Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Poster

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SmileysWorld18 November 2001
I'm not sure who is responsible for bringing Steve Martin and John Candy together,but they are a genius in my book,and they were brought together with just the right material.This comedy from John Hughes is without question his best work as a director. I look at this film as a modern day Laurel and Hardy romp,which, incredibly was not included in the AFI's Top 100 comedies.It will cause you tears,both from laughter and it's touching ending.It is about two very different ways of life,clashing in the beginning, but slowly coming together from the realization they we are all human,despite our differences.It is becoming a tradition at the Williams household to view this movie every Thanksgiving.It is a must see,must own film. Thumbs up.
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John Hughes best adult comedy
baumer29 December 1999
John Candy was a comic genius. He really was. Never was his talent on display better than it was in this film. John Hughes and John Candy went on to develop what I can only surmise was quite the friendship because Candy appeared in many Hughes films either as the star ( this one, Uncle Buck, Great Outdoors ) or with a cameo ( Home Alone, Vacation and a few others that I can't think of right now, but check the IMDb and you'll see that he did ). But of all the films that Candy did, including Stripes, I don't think he has ever been as good and as funny as he was in here. If there was any justice in the Academy ( and we all know that is an oxymoron, Academy and justice ) then Candy would have at least been nominated for best actor in 1987. I think Douglas won that year for Wall Street and he deserved to but Candy was brilliant in this film. It was a shame to see his career cut short because even in his bad films he was good. This is his best and most complete role. He will be missed but at least we have great roles like this to remember him by.

Planes.... is a film about one man trying to get home for the American Thanksgiving. He is Neil Page and he is played with perfect smugness by Steve Martin. He is a work-a-holic and his lifestyle is that of many John Hughes family men that live in suburbia Chicago. He lives in a huge house, much like the one in Home Alone and Weird Science, and his family is a beautiful one that consists of a lovely wife and three kids. But he is never home and for all of his success professionally, it is the kind of family that although is together now, it may not survive the fast approaching 90's if Neil Page continues his ways.

John Candy plays Dell Griffith. He is a jolly man, much like Santa Clause but without the beard and the old age. This is a man that carries a giant trunk around with him and is a constant chatter box. He is the kind of man that you know is good at sales, but on a lower level. He is too much of a slob to really be a corporate sales guy. Of course this Laurel and Hardy pair cross paths and from here on out Neil's simple task of getting home to his family for Thanksgiving is going to be a journey from hell.

First of all he loses his cab in New York rush hour to Candy who unwittingly steals it from him, then he is bumped from first class and ends up sitting next to Candy on the plane. Then they are delayed because of weather problems and what do you know, they end up spending the night together in not only the same hotel, not only the same room but the same bed. This presents all sorts of comic possibilities and Hughes doesn't miss one of them. His comic timing and development of the two characters is brilliant. Some of the best scenes are when the two are bantering and Candy is verbally assaulted by Martin. Martin goes off and says that he is annoying to listen to and then he says this: " You know I could sit through an insurance seminar and still look happy and the others would say how do you do it? And I would say, because I can take anything, I've been with Dell Griffith, and they'd say, " I know what you mean. Whooooo, shower curtain guy! " And as funny as that scene is, Hughes goes for more than the quick payoff of laughter. He then reminds you that this isn't just a comedy but a film with many layers and substance to it. Because the next scene has Candy delivering a monologue that almost makes you embarrassed for laughing at what Martin said.

But truth be told, first and foremost, this is a funny, funny film. And if anyone has scene it, they will tell you about the airport scene where Page has lost his rental car and he comes back and does what we have all dreamed of doing ourselves, he goes ballistic on the person behind the desk, who subsequently is Grace, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She must have been fired by Ed Rooney and now rents cars at airports for a living. She plays a desk clerk that has decided to take the Thanksgiving holiday a little sooner that she is supposed to. Martin comes in and she starts by saying, "Can I help you?" Martin replies, "You can start by wiping that f***ing dumbass smile off your rosy f@**ing cheeks. " From there he goes into an F-Word filled tirade about how her company left him in the middle of f***ing nowhere with f****ing keys to a f***ing car that isn't f***ing there. It is one of the funniest moments that I have seen in any film because you don't expect it from a Hughes film.

Planes... is a heart warming film about family, friendship and good will towards men. It is also a wickedly funny movie and it will stand the test of time and I think in 30 or 40 years from now, it may be looked upon as Hughes best film. Candy and Martin are wonderful in here and it is really a treat to watch them work together.

