Great Escape Movies: Feel Like the First Day of Spring (Even Though It’s Snowing)

Today is the first official day of spring and it’s snowing. I can’t stand it anymore! For anyone else who just can’t stand the sight of any more snow, here is a list of movies to watch over the weekend that don’t have any snow in sight, and mostly take place in sunny climates, often with beaches. Some of them fit into multiple categories, but I went with the one I thought best fit each film.

For those looking for more intelligent, artsy films:

The Descendants, George Clooney, Shailene Woodley

George Clooney & Shailene Woodley in The Descendants.

The Descendants (serious, Hawaii, beach scenes, crying)
starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer
This film is about a man in charge of a large parcel of Hawaiian land who is also dealing with the fact that his wife is in a coma and he has to manage two daughters, including a teenager, played fantastically by a pre-Divergent, pre-Fault In Our Stars, Shailene Woodley, and a younger daughter, neither of which he can really control. Then there is an affair that comes into play and chaos ensues. It’s not exactly an uplifting film, but it’s a great film about a father-daughter relationship, which is a really rare thing, and it’s a beautiful story and script with amazing Hawaiian scenery.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Scarlet JohanssonVicky Cristina Barcelona (drama, love story, Barcelona)
starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem
This movie is a Woody Allen movie, so for Allen fans, that gives somewhat of a description in itself. As for additional details, two young women travel to Barcelona, where they get involved in a love square of sorts with a man in a toxic relationship with Penelope Cruz. It’s a good movie and Cruz won an Academy Award for her performance.

Before Midnight, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight.

The Before Sunrise Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) (drama, love story, Vienna, Paris, Greece)
starring Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
For those not familiar with this trilogy, it’s about a couple that meets on a train in the first film and walk around Vienna, Austria. That’s the plot. The entire film is a conversation, but if you like well-written art films, don’t let that deter you because this trilogy is brilliant and entertaining. The second film picks up with the couple, Celine and Jesse, in Paris, and the third follows them to Greece.

Bend It Like Beckham, Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra

Keira Knightley & Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like Beckham (dramedy, sports, love story, London)
starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
This is a sports film and less good scenery but just kind of a fun movie with a young Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra, as well as Jonathan Rhys Meyers in his pre-Henry VIII days. It’s an empowering, feel good movie set in London about female athletes.

For those who prefer action:

Pirates of the Caribbean, Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira KnightleyPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (stop after the first one) (comedy adventure, love story, Caribbean)
starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush
Everyone is familiar with Pirates of the Caribbean by now, so I think I can skip the description, but there have been so many sequels, and they haven’t really been that good, that it may have dulled opinions of the first film. A re-watch may remind you how funny and entertaining Captain Jack was in his first incarnation and how much fun this first pirate adventure was. Just pretend there aren’t any sequels

The Mummy, Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John HannahThe Mummy & The Mummy Returns (stop after the second one) (comedy adventure, action, Egypt, desert)
starring Rachel Weisz, Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr
These films are also light, funny action movies that, if not taken too seriously are quite entertaining. Again, there are a lot of sequels, and while the second one is still entertaining, stop there.

For those who just wish they were in Hawaii:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand, Kristen Bell, Jason Segal, Mila KunisForgetting Sarah Marshall (comedy, love story, Hawaii)
starring Jason Segal, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand
This movie is hilarious and even without the scenery is definitely worth a watch. Jason Segal, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, and a random appearance by Paul Rudd all make for a great comedy team. Also, they are in Hawaii by the beach and right now it’s snowing out.

Blue Crush, Kate Bosworth

Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush

Blue Crush (drama, sports film, Hawaii)
starring Kate Bosworth, Matt Davis, Michelle Rodriguez
This is a movie about a surfer trying to win the pipeline competition in Hawaii. It’s entertaining and has great shots of surfing, and again, it’s snowing outside and they are surfing in the warm sun in Hawaii.

(Also The Descendants again)

Romance:

The Notebook, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdamsThe Notebook
starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
This movie needs no description but it has no snow and it has Ryan Gosling.

Sweet Home Alabama, Reese WitherspoonSweet Home Alabama
starring Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey
There are a couple scenes on the beach and it’s always warm in the film, which is a light-hearted romantic comedy that is not afraid to embrace stereotypes about the south.

Chasing Liberty, Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode

Mandy Moore & Matthew Goode in Chasing Liberty

Chasing Liberty
starring Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven
A European adventure that is a fun enough romantic comedy that travels through Prague, Venice and Berlin and has Matthew Goode. Why not?

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