1. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
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Diane Lane plays a dissatisfied writer who decides to uproot her life and refurbish an old property in Tuscany after reading Frances Mayes’ autobiography of the same name. Under the Tuscan Sun is the ideal romantic getaway movie, set against the stunning backdrop of historic Italian architecture and the poetic Italian countryside.
2. The Money Pit (1986)
In The Money Pit, Tom Hanks’ Walter Fielding is forced to learn the hard lesson that if a transaction seems too good to be true, it probably is. Walter and Anna (Shelley Long) are overjoyed when they discover a stunning home in the New York suburbs for a fraction of its market value. It’s not long, though, until the Fieldings’ sanity and money are put in jeopardy by the collapse of their dream home. A must-see if you’re planning your own home renovation project.
3. The Notebook (2004)
The plantation house Noah Calhoun remodels throughout the film is the only thing more beautiful than Ryan Gosling’s performance as Noah Calhoun. To put it mildly, Noah is smitten from the moment he meets Allie (Rachel McAdams). This romance is cut short due to a misunderstanding, social constraints and the conflict in their country of origin. Noah puts in a lot of time and effort to build their ideal house so that he can win her back. Bring tissues and get ready to fall in love with Noah and his “white mansion with blue shutters.”
4. The Karate Kid (1984)
To protect himself from karate bullies at his new high school, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) enlists the services of a karate teacher (Pat Morita), a handyman who has become infamous for his unconventional methods of teaching the martial art. Painting, sanding, and waxing the floors are all part of Mr. Miyagi’s instructions to Daniel-san. For a family movie night, The Karate Kid is a great choice—especially with a fence that needs repainting and some bored children about the house.
5. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is the home-renovation film that started it all. Ad exec Cary Grant is ready to move to the suburbs after becoming fed up with New York City’s pace. Renovations, however, can rapidly get out of hand, as this film illustrates well. This witty look at the process of building a dream home is dripping with old-school charm.
6. Dear John (2010)
Dear John, starring Amanda Seyfried as Savannah, a college student on a Habitat for Humanity spring break trip, is the second Nicholas Sparks film to make our list. John (Channing Tatum), a hunky soldier and town resident, immediately falls for Savannah and assists her and her pals with their building project. While he is out on duty, the two young lovers correspond by letter, but as is often the case, real life intervenes. In the vein of The Notebook, but with a military edge.
7. Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
While on their way to Papua New Guinea, the Swiss Family Robinson is shipwrecked on an isolated tropical island. Family life on a deserted island is depicted in this Disney film, which is based in part on the novel of the same name written by Johann David Wyss. They’ll be OK, based on the impressive treehouse they’ve built with their own hands. A trip to Swiss Family Robinson is a must before embarking on a weekend of treehouse building.
8. Life as a House (2001)
He wants nothing more than to mend his relationship with his son, George Monroe (Kevin Kline), when he discovers he is dying of cancer. It was during Monroe’s final summer that he and Sam built the house he had always wanted near the seashore, while also rekindling their romance.
9. Multiplicity (1996)
Having only one set of hands makes it difficult to accomplish all of one’s tasks. A scientist gives his cloning machine to construction worker Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton), who complains that he never has enough time to do the things he wants to. In the blink of an eye, there are four Dougs, each wreaking havoc in their own way.
10. Housesitter (1992)
An encounter with a conwoman, Gwen (Goldie Hawn), causes Newton Davis (Steve Martin’s) life to spiral out of control after his lover rejects his proposal and refuses to accept his new mansion as a gift. Once she has figured out where Davis’s still-vacant house is, Gwen moves there and goes around pretending to be his new wife to curious neighbors. With the help of these two funny actors, the charade goes off without a hitch, resulting in comedy.
11. It’s Complicated (2009)
In order to keep her adulterous relationship with her ex-husband, Jake (Steve Martin), Jane (Meryl Streep) must decide between developing a new relationship with him (Steve Martin) (Alec Baldwin). The issue becomes much more problematic for many empty nesters when they decide to undertake house renovations.
12. Home Alone (1990)
We can’t deny that Kevin (Macauley Culkin) “upgrades” the McCallister home to suit his demands in Home Alone, despite the fact that it’s not your average home renovation movie. Following an unfortunate mishap while on a Christmas trip in France, Kevin is finally able to live out his childhood ambition of having the entire house to himself! After only an hour or two of blissful solitude, Kevin is interrupted by two would-be burglars who are intent on pillaging his house. What is his reaction? With a dash of naughty DIY.
13. Honorable Mention: Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Home Improvement is as near to the actual thing as you can get, despite the fact that it isn’t a film. Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor (Tim Allen), a father and handyman with a popular television show, “Tool Time,” is the focus of the series. Successful sitcom, on the air for eight years, has a lot of humor, affection, and even some serious home renovation advice. As an added bonus, none other than Bob Vila himself plays Tim’s arch-nemesis!