The lead-up to our European trip was filled with packing, planning, setting out-of-office replies and getting work done. We never once said, “Hey, lets watch a movie.”
But we regretted that. Movies are a fun way to get to know your place of travel, even if they are fictional.
Here’s a list of movies that we thought about on our trip and wished we had watched in advance.
- “The Sound of Music.” — We only spent one night in Salzburg, but it would have been nice to see what it was like in advance. If nothing else, we could have practiced singing while standing in the Alps like Julie Andrews. We did meet an American woman in the Mirabell Gardens who said, “DO NOT go on the Sound of Music tour!” She told us it was a boring bus ride where they just pointed at things out the window. It was cool. We weren’t planning on it anyway. When we got back, a friend told us the tour was amazing and they get you drunk on the bus. To each his or her own, I guess. Doe a dear, a female deer …
- “Das Boot.” — It was filmed at the Bavarian Filmworks, which is in Munich. I had a tour of the place 25 years ago, but we didn’t have time to visit it again.
- “Band of Brothers.” — Mostly because in the movie, they liberate the Eagle’s Nest. During our tour of the Eagle’s Nest, our guide kept mentioning various places that show up in the movie. I haven’t seen it in a long time, so I didn’t know much about what she was talking about.
- “Europtrip.” — This is one of my favorite movies, just because I love the idea of going to Europe on a whim and getting lost with friends. They don’t spend a lot of time in Germany, but I love the train scenes with Fred Armisen and the soccer hooligans. Also, the character Jamie is obsessed with Frommer’s and at the end becomes a writer for them. Totally my dream (for any travel guide). “Scotty doesn’t know …”
- “Amadeus.” — Since we were in Salzburg, it would have been nice to know a little more about him, though the movie is fictionalized. We weren’t about to read a biography or anything (maybe eventually) but a quick peek into his life would have been nice. We did hear “Rock Me Amadeus” as performed by an awesome Munich street band called Konnexion Balkon.
- “Inglorious Basterds.” — Probably my favorite World War II movie, even though it’s entirely fictional. I just love watching Hitler burn. Also. Christoph Waltz is such an excellent bad guy. This movie teaches the importance of showing your thumb for number one, instead of your index finger.
- “Bent.” — I just found this one while looking for movies about Dachau. It’s based on the 1979 play by Martin Sherman. A gay man is sent to Dachau and tries to hide his pink label, pretending to be a Jew. Our tour guide at Dachau showed us the different labels prisoners had to wear to identify their “crimes.”8. “Beerfest.” — Ridiculously American-centric and offensive to Germans, this is the finest of Broken Lizard’s films. Jay Chandrasekhar is probably the best comedy director working today (with all due reverence to the great Mel Brooks). The movie also features Jurgen Prochnow, who starred in “Das Boot.” We found ourselves hollering “Das Boot!” whenever we saw a boot glass, or Bierstiefel. I kinda wish we had bought one.
Of course, there are more great movies about Germany. Which would you recommend?