The next best thing to traveling with your family? Watching movies about family travel, of course. Here are my top eight favorites of all time.
No. 8: Lost In Space (1998)
In this cinematic take on the 1960s television show of the same name, the Robinson family takes the trip of a lifetime—into space. The good: The science behind the plot, and the cameos by actors from the original series. The bad: The fact that both kids spend much of the movie being neglected by their doctor dad.
No. 7: Jurassic Park (1993)
Special effects take center stage in this movie, which chronicles the adventures of a gaggle of grown-ups and kids as a preview tour of a theme park with real-live dinosaurs goes horribly wrong. The good: Those lizards! Also, the focus on multi-generational travel. The bad: Sam Neill.
No. 6: Home for the Holidays (1995)
The best of the family-oriented Thanksgiving movies (Planes, Tranes and Automobiles didn’t qualify), this film tells the story of Claudia Larson’s holiday with her family. The good: Incredible cast, helmed by a young Holly Hunter (swoon). The bad: Save for one peripheral character, the “kids” in this flick are all grown.
No. 5: The Great Outdoors (1988)
One of the most underappreciated John Candy flicks, this uproarious movie tells the tale of how a surprise visit from the in-laws derails a family vacation in the woods. The good: Gotta love a good camping flick. What’s more, Candy and Dan Ackroyd make a funny, funny pair. The bad: The bear shtick gets old. Fast.
No. 4: Up (2009)
This adorable animated film tells the story of a grandfather and a stowaway grandson who set out to see the world the cheap way: By tying balloons to their house. The good: The film is suitable for family members of all ages. The bad: The film comes in 3-D, and, IMHO, 3-D as a technology is intrusive and annoying.
No. 3: Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)
One could consider this film the granddaddy of family travel flicks. The plot: During what is supposed to be a quiet beach getaway, the Hobbs family is joined by a host of random relatives. The good: Jimmy Stewart! Old-school cinematography makes it campy for grown-ups. The bad: Expressions and styles are so out-of-date, kids of today might have trouble relating.
No. 2: Vacation (1983)
There’s no denying that this film could be No. 1 on any family travel list; the story of the Griswolds’ quest for Wally World is one of the most epic tales in movie history. The good: What’s not to love? The scenes with Aunt Edna are particularly snarf-inducing. The bad: It might be blasphemy, but I’m not a fan of Cousin Eddie.
No. 1: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This lighthearted movie takes audiences along with the Hoover family as they drive across the country to the youngest member to the finals of a beauty pageant. The good: The script, the nuanced acting and the break-out performance of Abigail Breslin, who (at least in this flick) is utterly lovable. The bad: Runtime; it was only 101 minutes. I could have watched for hours.
Did I miss a good one? Which flicks are on your list? Please leave a comment and let me know.