What are the best movies you have watched on a plane?
Who would have thought we would all miss being stuck on a plane? We have a cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash to thank for making us pine for being up in the air. But which movies have you enjoyed during a flight? And while we’re at it, which in-flight flicks have been a disaster? Fasten your seatbelt, make sure your seat is in the upright position, sit back and enjoy the ride…
If only real planes were like movie planes. By the time Wesley Snipes utters the immortal line, ‘Always bet on black!’ in the terrible yet terribly great Passenger 57, he has been running around the bowels of an aircraft for a good 40 minutes. If only we all enjoyed that kind of leg room. It’s a bit like visiting San Francisco’s famous island prison. When you get to Alcatraz, the tour guide asks who wants to see the tunnels below the jail that were famously featured in The Rock. When a show of hands go up, the grizzly guide growls: ‘There are none. That was just a dumb movie.’ And just as Michael Bay cares little for things like accuracy, storyline and direction, movies set on planes care little for the fact that if you were caught up in a terrorist attack, there would be no huge undercarriage to cavort around in for the next two hours. You could put your seat back a little and, uh, that’s it.
What you can do on a plane is watch a movie. Depending on your flight time, you can watch several. Depending on your airline, you can watch whatever one you want at any time, or you’re forced to watch the one you want at the same time as everybody else. But what is the perfect plane movie?
Well, the perfect movie is arguably Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the perfect plane movie. For starters, it won’t be available. Plane movies are all about recent releases. And anyway, Raiders would lose a lot of its scope on a tiny screen on someone’s back. Getting plane movies right is tough. There are rules. The first one is this: don’t watch anything epic. If you weren’t enticed to see The Two Towers in a cinema, chances are you’re not going to enjoy it on a plane when you can’t see anything. Epic movies are also long. You don’t want to end up with deep vein thrombosis. I must confess that I have chosen an epic movie on a plane – Watchmen. I had already seen it on the big screen but just wanted to double check that its blistering opening 90 minutes was followed by an hour of crud. It still was.
The second rule is avoid anything even slightly complicated. Obviously, this is up to personal interpretation, but you don’t want to get a headache from wondering who this guy is or what that guy is doing. Perhaps the most important rule is don’t watch anything dark. I’m not talking about films with a difficult message. I’m talking about films that are actually dark. If most of the screen is draped in black, you’re not going to see much on a plane. It would be pointless to watch a recent Batman film on a plane, for instance. If you thought it was hard to see what was happening during Christopher Nolan’s action scenes on the big screen, then good luck with a screen the size of your hand.
I tend to go for movies that I kind of wanted to see in the cinema but didn’t get round to for some reason. I also opt for comedies and animated movies. And movies that are short. I’ve watched Coraline, Over The Hedge and Monsters vs Aliens on a plane and enjoyed them all. Although I normally avoid dramas at 30,000 feet, I did take in Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood’s modern western is a great plane watch because it’s over-sentimental mush. If only they showed Beaches on every airline. The whole point of watching a film on a plane is to forget you’re on a plane, so what better way to do that than by bawling your eyes out.
My favourite plane movie so far, however, is I Love You, Man. This bromance with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel is the perfect example of a film I would never go to see in a theatre. Probably because people call it a ‘bromance’. It’s silly, it’s funny and it has Paul Rudd in it. What’s not to like? Plane viewing is all about killing time and who better to kill time with than the Ruddster.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST MOVIES YOU HAVE WATCHED ON A PLANE?