The Quarantine Stream: 'The Trip To Greece' Ends The Franchise, But Simultaneously Makes The Case For More

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they've been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)The Movie: The Trip to GreeceWhere You Can Stream It: HuluThe Pitch: UK actor/comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite for the fourth entry in this long-running franchise to travel across another country, eat incredible food, drive through gorgeous landscapes, and constantly quip along the way. This time, they trace the mythical steps of Odysseus from Troy all the way to Ithica. In Homer's The Odyssey, the journey takes Odysseus ten years to complete; these guys are doing it in a week.Why It's Essential Quarantine Viewing: Despite some people trying to claim that the pandemic is essentially over and things are back to normal, we are not out of the woods yet. Far from it, in fact. So with that in mind, and knowing that many of us are still trying our hardest to stay isolated whenever possible, this column will continue to sprinkle in films which allow you to live vicariously through their protagonists and travel the world. Enter: The Trip to Greece.

If you don't like Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, you're probably going to hate The Trip movies. There's a loose storyline in each one, but mostly, these films are just excuses for these guys to get together and have an extended riff-off, constantly trying to one-up each other in everything from the presentation of random facts to which one can do the best impression of a celebrity. Sometimes they can be a little much...but if you're on their wavelength, these movies are a lot of fun to watch.

Interestingly, the duo's oneupmanship moves from the joke realm into feats of strength in The Trip to Greece, as Steve Coogan's character grapples with his age and desperately tries to convince himself that he's still a virile physical specimen. These guys have been making these movies for ten years now, and the specter of aging and death occasionally peeks in between Ray Winstone impressions. But the ending, which I won't spoil, struck me as abrupt and a little underwhelming. On one hand, I can see how there's something nice and neat about a closed loop of a journey after ten years and four movies. But on the other, despite the assertions of the people involved that this is the final entry, there's nothing definitive in the narrative that closes the door for another movie.

I'm sympathetic to the idea of letting franchises end – especially these days, where things seem to drag on well past their sell-by date. But for me, The Trip movies are an exception to that concept. So even if a(n unlikely) fifth movie ends up being just more of the same thing, I'd happily gobble it up like an exquisite four-course meal.