Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a great Thanksgiving treat. It will feed your laughter.
28 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Be thankful that you don't have to travel cross country like the characters of this film has to go through. Directed by John Hughes, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is about high-strung marketing executive, Neil Page (Steve Martin), who unfortunately, has every mode of transportation somehow fails him. Worst yet, he is stuck with eternally optimistic, overly talkative, and clumsy shower curtain ring salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy) who seem to have Murphy Law follow him everywhere. Through delayed planes, broken down trains and burned-out automobiles, both share a three-day odyssey of misadventures as both of them try to get home to Chicago from New York City in time for Thanksgiving dinner with their families. I love the tagline for the film, 'he really wanted was to spend Thanksgiving with his family. What he got was three days with the turkey'. The main premise of the story is Neal trying to get home for the Thanksgiving holiday, and that, no matter how dire things might seem, we all have something to be thankful for. It's delivered in such a way that even non-Americans can appreciate. It really fit the mood of the film. The movie is supposedly based on a real life event, where it took John Hughes five days to get from New York City to Chicago because of a plane delay that left him in Wichita, Kansas. Since no transportation company wanted to appear inept or deficient in any way, the production for this film became really stressful. They had to construct a set that looked like airline terminal, design a rent-a-car company logo and uniforms, rent twenty miles of train track and refurbish old railroad cars, wait for the weather to clear up or not clear up and rent 250 cars for the infamous Rent-a-Car sequence. The film is probably best known for the sole scene responsible for its R rating; in which Neal goes on a tirade. Honestly, the movie could had been PG-13, but the whole f-word gag was too good to pass off on. To avoid being pigeonholed as a maker of teen comedies, John Hughes really work hard on this film, shooting and editing it. Supposedly, there is an uncut three-hour version of the film that some people like to see, one day. In my opinion, I'm alright with this version. I do kinda don't mind the delete scene with the airline food. The movie is very creative. I love how the title of the film zooms horizontally across the screen in screen-high letters to the earsplitting sound of an airplane taking off, then a train and finally a car. Some people might not like this film due to its odd choice of music score that sound like weird early rap beats and hair metal, but I kinda dig it. It had that 1980s' vibe to it. I love the fact that the movie could be all in the same universe, as his other films like 1984's Sixteen Candles, 1985's The Breakfast Club, 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and others. I love the cameos from actors like Ben Stein & Edie McClurg. I also like how Neal's family home is actually in the same neighborhood as the house in 1990's Home Alone. According to Hughes, Del lived two houses away from character, John Bender (Judd Nelson) from the Breakfast Club. The movie also has a very strong connection to the film, 1988's 'She's having a Baby' with many of that movie, characters appearing in this film such as Jake Briggs (Kevin Bacon) & Russ Bainbridge (William Windom). Even the film 'She's Having a Baby" was playing in the background on TV when Mrs. Page (Laila Robins) was trying to go to sleep. The acting is very good for the most part from the two men. A lot of people might hate this film, due to the overused odd couple shtick, but I think this film is one of the better, strange bedfellow films. Steve Martin was great as the straight man. You really feel for him as he only wants to go home. John Candy is good as well. There were some gross out humor that wasn't needed, but it didn't hurt the film. The slapstick humor was alright in the most part. I was laughing my head off, during the driving parts. John Candy had just enough charm to make him, not that annoying. Both Martin and Candy work really well together. Films like 2010's Due Date & 1991's Dutch, wish they could had pull something like this film chemistry off. I love how John Candy was in most of John Hughes's films. This film was the inspiration for his cameo appearance as Gus Polinski, the Polka King of the Midwest, in Home Alone. The movie has a really good twist bittersweet ending that makes the film have a lot of heart. Lots of good foreshadowing unto them. Without spoiling it, just take a close look at the stickers on Del's luggage. Overall: It's a very funny heart-warming film that is great to watch, during the holidays. A must watch. This film is good turkey to cut into.
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