Miss Sunshine. Please check some of these out. If you really want to be my best friend, talk to me about #5 some time. More cinemawesomeness soon to come.


  1. Oooh, love this post! (Also - just wanted to let you know I awarded you a blog award in my latest post. Check it out if you get a chance!)

  2. I want to see ALL of these!

    P.S. Thank you for the comment. I miss you too and I'm sorry I didn't get to see you when I was down. It was a hectic day.

  3. Awesome list! I haven't seen a couple of these and I'm totally renting them this weekend!