10 out of 10
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Arguably the best comedy of the 1980s
MovieAddict20162 June 2004
The greatness and pure genius of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is that, while it is uproariously hilarious, it also reveals great hurt and truth - unlike any comedy I have ever seen before or since.

Scenes such as those in the Bravewood Inn are classics. The argument between Neal and Del is the turning point in the film, and it is the first time that the audience realizes that they are in for more than they thought they were. There are certain elements of tenderness, heart, agony, conflict, and heartfelt emotion in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" that make it transcend the genre.

Steve Martin and John Candy don't just act; they embody themselves so deeply in their characters that it almost sets a standard for how comedic pairings should be. Line them up next to Chris Farley and David Spade and the differences are astronomical. Watching Steve Martin is like acting a comedian at the top of his game. Just watch his reactions. The facial reaction from Steve in response to Del's comeback in the Bravewood Inn is perfect; we understand what Neal is going through, and Steve Martin lets us know this by placing himself in a recognizable area. We also understand Del, and that is really the key to this movie: Being able to identify with both characters almost equally. How often can you say that about buddy pictures? I don't ever feel much sympathy for Chris Farley, if that means anything.

John Candy remains one of the most underrated and underwritten film comedians of all time. Offered constant mediocre scripts during the eighties and early nineties, all the way up until his death in 1994, he could make the material something more, something watchable. I recently viewed "Funny Farm," a painfully unfunny film to sit through. I imagined what John Candy could have done with Chevy Chase's role, and I found myself laughing. Why? Because John Candy can make anything watchable. Just how many times would you watch "Summer Rental" or "The Great Outdoors" if the lead actor was Jim Carrey?

There's some important content in this film, but it is never overpowered by laughs, nor vice versa. They go hand-in-hand. I come back to the Bravewood Inn argument scene. After the hilarious, ongoing insults Neal throws at Del, Del responds and says, "You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. But I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynical like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. So you go right on and think what you like about me. But I'm not changing. I - I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real deal. Whatcha see is whatcha get." It's creepy how much dramatic, emotional and truthful subtext sneaks into this film, and yet it only makes it all the better for it. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is my favorite Comedy, yes I know that I have said it before. But, it is a serious comedy that has both heart and is hilarious at the same time. Entertainment at it's best. And isn't that what movies are all about?

5/5 stars.
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Funny, Heartwarming but Never Corny
claudio_carvalho28 September 2014
In New York, the marketing executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) wants to travel home in Chicago after hours for Thanksgiving. He has difficulties to get a taxi and his flight is canceled. He meets in the airport the clumsy and talkative shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy) that has taken his cab and they travel side-by-side to Chicago. However the bad weather shutdown the O'Hare Airport and they land at Wichita, Kansas. They both want to go to Chicago and they decide to travel together. Along their journey Neal changes his viewpoint about Del Griffith and his own behavior.

"Planes, Trains & Automobiles" is a funny and heartwarming comedy by John Hughes. Steve Martin and John Candy are among the best comedians of the 80's and their chemistry is amazing, giving one of the best performances in a comedy. The emotional conclusion is beautiful and never corny. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Antes Só do Que Mal Acompanhado" ("Better off Alone than with Bad Company")
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The best Thanksgiving movie ever!
lee_eisenberg1 December 2005
When jittery advertising executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) is trying to go home for Thanksgiving, he gets stuck with boorish shower ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy). Their experiences over the next two days are some of the funniest moments ever to grace the silver screen. The best parts are the "pillow" scene, the car rental scene, and the freeway scene (warning: you may very well laugh yourself to death). But overall, the reason that the movie is so good is because we come to understand why these two men are like they are.

I can't do "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" justice by trying to describe it. You have to see it to understand how hilarious it is. You won't have a dull moment in it.
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A great film on so many levels.
DavidSim2401835 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
John Hughes normally concentrated on teen films in the 1980's. Most of these were very good, but Planes, Trains & Automobiles was a nice change of pace. The pairing up of Steve Martin and John Candy was an inspired choice, and these two great actors turn the film into a comedy masterpiece.

Normally, I can't stand Steve Martin, because in almost everything I've seen him in, he goes completely over the top. But his performance in PTA changed my outlook of him. He plays Neal Page, a snobbish, cynical advertising executive in New York, who is going home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. The film is called Planes, Trains & Automobiles because these are the means of transportation Neal has to go through to get home.

Desperately late for his plane home, there is an hilarious scene at the beginning where he makes a mad dash for a taxi with Kevin Bacon (making a cameo). Unfortunately, Neal loses out, and then loses a second taxi stolen by John Candy. He plays Del Griffith, a shower curtain ring salesman, who is also on his way to the airport.

