We want to start off by saying that this is going to be purely opinionated, but these movies will not disappoint. We have watched all the movies that we have put on this list and believe that they will either bring a family closer or at least entertain whoever is watching.
This movie is perfect if you are a sci-fi enthusiast or if you are traveling on the open road, away from major light pollution and when you look up you see thousands of stars. Interstellar is very much a family movie, though kids younger than 7 will most likely not get the science, but they will be awed by the amazing visuals the movie provides once the crew goes “interstellar”. The movie follows characters that visit different planets, all with unique climates and are vastly different from Earth. The crew even orbits around a black hole! This movie is amazing in both story-telling and visuals. The main character has an arc that centers around wanting to get back to his daughter who is still on Earth, but we will leave it at that to make things more dramatic.
Whiplash is a spectacular movie with a lot of deeper meanings hidden underneath the surface, even though it may look like a movie about a drum-set player’s struggles. This movie isn’t meant for kids, but the teenagers and adults can enjoy the acting and story of this film. For the most part, Whiplash is intense because of the constant clashing of the two main characters. If you enjoy playing an instrument, we believe that you will enjoy this movie because it shows the hardships of mastering your craft, but to an extreme.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The latest entry to the Mad Max franchise was truly epic. People of all ages can enjoy this film, though it must be said that some imagery can be gruesome in the film. The thing that makes this movie fun is by far the vehicles and the post-apocalyptic world that seems plausible. The battle scenes are colorful and clashing. Mad Max is perfect for a road trip or off-roading expedition since the film puts you in that world already.
Much like Interstellar, Inception is jaw-dropping because of its visuals and story-telling. This film is another great sci-fi film that will make you curious about how dreams work, but also allow you to be simply entertained as the characters in this film pull off a heist like no other. The scenes in Inception break the laws of physics, which is to be expected of a sci-fi film, but also breaks our hearts as the main character struggles with the death of his wife and the fact that he cannot see his children unless he completes this last heist. We recommend this movie to all ages, but younger children may fall asleep due to the lack of bright colors and flashy objects in the film.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Many people grew up on Lord of the Rings and for many, that was their first introduction to fantasy, magic, other creatures, and our first hero’s tale. Obviously, show your kids these movies because they are simply just amazing. The film forces you to fall in love with each character and you are worried for them every step of the way. The Lord of the Rings trilogy will easily make a long road trip seem short, or at least more enjoyable. It is easy to get fully immersed into the world of Middle Earth because of the different creatures such as Hobbits, Dwarfs, Wizards, and many more. Lord of the Rings is a great “good versus evil” story that any age can easily enjoy.
Inside Out very much is a kid’s movie, but many of Pixar’s movies have a deeper meaning for anyone older watching as well. This film is beautifully animated and colorized, but the message behind the film really hits home. Inside Out teaches us, but more so reminds us, that we should let our inner child live sometimes. It shows that as we get older, we tend to forget about our creative and imaginative sides in place of a more logical side, thus slowly killing our inner child. Inside Out personifies common emotions and functions to make the meaning easier to understand, which is great visual for the kids, but a helpful reminder to anyone older to be happy more often and go out and create something amazing for the world.
Toy Story Trilogy
The Toy Story trilogy is great because it very much is a growing up trilogy as each new film is introduced, the child, Andy, ages more. Besides this, Toy Story is a very entertaining series that the kids can enjoy at home or to keep distracted from a long trip on the road. The toys in the films are icons, and we grow to care for them in the movies. The Toy Story trilogy is simply a great time, so why not entertain the kids with a trilogy that will most likely remain a classic.
The Godfather 1 & 2
The Godfather franchise is not for kids, but the films surely are classic and dark. These films are great to show the older teens and adults because they will be drawn into the characters and their decisions. If you or your family has not seen these films, we do not want to give too much away, but all we will say is that if you are into mob-boss films or films that have family drama, you are going to love the Godfather movies. We didn’t include the third movie because we don’t think it holds up to the other two as well, but you can go ahead and watch if you want to get more of the story.
Harry Potter Series
With nine movies in total, choosing to show your passengers Harry Potter is a no-brainer. However, the Harry Potter series should not be shown just because the abundance of movies there are; they are actually entertaining. Harry Potter is rooted in magic and each movie helps us discover the lore within the world of Harry Potter. The first movies start off as simple children films, but as they progress, we find out that there is a backstory to that world. It soon becomes a “good versus evil” series, but one that is constantly entertaining because it adds many twists to the plot. Overall, Harry Potter is great for any age group and you can hopefully get across most of the country with 9 films.
Oceans 11 & 13
The Ocean’s movies are great heist films that have you at the edge of your seat throughout. You are rooting for the “bad guys” these films, but never really care for that. The Ocean’s movies have a bunch of A-list actors, that of which we will probably never see the likes of again, quippy dialogue, and well-thought out plans by our main characters. We excluded Ocean’s 12 because it was our least favorite of the trilogy but go ahead and watch it for the full story because the movies follow a chronological order, obviously told be the increasing numbers. These are mostly funny movies that almost all age groups can enjoy, so sit back and be entertained.
We hope that this list introduces you and your family to some great films and that they can entertain the ones in the backseats for the majority of your trip. Again, these films are just our favorites that we think would be great for anyone to see and it would be amazing if you happened to fall in love with these films as we have.