Exotic Vacation

Most people these days are doing whatever they can to conserve cash because of the uncertainty of the global economy. Unfortunately, one of the first ‘luxuries’ to be put on hold is often a vacation, because seeing the Grand Canyon isn’t quite as essential as paying the electric bill. But if your money has to go to the electric bill rather than going to a vacation fund, then you should use that electricity to fire up your DVD player, and rent one of these movies that will give you the feeling of an exotic vacation without ever having to leave the house.
Out of Africa
One of the most glorious epic adventures of the ’80s, this Meryl Streep / Robert Redford movie is a breathtaking experience that puts you smack dab in the middle of Africa during World War I. A wealthy woman from Denmark buys 1,000 acres of land in an English colony in Africa after her fiancée is killed in the war. To keep from becoming a spinster, she asks her fiancée’s brother to marry because they have been friends for years. They decide to start a cattle farm, so she returns to Denmark to get the money, and when she returns she learns that her new husband has decided they will grow coffee instead. Although she is furious at first, she plunges into the effort wholeheartedly, learning about native customs and various tribes in the area. When a group of soldiers near the front run out of supplies, she leads a group to deliver supplies, and on the way she learns about survival and being resourceful in the wild areas of the African plains. She eventually ends up having an affair with Robert Redford’s character, a pilot who lives in the wilderness and knows the land. He teaches her to shoot, and takes her on a thrilling flight over wide expanses of savannah where various herds of wildlife run free. The movie is a love story, but it is an exciting adventure that provides breathtaking views of the African landscape, native plants and animals, and immersive history lessons about the colonial English who were so out of place living in the wilds of Africa. Watching this wonderful movie is better than going on a wildlife safari in Kenya, because not only is it cheaper, you don’t need a passport and you don’t need to worry about getting all of your shots first.

My House in Umbria
This movie begins with a bomb destroying a train, killing people and leaving behind survivors who are injured or displaced. One of them, Mrs. Delahunty (Maggie Smith), offers to take in four of the other survivors at her Italian villa until they can recover and return to their homes. Mrs. Delahunty is a mysterious woman who writes romance novels. The complex interweaving of the relationships as the five people get to know each other is fascinating, but even more compelling is the gorgeous scenery around the villa and the small town nearby. It is easy to understand why Mrs. Delahunty’s villa is a perfect place for troubled souls to rest and regain their confidence in life, and their experiences there seem timeless. If you’ve ever daydreamed about spending time in the real Italian countryside, this is the movie for you.