The two of them properly meet at the airport after Neal's flight is delayed. I like this scene because they both recognise each other from somewhere, but can't quite place where. Neal then has the bad luck of being seated next to Del on the plane. At some point in our lives, we've all met someone like Del Griffith. Someone who is over friendly, chatty, and a real pest. But they're so full of the best of intentions you don't have the heart to tell them to leave you alone.

Just when it looks like things can't get any worse for Neal, the flight is then cancelled. So begins the hysterical chain of events of Neal's odyssey to get home.

Now stuck with Del, who wants to help Neal, our hapless duo go from one disaster after another to get to Chicago. Steve Martin and John Candy make a great double act, because although they seem like the archetypal Odd Couple, there are more complexities to their relationship then at first thought.

One of the best scenes is when they are forced to spend a night in a motel. Del's slobbish behaviour finally drives Neal to explode. He begins ranting about how boring Del is, and what a real failure he is. In short, Del is nothing but a plague on humanity.

What is so good about this scene, is at first you are chuckling at Neal pointing out Del's shortcomings. But Del looks so genuinely hurt your sympathies start to switch to Del instead of Neal. Then something very unexpected happens, when Del tells Neal (and the audience) something I thought was very moving:

"You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah you're right. I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. You can say what you like about me; I'm not changing. Me... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get."

This scene alone speaks volumes about the personalities of these two men. You begin to really feel sorry for Del, because he seems like a lonely man. And Neal is not such a nice person after all. He doesn't mind insulting people if it makes him feel better. But still, the laughs come thick and fast afterwards. One of the most hysterical scenes is when Neal mouths off at a car rental saleswoman after being dumped in the middle of nowhere. I've never heard so many F words in one sentence. This had to have been what gave the film its 15 certificate. Its possible Hughes inserted this scene to make it clearer to the audience PTA is more adult-oriented than his previous films.

Del and Neal end up sharing a rental car, and they manage to completely wreck it. They are nearly killed by two trucks, and the funniest part is when Del appears as the Devil to Neal. Everything just seems to be conspiring against them. Gradually, the two men start to become friends. What's satisfying is it doesn't feel artificial. It feels like its been building up to it. This is due to John Hughes' slick direction. Neal and Del are two men who are both social misfits for different reasons. Neal is too organised and structured to relate to others, and Del tries so hard to make friends he often ends up alienating them.

Despite all the disasters that befall them, they do make it to Chicago. This is where the film takes on a more serious tone, but doesn't lessen the enjoyment. Del has a secret he hasn't told Neal concerning his wife, but I won't reveal it for those who haven't seen the film.

The ending is very touching, and a little sad too. But you have grown to like both Neal and Del by the end of the film. Both of them realise things about themselves. Neal learns to be more tolerant and kind, and Del learns not to be so overbearing with his friendliness. The film ends with where their friendship will lead to, and its probably best left that way.

Its a pity Steve Martin and John Candy couldn't have made more films, because they worked so well together. This is my favourite Steve Martin film, and it never seems mawkish or cloying in any way. A great little study into the personality changes you can go through on the road. I always notice something different to this film every time I watch it. This was the best film John Candy ever made. There is so much of him in Del.

R.I.P. John Candy.
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A Thanksgiving tradition in our household! A terrific and sweet movie!
bsk-412 July 2005
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our house. Even though it is considered a comedy and rightly so, it is so much more.

It is a lesson in tolerance, trust and friendship. In my book, it is John Candy's finest performance hands down! His versatility shines right through in this film from beginning to end.

It is also one of my favorite Steve Martin roles. He is perfect as the uptight, fastidious, and intolerant Neal Page who's frustration over a client who can't make up his mind over which advertising campaign to go with, causes him to worry that he will be late getting home in time to share Thanksgiving with his family.

Candy is also perfect as Dell Griffith, the overbearing but well meaning nomadic shower curtain ring salesman. He adds such sensitivity and sweetness to the role that it takes this movie from a rolling in the aisles comedy, to a sweet and tender story about two strangers overcoming their character flaws to walk in each others shoes for a moment.

To be sure, it's hilariously funny and I never tire of the gags and pratfalls every time I see it. But for me, it's more about what these two men learn about themselves and from each other.

This one is a real charmer, and while you can view it anytime, it seems especially apropos at Thanksgiving.
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Classic Film that had mixed reviews upon its theatrical release
Christmas-Reviewer25 March 2019
I Have Reviewed OVER 500 "Christmas Films and Specials". Please BEWARE Of films and specials with just one review! For instance When "It's a POSITIVE" chances are that the reviewer was involved with the production. "If its Negative" then they may have a grudge against the film for whatever reason. I am fare about these films.

