Some streets of the District have been closed recently due to the shooting of films, including the latest Wonder Woman movie.
This had us thinking about what great movies may have included some notable scenes involving commuting or heavy traffic. In some cases, the traffic is a big catalyst for a story. Here are some of our favorite films that include commuting and traffic.
Changing Lanes - In this 2002 favorite, Ben Affleck plays a lawyer who accidentally crashes his car into another driven by Samuel L. Jackson, a recovering alcoholic. The two men spend the next two hours trying to screw each other over.
Falling Down - Michael Douglas plays a white guy who is mad at the world. The great opening scene shows him in his car and it’s hot and there’s a huge traffic jam. So he just gets out of the car and starts walking.
The Commuter - Liam Neeson plays a guy who rides a commuter train in New York City each day. On one particular ride home, he’s offered a bunch of money to perform what he thinks is a basic task. Then things get messy. There are cops, commuters who may or may not be bad guys, a train derailment and lots of other shenanigans. It’s a preposterous movie, but fun.
Office Space - There’s a great opening scene in which the main character, Peter, is stuck in traffic, going so slow that his car is passed by an old man with a walker. He changes lanes, only to find that lane is now the slow lane.
L.A. Story - I love it when Steve Martin’s girlfriend suggests they go for a walk. “Walk?,” he asks. “Nobody walks in L.A.” He proves it later when he gets in his car to go visit his next-door neighbor. This movie also features Martin’s character having conversations with one of those road signs with changeable messages.
National Lampoon’s European Vacation - How many times does Chevy Chase point out Big Ben and Parliament, because he simply cannot…get…left in the London traffic circle.
Deep Impact - Featuring one of the biggest traffic jams in cinema history as people flee toward some caves in Missouri get away from a comet hitting the Earth. Elijah Wood manages to bypass a lot of the traffic on a motorcycle.
Speed - Somehow, Sandra Bullock keeps that bus moving through L.A. traffic. (The bus is supposed to blow up if it goes below 50 miles per hour.) The tagline for this movie was “Get Ready for Rush Hour.”
Die Hard With A Vengeance - It’s fun to see Bruce Willis navigate his way through New York City during rush hour to save the day. Of course, it’s possible to get clear across town in about a half hour, as long as you are able to steal some cars and cut through Central Park.
Truman Show - There’s a small but notable scene in which Jim Carrey is attempting to take a girl out of town to prove a theory that his life may be a TV show. He is stymied when cars come out of nowhere to block his route.
Planes, Train and Automobiles - One of my all-time faves. This is more a story about travel mishaps than traffic or commuting, but there is a great early scene where Steve Martin (again) is trying to catch a cab in New York but has it hijacked by John Candy.
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