The Drake in Toronto has its finger firmly on the pulse of culture. It’s like that friend who knows all the cool cats; the one who is just as able to slip you a hard-to-come-by recording of an up-and-coming band, as drop into conversation a reference to a classic movie you know you should have seen but have shamefully never gotten around to. Well, now you have no excuse. If you’re in the midst of a wintery January, it is time to hunker down and watch some of those movies. If you’re really switched on, you’ll book a room at the Drake immediately, borrow a DVD from their perfectly curated hotel-themed list, order room service and settle down to a private screening of one of these winners. (Pictured: the serving suggestion of Grand Hotel and sushi.)
‘Châpeau!’ to the Drake for putting this list together – and for sharing it with us Smiths. With West Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel due out this March 2014, we’ve never been more into hotel-themed movies. All I might add to such a stellar list is 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel… And who doesn’t love Pretty Woman filmed in the Beverly Wilshire or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York set in the Plaza? Ahem, I mean, 1963’s The Silence by Ingmar Bergman is also a must-see.
Double rooms from £105.06, plus tax at 13 per cent.
BLAME IT ON THE BELLBOY (1992) Comedy
Director: Mark Herman. Starring: Dudley Moore.
Three men with similar names but radically different professions check-in to a hotel. Things get a little awkward (and hilarious) when the bellboy mixes up the messages for each guest.
CENTURY HOTEL (2001) Drama
Director: David Weaver. Starring: Colm Feore, Mia Kirshner, Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk.
If these hotel walls could talk, its stories would start in the 1920s and go straight to the 1980s. This Canadian film stars some of the bigger names of the Canadian film and music scene.
CHELSEA WALLS (2001) Drama
Director: Ethan Hawke. Starring: Rosario Dawson, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Sean Leonard, Natasha Richardson.
In New York’s storied Chelsea Hotel, a novelist, a dancer, a painter, a poet, an aged jazz singer, and a young troubadour sort out their personal and artistic lives within walls haunted by the likes of Dylan Thomas, O Henry, and Sarah Bernhardt.
DIRTY DANCING (1987) Romance/Drama
Director: Emile Ardolino. Starring: Jennifer Gray, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach.
It’s the summer of 1963 and baby and her family is spending it at a resort in the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York. It is time to have the time of your life.
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (2002) Drama/Thriller
Director: Stephen Frears. Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Wong.
Okwe was a doctor in Africa but now drives a cab during the day and mans the front desk of a London hotel at night. Things go awry when he finds a human heart in one of the hotel toilets.
ELOISE AT THE PLAZA (2003) Comedy/Family
Director: Kevin Lima. Starring: Julie Andrews, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Sofia Vassileva.
Based on the children’s books of the same name, Eloise is the very lucky girl who lives in the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and gets to have Julie Andrews as her nanny. Oh, how we wish that was our childhood.
THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (1989) Drama
Director: Steve Kloves. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges.
Two brothers who play in lounges as a piano duo decide to hire a singer to give the act a new life. The change is a success but tensions begin to creep in.
FAWLTY TOWERS (1975) Comedy – BBC TV series
Starring: John Cleese, Prunella Scales.
In the Devonshire seaside town of Torquay is a (fictional) hotel by the name of Fawlty Towers. The owner of this hotel is Basil Fawlty. The only problem is that he dislikes his job, more specifically, he despises customer service. Anyone think this a problem?
FOUR ROOMS (1995) Comedy
Directors: Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Tim Roth, Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Beals, and more.
Four hotel rooms. Four different stories. Four directors – one in charge of each room. Tim Roth is the bellhop who tries to keep everyone in each room happy. The only thing is that it’s his first day and its New Year’s Eve.
GRAND HOTEL (1932) Drama
Director: Edmund Goulding. Starring: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Berry.
Everything happens at the Grand Hotel in Berlin. Romance, death, everything. It’s also the place where Greta Garbo delivered the line ‘I want to be alone’ – which was #30 on AFI’s 100 years… 100 Movie Quotes.