Review Date 3/25/2019

In 1987 "Planes Trains & Automobiles" opened in theaters the same weekend as "Three Men and a Baby". The critics went gaga over "Three Men" but gave only "so-so" reviews to "Planes Trains and Automobiles" however over the years "Planes" reviews have come around and is now considered one of John Hughes best work and I agree. However I thought that when I first saw it in 1987.

Now 32 years later "Three Men and a Baby" comes across like a feature length sitcom but "Planes Trains & Automobiles" has improved with age and at lighting fast 92 minutes you are never bored.

The simple plat is Steve Martin is an uptight business man trying to get home for Thanksgiving. Everything goes wrong for him. His traveling companion by default is John Candy who has never been better and brings depth into a character that only John candy could.

In 1987 I think critics were reviewing the film harshly because the film went over schedule and budget. "Three Men & a Baby" however did not have bad press to overcome from its production. However when you are watching that film today you will see the "Cookie Cutter" that was always there in the film. "Planes trains & Automobiles" took for more chances and dared you too like two characters that at times weren't very nice.

If you never have seen the film please watch it. The older you are the more you will enjoy it.

This film is by far one of Steve Martins best performances as well as John Candy's. The only films John Hughes wrote that were better than this is "Vacation" and "Christmas Vacation". However all of them are classics and should be mandatory watching.
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mm-396 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers

This film is Candy's best; too bad his career ended so early. Steve Martin (SNL) whose career started with a big bang, started to slowly die, and this was his last good film. Candy who never seems to get the roles or respect he deserved (this was a tailor made character). The results were hilarious. I love the scene where Candy and Martin (one of his first straight roles) kept looking at the bed in the hotel room, with that camera close up and music. Then Candy asks if he wants a shower; One of many great roles. The ending gets very serious, and we find that Martin actually has a heart. 8/10
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Full of heart and humor, this Thanksgiving film is just as satisfying and fulfilling as the tastiest of foods.
diac22813 November 2008
There are plenty of classic Christmas flicks, classic Halloween flicks, but barely any decent Thanksgiving movies. For some reason, Thanksgiving is a neglected holiday in terms of movie-making. That being said, there is one Thanksgiving movie that not only is far and above the best of its kind, it also stands as one of the greatest holiday pictures of all-time. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was John Candy at his best, Steve Martin at his best, and also writer/director John Hughes at his absolute prime. Mixing classic slapstick with outstanding dialogue, masterpiece moments, and a heavy dosage of heart that slowly builds then delivers towards the end, this 1987 film never preaches and never slows down a second. Every five minute a conflict arises, usually leading to a hilarious conclusion but lessons learned from the two main characters. This is a must see every fourth Thursday in November.

In Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, a bumbling cynical marketing success story (Steve Martin) meets a talkative yet helpful and loving traveling salesman (John Candy) as they both embark on a road trip across the snow-infested United States to reach Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. All sorts of transportation are used, but they are all failing and letting down the two main characters for different reasons. Flights are being delayed, trains are breaking down, traffic is heavy, car rental places aren't being reliable, and vehicles are fighting against Mother Nature. John Hughes is the sole writer in this tale, and manages to deliver plenty of laughs, one-liners and complications in a short 93 minutes. Throughout all the troubles, Neal and Del learn a lot about each other, and a bit more about themselves.

Steve Martin and John Candy were decent before, but absolutely delivered in this movie. Both fit their roles perfectly well; as we see Steve Martin at his funniest and angriest, and John Candy in his most down-to-earth role. Neither of the two ever stole the spotlight, they each shared incredible moments; whether it's the close encounter with two trucks, waking up together very close, or driving a car obviously not fit for the road. Individually, they each had one classic moment; with Martin's tirade at a rental place and Candy singing Ray Charles by himself while driving. There was such an amazing balance in this movie, it would be years before we see such chemistry amongst the main two stars in a film (See: Dumb and Dumber in 1994).

John Hughes, known for his teen comedies that mesh hilarity with angst and heart, reached his quality peak here. He successfully combines comedy and drama for adults, and packs layers of emotion within 93 minutes. One can dissect this movie and realize it's much deeper than it looks from the outside. One has to see the movie a second time, because some of the elements make more sense after seeing the ending. And what can I say about the ending? It was a quiet and gradual build up, then unleashes in the final moments in such a surprising manner. Martin and Candy prove that they can do drama just as well as comedy in the final five minutes. Decades later, it still stands as one of the most underrated and most unexpected endings you'll ever see. After laughing until you are teary-eyed within the first 80-something minutes, your throat will suddenly swell up upon seeing certain revelations and ugly truths.

