Movies that make us pack our bags

Movies make us want to get out there and see the world. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy revealed New Zealand’s dreamy and dramatic scenery, Gandhi unleashed a generation of backpackers on India and Thailand is about to get a whole lot more drunk tourists with The Hangover Part 2. Like it needs them, right?

Mel Gibson’s feral Mad Max films also introduced a whole bunch to the big red Australian desert. There’s something about seeing a location on the big screen that sucks us in.

My Top 5 destinations inspired by movies include:

Buenos Aires: Sally Potter’s 1997 film The Tango Lesson starts in Paris and ends up in the Argentinian capital, where Sally learns to dance the steamy, erotic tango with partner Pablo. With the Australian dollar stronger than ever, Argentina is el cheapo.

New York: Kiwi director Peter Jackson remade the 1933 classic King Kong in 2005, setting much of the movie in New York, even though every frame was made in New Zealand. Jackson used to get a chuckle out of that one. I also adored No Reservations, the 2007 film starting Catherine Zeta-Jones as a chef in Greenwich Village who inherits a niece and has a spaghetti-tangled relationship with fellow chef Nicholas Palmer, played by Aaron Ekhardt. The movie was adapted from the German movie Mostly Martha, which was an even better film.

Paris: Meg Ryan plays her usual blonde ditz  in French Kiss,  the 1995 rom com about a woman who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé, but gets into trouble when the charming crook, played by Kevin Kline, seated next to her uses her for smuggling. Lots of gorgeous shots of Parisian back streets.

Rio de Janeiro: In City of God, filmed in a gritty doco-style and directed by Fernando Mierelles in 2002, two boys growing up in a violent neighbourhood of Brazil’s teeming Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. Rio looks unbelievably harsh but compelling. One day I’ll get there.

Las Vegas: The Hangover! And the ultra cool comedy-crime movies Ocean’s 11 (2001),  Ocean’s 12 (2004)  and Ocean’s 13 (2007) starring George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt all largely set in the gambling capital of the world where everything is BIG. I’d rather eat broken glass than gamble, but there’s so much to goggle at.

Have movies inspired you to go places? Comments welcome. Lovers of Austria, inspired by The Sound of Music, need not apply…..

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