As Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee set off on their great adventure in the movie Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Sam hesitates in the middle of a field for a moment. “If I take one more step,” Sam says, “it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”
“Come on, Sam,” Frodo tells him. “Remember what Bilbo used to say; ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’”
The same could be said for turning on your television and watching a movie.
Granted, most of the time, the movies we watch are designed to keep us firmly parked on the couch, not break free of it. But sometimes you run across a film (or series of films) that encourage you to turn off the tube and dive into an adventure. Such films show us exotic lands that we want to see for ourselves or give us hints of daring exploits that make us consider doing the same. They fire our imaginations to try new things, eat new foods, and push ourselves in ways that maybe we haven’t before.
But be warned, my friends. If you’d rather just stay at home and eat Doritos, these movies are dangerous in their own, adventurous ways—pulling you and yours out of well-worn ruts and onto roads that might sweep you somewhere new and daring. And given the quote above, perhaps the best place to start is with …
The Lord of the Rings movies (Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King, PG-13): Obviously none of us can go tromp through the Old Forest or spelunk through the Mines of Moria, given that Middle Earth is author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world. Still, the movies suggest that adventure may wait for us all (magic ring or no), no matter how unlikely we might be as adventurers. And let’s not forget that the films have pushed plenty of folks to have adventures of their own—in New Zealand, where the movies were filmed. As many as 16 percent of New Zealand’s tourists cite the movies as a big reason why they came. (You can watch all three movies with a subscription to Hulu.)
Indiana Jones movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; and [erg] Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; PG, PG-13): George Lucas’ and Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones flicks are only slightly more grounded in reality than the Lord of the Rings movies are. (Or so I assume, from the lack of stories about magic artifacts and doom-riddled temples in National Geographic.) But Dr. Jones does operate, at least, in a facsimile of the real world, and his travels (always illustrated helpfully via red lines racing across sepia-tone maps) inspire a desire to see, say, far-off Nepal (even if we might not engage in a drinking contest) or walk the streets of Venice (even if we can’t get into the catacombs below). Indiana travels the world with both a swaggering confidence and a knowledgeable reverence that serves him well—and might serve like-minded adventurers, too. (You can watch the movies on several streaming services, including Amazon Prime and YouTube, beginning at $2.99.)