How We Roll
Interestingly, none of these movies is new (1954, 1985, 2006). Living in a motor home might have been novel when they were filmed, but it isn’t so unusual any more. The living situation might make a good sitcom though…or maybe a reality show. In the meantime though, I think we will stick with ‘movies as cautionary tales’.
Next, we’re going to watch Paul, the 2011 movie starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It is the story of 2 British sci-fi geeks who tour America’s UFO heartland in a motor home and pick up an alien hitchhiker at Area 51. Sounds funny. Our takeaway will most probably be, “Don’t pick up alien hitchhikers,” but we’ll keep you posted.
And you must not, under any circumstances, try to leave a place too quickly in your motor home. If you do that, you might forget to roll up the awning (RV), unhook your hoses from water and sewer hook ups (Lost in America), or drive off with the electrical wire still plugged in (The Long, Long Trailer).
We made ourselves a takeoff checklist just for that purpose. Without our checklist, we might have left the TV antenna up, or forgotten to close the roof vents, but you would really have to be not thinking to drive off with hoses connected. Of course, being careful isn’t funny.
Another thing that got laughs in these movies was getting the motor homes into difficult situations, such as bumping along on an unpaved forest road, getting stuck in the mud in the pouring rain, or driving down a really steep mountain road. Anything that makes the motor home unlevel can cause things to come crashing out of cupboards, and that’s always funny.
But we can learn from their mistakes. Don’t collect big, heavy rocks from every place you go. Don’t keep more possessions than you need and have a place for. Stay on paved roads. Don’t cook while the motor home is moving. In fact, you should stay seated when traveling and buckle up. Again, being sensible isn’t funny. I guess we’ll never be the stuff these movies are made of.
There are a lot more too, as it turns out, but we started with these three classics. They are all comedies and they have one basic thing in common: No one learned anything about driving a motor home or living in one before they started. They just went for it.
When we moved into our motor home, people kept telling us we should watch RV, the 2006 movie starring Robin Williams. Then we started hearing about other movies we should watch…The Long, Long Trailer (Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, 1954)…Lost in America (Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty, 1985).
They also had altruistic motives for embarking on their adventures. In RV, Robin Williams’ character convinced his wife that taking a vacation in an RV (instead of going to Hawaii) would bring their family closer together. In The Long, Long Trailer, Desi Arnaz’ character traveled a lot and Lucille Ball’s character convinced him (her husband) to buy a trailer instead of a house so she could make a home for him wherever they happened to be. In Lost in America, Albert Brooks’ convinced his wife they should quit their jobs, buy a motor home and drop out of society to live a life of freedom.
Of course, given the inexperience of the characters and the impulsiveness of their decisions, there are many, many missteps. And of course, the missteps are funny. When Robin Williams’ character tries to drain his black water tank with the help of a couple of young, enthusiastic, but not-very-smart assistants…well, you get the idea. Messy, but funny.
You DO have to get in touch with your “back-to-basics” side when you live in a motor home. There’s no ignoring your black water or grey water tanks. They have to be drained and cleaned. And no one else is going to do it for you. But I’ve never seen anything remotely as gross as what happened there.