Snowed in? After 10 months trapped inside during a pandemic, surely you know what to do: Get cozy and pick a good movie. We’ve put together a list of nine films set in warm-weather locales — from Thailand to Mexico to Los Angeles — which should help you forget about the blizzard outside. All titles are available on Google Play, iTunes, Prime Video and Vudu.
TEQUILA SUNRISE (1988) — A drug dealer, a cop and a beautiful woman form a love triangle in Los Angeles in this echt-‘80s crime drama. The cast is a dream — Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell and Michelle Pfeiffer — and writer-director Robert Towne ("Chinatown") knows a little something about noir. It’s a somewhat forgotten hit that made a whopping $100 million at the time.
POINT BREAK (1991) — An undercover FBI agent (Keanu Reeves) joins a gang of surfing bank robbers and falls under the spell of their Zen leader, Boddhi (Patrick Swayze). If that doesn’t spell masterpiece, what does? It’s a career best for director Kathryn Bigelow and one of the greatest action movies of all time. With Gary Busey and Lori Petty.
WILD THINGS (1998) — John McNaughton’s steamy Florida noir features Denise Richards and Neve Campbell as a couple of Venus flytraps who pull in an English teacher (Matt Dillon) and a cop (Kevin Bacon). Critics turned up their noses, but connoisseurs of 1990s sleazoid cinema will consider its caviar.
THE BEACH (2000) — While backpacking through Thailand, a young American (Leonardo DiCaprio) finds a hidden paradise full of cool dudes and gorgeous girls. But will they allow him to leave? Director Danny Boyle turns Alex Garland's novel into a tense, freaky and wickedly funny thriller. Filmed on Ko Phi Phi Le.
CAST AWAY (2000) — Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland (think about it), a FedEx employee who spends several years stranded alone on a tropical island. There’s never a bad time to watch or re-watch this entertaining yet deep-reaching film about hope, love and human adaptability. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and filmed on Fiji’s uninhabited Monuriki island.
STEP INTO LIQUID (2003) — Dana Brown’s surf doc is a little uneven but worth the watch for several eye-popping scenes of big-wave surfing, a sport that requires being towed not just into sea but literally up the towering waves. Filmed in Costa Rica, Tahiti and other exotic locales.
50 FIRST DATES (2004) — A womanizer (Adam Sandler) meets an eccentric art teacher with amnesia (Drew Barrymore) and resolves to win her heart anew each day. Sparkling chemistry between the leads, plus the lovely backdrops of Oahu, have made this a rom-com favorite. Also available on Netflix.
TROPIC THUNDER (2008) — Thanks to a duplicitous director, several actors making a Vietnam War film go into the real jungle and suddenly find themselves under real fire. Ben Stiller’s satirical comedy is broadly absurd and at least borderline offensive; the excellent cast includes Jack Black, Steve Coogan and Robert Downey Jr. Filmed not in Vietnam but in Kaua’i.
THE SHALLOWS (2016) — A surfing med student (Blake Lively) finds herself cornered on a rock by an angry shark. "Jaws" it ain’t, but this compact little thriller has its moments. New South Wales and Queensland stand in for Mexico.