August 10th, 2012
03:03 PM ET
[Editor’s Note: Kyle Howard is an American film and television actor who currently guest-stars as Dr. Paul Van Dyke on USA's “Royal Pains.”]
A great film can transport us to other worlds, move us and make us laugh, but I think one supporting player in that process occasionally gets overlooked, and that's nature.
Think about it: What would “Jaws” be without the suspense of what the water might conceal, or “Cast Away” without the isolation imposed by the vast ocean? There’s a reason a filmmaker won’t rest until he or she has scouted the exact, perfect location to set a scene.
Growing up in Colorado, I actually developed the love I have for the ocean by watching movies. I spent a lot of time outdoors, especially in the summer months, but the ocean was one thing that wasn’t exactly at my doorstep.
Lucky for me, the ocean’s a perfect fit for Hollywood - there’s a lot of drama in those waves, thanks to its beauty, its power and its size – and it’s played a supporting role in some of my favorite films.
As a result, I’ve developed a lifelong devotion to the beach – surfing, diving, exploring and protecting it. I support The Nature Conservancy's work to save our seas, and I want to encourage a new generation of kids to respect the ocean as much as I do.
With summer movie season in full swing, I thought it was the perfect time to highlight nature on the big screen.
Check out my top five movies with natural elements playing their part - and yes, there’s an oceanic theme.
See if your childhood favorites or current passion flicks made the list, or come up with your own top five. See you at the beach!
1. "North Shore" (1987) - Film location: North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
This is a classic ‘80s movie that I've watched 25 times. It's full of cheese and definitely a guilty pleasure, but Rick Cane and Turtle were my heroes when I first saw this movie. And what a great escape to sit and "live" in Hawaii for two hours.
2. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) - Film location: Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii
Another Hawaii-set movie I can't get enough of. Everyone in this movie is hilarious, and the story and the scenery are great. Every time I watch it, I can't help but think how much fun it must have been to be "stuck" on location at Turtle Bay for three months.
These films are pure virtual vacations to me. To put one of these movies on and take a quick trip around the planet chasing sunshine and perfect waves is one of my favorite ways to spend two hours.
4. "Cast Away" (2000) - Film location: Monuriki Island, Fiji
This movie (along with "Shawshank Redemption") is one that if I catch it on cable, regardless of how busy I am or how much of the movie is left, I simply must watch again. It's so visually stunning and the story is very easy to get wrapped up in - it gets me every time.
5. "The Sandlot" (1993) - Film location: Salt Lake City, Utah
There's nothing tropical or extravagant about this one - it’s just kids enjoying being outside in a park. This movie takes place almost entirely in a dusty old baseball field, but it’s been a classic since the first time I saw it. It's one of the few movies I know that kids today still love, and adults who were young when it came out will never forget.
Test your movie knowledge! Take the Nature in Film quiz from The Nature Conservancy to see if you can guess the natural locations of some classic movie scenes.
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