A few days ago I presented a brilliantly insightful piece of cinematic wisdom called Five Flicks to Avoid Before Dental Work. And apparently that piece got lots of clicks, and so in way of thanks, I offer another installment. (Which is precisely how all sequels get made.) This one will (obviously) focus on the films you should stay away from if you're a day or two from air travel. I don't care how confident a flier you may be; you just don't need to see this stuff the night before you board an airplane.
1. Final Destination -- Speaking of movies I've seen less than twelve hours before flying to visit my father in Florida, hey here's one: a horror thriller that opens with (and hinges entirely upon) an elaborate and horrific airplane explosion. (And yes, I was fixated on the flick's plane crash the entire next day. Not fun.) As far as the sequels go, avoid Part 2 before any long highway trips, stay away from Part 3 if you're headed to an amusement park, and pass on Part 4 if your plans include a Nascar race. (Matter of fact, pass on Part 4, period.)
2. Alive -- Most people remember Frank Marshall's fact-based survival tale because, well, it's a movie about people (literally) eating people. That kind of thing sort of overwhelms a movie. But to this day, the Act I plane crash found in this film remains one of the most convincing, tragic, and disturbing I've ever seen. (And, fine, it's nifty as hell from a special effects and editing standpoint.)
3. Fearless -- Jeff Bridges stars as the survivor of a plane crash in Peter Weir's fantastic film. (Seriously, see this movie.) And while it seems unfair to focus solely on the plane crash sequence, given the film's overall quality, the simple truth is that it's one stellar / horrific scene. For sheer "realness" and intensity, this sequence may actually rival the one found in Alive.
4. United 93 -- An obvious choice, but a deserving one. I fly fairly often, and the shadow of terrorism still scares me a whole lot. Also, if you haven't seen this film since it first came out, you should definitely consider a revisit. It holds up remarkably well, which I never thought it would, truth be told.
5. Planes, Trains & Automobiles -- You think horrible airplane tragedies are the only choice? Nope, I've actually saved the most pertinent for last. (In other words, here's something you can actually relate with.) The #1 film to avoid before air travel, particularly if you're one miserable traveler like I am, is John Hughes' classic Thanksgiving comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
Why? Because it takes all those things we dread, hate, and lament about traveling and then it blows them up to hilariously absurd size. The overweight airplane neighbor, the delayed flight, the miserable weather, the dingy hotels, the horrid rental car procedures, and (most of all) those torturous, tantalizing "visions of home" that flit through our brains as our travel nightmares keep piling up. And to this day, every time I'm stuck staring at an unhelpful dolt behind a counter, all I can think of is Neil Page gritting his teeth and grumbling "I want a
Warning! Do NOT watch this clip if you're offended by the eff word. Even when it's employed entirely as an adjective and is therefore not technically "vulgar."
...and right about here is where I'd throw in a bunch of "honorable mentions," but that seems like something our readers might enjoy. So put down your luggage and give us some more flicks to avoid before air travel.