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10 uplifting Oregon movies to watch at home during quarantine

Craving adventure around Oregon during the pandemic? Stay inside and watch movies featuring our beautiful state instead.
Credit: Laika

PORTLAND, Oregon — It's the weekend, and you're stuck inside. Time to start streaming another movie. Maybe it's just me, but I've been craving some positive content to watch in these crazy times. Maybe it's because I've already watched all of Tiger King and most of Ozark, so my brain needs something heartwarming to balance it out.

Luckily, although we can't explore our beautiful state in-person right now, we can see parts of it feature in movies that we can watch from the comfort of our couches.

So here are 10 movies filmed (at least partially) in Oregon you can watch at home this weekend, and where to find them.

Missing Link (2019) - Hulu

Are you wishing you could explore the outdoors and befriend a sasquatch right now? Yeah, me too (how very Sir Lionel Frost of us). Luckily, Hillsboro stop-motion animation studio Laika has our fix. The movie follows Mr. Link, a sasquatch who is tired of living a life of solitude in the Pacific Northwest, on his journey to meet his Yeti cousins in the Himalayas.

Missing Link won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar this year. I got to go behind the scenes at the Laika studio to see some stop motion in action.

Animal House (1978) - Amazon Prime

TOGA! TOGA! TOGA! Toga parties are definitely not social-distancing approved. Neither is school. So instead, live vicariously through John Belushi and his co-stars, as the fraternity members challenge authority, and throw parties where people are definitely not six feet apart. It will definitely get you laughing, and if you really have time on your hands, grab a bed sheet and make yourself a toga to set the mood. Animal House was filmed in Eugene at the University of Oregon.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (2014) - Amazon Prime

Wild started as a New York Times best-selling memoir by Oregon author Cheryl Strayed, and in 2014 it was turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. It follows Strayed on a 1,000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, on a quest of self-discovery.

If you're craving an outdoor adventure right now, this might be exactly what you're looking for (or, it might make you even more sad that you're stuck at home, so don't say I didn't warn you).

Stand by Me (1986) - Amazon Prime

It's a movie based on a Stephen King short story about a group of young boys on a quest to find a dead body. So, is it uplifting? Maybe not totally. But perhaps inspirational? It's a coming-of-age story about a life-defining adventure. It's told by a grown-up looking back at this moment in his young life, and who of us isn't sitting at home reminiscing these days?

Part of the movie takes place in a fictional Oregon town called Castle Rock, but the scenes were actually shot in Brownsville, Oregon.

To All the Boys I Loved Before (2018) - Netflix

Ah, high school romance (actually, can you imagine being in a high school relationship in quarantine? Think of all the text messages... My thumbs are tired just thinking about it). Years ago, Lara Jean Covey wrote letters to each boy she had an intense crush on. But one day, her little sister finds the letters and mails them out. Chaos ensues, but as with any teen romance, it has to end happily, right? The film stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo as the stars and love interests.

It's set in Portland, but most of the movie was filmed in Vancouver, BC. But you'll notice some beauty shots of the Rose City as scene-setters throughout the film.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) - Amazon Prime (and coming to Disney+ on May 1)

This is my personal childhood favorite. My mom still tells the story of me yelling, "SWIM, SASSY, SWIM!!" at the TV every time that intense scene appeared on screen.

Homeward Bound is a great movie to watch as you're cuddled up with your dog or cat on the couch. Even your pets might find some inspiration (just tell them not to get any crazy ideas - we're still social distancing!). The film follows a group of pets on a treacherous and thrilling journey through the California wilderness, which includes stops in the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, Bend, and the Mount Hood National Forest.

The Goonies (1985) - Amazon Prime

Ah, the Oregon Coast. Don't you miss it (unless you live there, in which case, you'll have no FOMO here)? Get your Astoria fix with The Goonies, and watch and laugh as the group of kids go on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willy, a 17th-century pirate.

Free Willy - Hulu

You might recognize some beautiful views of the Columbia River and the Oregon Coast throughout Free Willy, the story of a boy who gets attached to an orca and jumps into action to save the whale from being killed by its aquarium owners. The Hammond Marina in Warrenton, Oregon, is the backdrop for the iconic (SPOILER!) escape scene in the movie.

The orca who starred in the movie was Keiko, who lived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for a few years. 

The Boxtrolls - Vudu

It wouldn't be a list of uplifting Oregon movies without multiple Laika appearances. The Boxtrolls should do a good job of distracting you from the real world for an hour and a half. It's a stop-motion animated fantasy comedy about a human boy named Eggs, raised by trolls that collect trash, called "Boxtrolls." Eggs ends up on a quest to save the Boxtrolls from a pest exterminator. It's quirky, goofy, and wonderful.

Twilight - Amazon Prime

I know, I said all of these movies would be uplifting. But maybe turning into a vampire sounds appealing and inspirational to you right now (no word yet on whether or not vampires are immune to COVID-19)? At least the first movie is romantic, so if you're craving some stay-at-home romance, look no further than Edward - I mean, Jacob. Which team am I on again?

Anyway, the movie was filmed in Oregon and Washington, featuring Cannon Beach and St. Helens.

Plus, with five movies in the Twilight Saga, you could fill a lot of hours of a weekend on the couch.

Cassidy Quinn is the host of Tonight With Cassidy on KGW. But right now, like many of you, she is working from home, trying to focus on the happier things going on in the world. Tonight With Cassidy is currently on hiatus, but you can watch previous segments from the show here, and follow Cassidy on Twitter @CassidyQuinn. 

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