HOLIDAY INN (1942) Musical
Director: Mark Sandrich. Starring: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire
At an inn that only opens on holidays in rural Connecticut, a tale of love unfolds with the help of Irving Berlin’s music. The song and movie that would eventually become White Christmas was based on this film.
HOLLYWOOD HOTEL (1938) Musical
Director: Busby Berkeley.
A story of a musician trying to make it big as an actor in Hollywood. Our favourite part of this film is the fact that Benny Goodman and his band have extended musical numbers, including a shortened version of the energetic ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’.
HOPE SPRINGS (2003) Romantic Comedy
Director: Mark Herman. Starring: Colin Firth, Heather Graham, Minnie Driver, Mary Steenburgen.
After Colin Firth is dumped by his fiancée, he flees to the town of Hope and proceeds to nurse his wounds holed up in a hotel room… or so he thinks.
HOSTEL (2005) Horror
Director: Eli Roth. Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson.
Three backpackers head to a Slovakian city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.
HOTEL RWANDA (2004) Drama
Director: Terry George. Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo.
Based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who protected his family and other refugees by sheltering them in his hotel during the Rwandan genocide.
IDENTITY (2003) Thriller
Director: James Mangold. Starring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet.
Strangers from all different walks of life: a limo driver escorting a movie star, parents with a young son, a cop transporting a convict, a prostitute, a young couple, and a motel manager are caught up in a nasty rainstorm, stuck at a motel in desolate Nevada. Tensions flare as they one by one, people start getting killed off.
INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS (1958) Drama
Director: Mark Robson. Starring: Ingrid Bergman.
Based on the true story of Gladys Aylward, a Brit who goes to a village in china to be a missionary but instead becomes a maid at an inn and then a foot inspector. The villagers are skeptical about her intentions at first but they end up being charmed by her. All is well until Japan invades China.
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957) Romantic Comedy
Director: Billy Wilder. Starring: Maurice Chevalier, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper.
A classic May-September Cinderella romance with the incomparable Audrey Hepburn. Set in Paris, Maurice Chevalier is her father and Gary Cooper is the American playboy who piques her interest.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) Drama
Directors: Ethan & Joel Coen. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin.
A drug deal goes bad and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues with Javier Bardem as the cat. The movie has no musical score at all which only heightens the fear and suspense even more. We do not want to be in a room alone with Bardem. No way.
OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001) Crime/Thriller
Director: Steven Soderbergh. Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia.
Everyone is so cool in this movie that it almost makes us want to rob a casino of $150 million just so we can be cool too… almost.
THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS (1970) Comedy
Director: Arthur Hiller. Starring: Jack Lennon, Sandy Dennis.
The Kellermans arrive in New York City and unfortunately, on this trip, everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
PLAZA SUITE (1971) Comedy
Director: Arthur Hiller. Starring: Walter Matthau.
Based on the Neil Simon play, Walter Matthau works overtime here portraying three different characters staying in New York’s Plaza Hotel.
PSYCHO (1960) Horror
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh.
A classic Hitchcock thriller. The owner of the Bates Motel may be friendly, but it is all a bit unsettling.
ROOM SERVICE (1938) Comedy
Director: William A Seiter. Starring: The Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller.
What more needs to be said? It’s the Marx brothers. Giggles and laughter guaranteed.
A young woman tries to discover who she is within the confines of Edwardian England. A trip to Florence with her chaperone enlightens her to a different world. A Merchant-Ivory film.
THE SHINING (1980) Horror
Director: Stanley Kubrick. Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall.
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
TAPE (2001) Drama
Director: Richard Linklater. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman.
Three high school friends reminisce about the old days in a motel in Lansing, Michigan. Among the topics: success, drugs, and an alleged rape.
VACANCY (2007) Thriller
Director: Nimrod Antal. Starring: Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale.
Left with few choices of entertainment for the evening, a vacationing couple settles down to enjoy one of the low-budget slasher films sitting atop their motel room VCR. Upon realising that all of the films seem to have been shot in the very same room they currently occupy, the pair suddenly becomes the stars of a particularly sadistic fright flick.
Thanks again to those cunning Canadians at the Drake Hotel for this canny movie list and their high-def descriptions.