By Matt P.
In honor of Oscar season I’m providing top ten lists inspired by the eight movies nominated for best picture this year. List number one is inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. During Wes’ film, the Grand Budapest Hotel comes so much to life it becomes an extra character in the film. That’s why my first list will be Top Ten Hotels in Movies. Now, some of these choices aren’t technically hotels but…you get the point. Enjoy!
10. El Monaco Motel, Taking Woodstock (2009)
In the summer of 1969 the cultural revolution that was Woodstock took place. This film takes an interesting look at the events that created Woodstock and how it changed the lives of people living in the small town of Catskills, New York. The lead role, played by Dimitri Martin, helps his family run a tiny motel that is overrun by hippies and misfits during the festival. Oh how I would love to spend a night at El Monaco Motel and have a drink at its famous cocktail lounge…with the hippies and misfits of course.
9. St. James Hotel, Big (1988)
“St. James Josh! Its religious.” – Billy Copecki. Just try and put yourself into the shoes of Joshua Baskin. You go to bed one night as a normal prepubencent boy, and then, overnight you spontaneously grow into to thirty-something year old man! Now this man-child is forced to head to New York City and stay at a run down hooker and drug palace. Not somewhere I would like to stay, but I like seeing Tom Hanks stay there. Big will send you to tears as Josh spends night number one at The St. James.
8. The Plaza Hotel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
What would you do if your family accidentally lost you at the airport and you followed a man that looked almost impossibly similar to your dad and that doppelganger was boarding a flight to the wrong city?! If you were Kevin McCallister, a.k.a. the best at being left alone, you would stay at the magnificent Plaza Hotel in New York City! Did I mention that you also have a bag containing all your dad’s cash and credit cards? Well, you do. Aside from the psychotically obsessive concierge and bellhop, The Plaza seems like a pretty sweet place to stay. “Credit card? You got it.”
7. Royal Cedar Suites Hotel, Cedar Rapids (2011)
If you are interested in seeing the dullness of America’s Midwest captured in ninety minutes of film, please see Cedar Rapids. Tim Lippy leaves his small Wisconsin town to attend an insurance conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In his mind, Cedar Rapid is New York City and the Royal Cedar Suites Hotel is equivalent to The Plaza Hotel. Spoiler, they aren’t the same. Watch while shenanigans ensue because a bunch of repressed salesmen can finally let loose. Most of us have stayed at the generic roadside budget hotel; this movie makes it look fun for once.
6. Hotel des Mille Collines, Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Okay, not all of the picks on my list can be goofy and fun. During the 90s, events took place in Rwanda that went almost completely uncovered by the world media. Today, the Rwandan genocides are known as one of mankind’s worst atrocities. In Hotel Rwanda, the Hotel des Mille Collines is transformed into the only oasis in a desert of murder. Few hotels are more historically significant than this one.
5. The Cherry Street Inn, Groundhog Day (1993)
Back to goofy and fun! I’ll admit that this pick may be on my list as a tribute to the film itself. I love Groundhog Day. On the surface it may be just an above average romantic comedy, but dig a little deeper and you may find it’s a psychological brain twister. Either way, some hilariously iconic scenes take place inside that quaint B&B. If I ever make it to the Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, I’ll be sure to stay at The Cherry Street Inn. I hope it’s not an eternity, and I’ll set the alarm clock on my iPhone.
4. Fhloston Paradise, The Fifth Element (1997)
Damn, if Corbin Dallas wasn’t such a freakin’ badass trying to save the world, he could’ve enjoyed his free vacation to Fhloston Paradise. This may qualify as a resort and not a hotel, but tough cookies. Preferably, if you were to stay here, there wouldn’t be weird space monsters working for Gary Oldman trying to blow it up. I hope I live long enough to visit a floating spaceship that you can party on. My last comment: Ruby Rhod.
3. Hotel Earle, Barton Fink (1991)
Apparently the Cohen brothers see being a writer in Hollywood as selling your soul and living in Hell. Uhh, was that a spoiler? I don’t know. A few words I would use to describe The Hotel Earle: dirty, sweaty, dark, John Goodman, fucked up. Watch this film and try not to be just as confused as Barton Fink is. Nevertheless, this is an excellent film and The Hotel Earle is its creepiest character. Somehow, I’d rather stay there than at my top two choices. Ooo foreshadowing, a classic film technique.
2. Bates Motel, Psycho (1960)
Fine. Since I don’t want to lose all credibility, I’ll include The Bates Motel on the list. Just Kidding, this deserves to be number one! I assume when most people saw the title “Top Ten Hotels in Movies”, they thought Psycho. How mad would you’ve been if I made it the Vince Vaughn version? This movie proves that sometimes, you should just keep driving. Maybe the motel would’ve been managed better if Norman’s mom wasn’t such a bitch. Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
1. Overlook Hotel, The Shining (1980)
If I had to choose, I think I’d take my chances with Norman Bates. Stanley Kubrick gave the world several cinematic masterpieces, and in my opinion, The Shining tops them all. After watching this movie I highly recommend the documentary Room 237. It breaks down Kubrick’s film frame by frame and will open your eyes to the true genius Kubrick had. If you attempt the maze, I suggest you bring food for a few days and a chainsaw. Redrum.
There you have it, the Top Ten Hotels in Movies. Disagree with some of my picks? Feel free to leave comments. Want to give me god-like praise? Feel even freer to leave comments.
About the author
Matt P. is a podcaster, improviser, and film lover. He resides in Chicago, Illinois and by day he works as an accountant dreaming of a better life. By night, he co-hosts the Matt & Andrew Vs Society Podcast. Find it on iTunes. Matt has also studied improvisation and comedy writing at The Second City and Improv Olympics in Chicago.
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