Bottom Line: No more discussion, I think I've said enough about this film; if you have seen this movie, I am basically preaching to the choir as to how good this film is. Otherwise, you better drop everything and watch this movie now. It presents an amazing story about family, about people, about life's sudden curveballs. There isn't a better Thanksgiving movie within a country mile and this is leagues above the average holiday movie, and this does include It's a Wonderful Life, any Christmas Carol movie you can come up with, and Hughes' most successful work; which was Home Alone. The acting, writing, directing, pacing, and amount of sentimentality is incredible, as we see the best work of two veteran actors and an acclaimed writer. Bring the family and friends (and some tissue paper), and prepare for a delightful experience. Recommend to the highest degree, as movies that can age well and tug the heartstrings decades after its release deserve more praise and more viewings.
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Martin & Candy make for a unique odd couple; hysterically funny holiday comedy
george.schmidt16 April 2003
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (1987) **** Steve Martin, John Candy, William Windom, Edie McClurg, Laila Robins, Kevin Bacon (cameo). One of my all time favorite comedies. Side-splittingly hilarious film by writer-director John Hughes about uptight advertising salesman Neal Page (Martin in a versatile comic turn) faced with many pitfalls in reluctantly traveling with obnoxious yet well-meaning shower curtain-ring salesman Del Griffith (Candy in arguably his best role) offering assistance and resulting in setback. Great scenes all around in this first-rate buddy road flick. Candy is bittersweet with his " I like me" moment but the best moments are him going down a highway the wrong way with two oncoming semis and Martin's priceless apoplectic moment at a car rental saying the "F" word 18 times (yes I counted! in fact I watched this video at least once a week for two years at college with my roommates laughing helplessly).
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Oh he's drunk, how would he know where we're going?
cabasaexpert35130 March 2005
Steve Marin and John Candy are hilarious together in this comedy about a guy trying to get home to his family for thanksgiving with a guy who is really annoying. Everything that could go wrong to these guys goes wrong. Steve Martin plays a guy who is a businessman who is very uptight and John Candy plays a guy that means well but talks a lot and can be very annoying. Together they have the worst luck they could possibly have. During their venture they learn a lot from each other and become really good friends. This movie has a good storyline and will keep you laughing through most of the movie. I think anyone who has a sense of humor can appreciate this movie.
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Consistently funny with some good adult sentiment
bob the moo5 October 2003
Neal Page is trying to get home in time for thanksgiving with his family. When his plane is diverted to Wichita due to heavy snow elsewhere he finds himself partnering up with shower curtain salesman Del Griffith. However Del is not Neal's immediate first choice for travelling partner and the two soon find that one misfortune after another wears their patience very thin.

While comedies have moved on to become more grosser and outrageous in order to tickle our dulled funny bone, PT&A manages it with what now seems like restraint but is really a good example of `wacky™' comedy, mixed with a good vein of sentiment and character. The plot is pretty good although some of it pushes the boat out to the unreal in order to get laughs – but this isn't a problem because it DOES get laughs, if it hadn't then it might have been an issue. Most of it is hilarious although some drags early on.

The deeper beauty of the film is how well controlled Hughes is in painting his emotions. Usually his stuff can be sickly sweet but here he mixes it well with the comedy. The relationship between Neal and Del is good and they both have things to learn (more so Neal), the hurt they inflict on one another is well done and not to the point that the comedy is stopped. Thankfully the two actors are good enough to carry it off. Martin is close to his manic best and Candy plays a loveable goof. The best scene to see them working is when Martin is laying into Del in the hotel room – the expressions on their faces (Candy esp) during this makes it hard not to feel anything. The support cast do good work whether it be now-famous cameos or just support cast but each character has their own little thing!

Overall I worry that modern audiences may have become so used to everything being so OTT and gross that this film may seem subtle (even though it isn't). However aside from that this is a very funny film that does have a good heart. Not a perfect film in any way but it does exactly what it says on the tin - it made me laugh hard but also had a believable emotional core.
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How To Drive Someone Crazy
ccthemovieman-14 September 2006
Steve Martin and John Candy do a wonderful job playing off each other in this memorable comedy. Of friends of mine I know who have seen this movie, they all vividly remember this movie and their favorite scenes.

Martin and Candy are stuck without plane rides home and wind up trying all modes of transportation to reach their destination. Both run into unbelievable obstacles, most of them the fault of Candy, who drives Martin almost insane. Candy was the funnier of the two in this story but both comedians were at the top of their game here. Too bad there was so much profanity for a film that could have been enjoyed by everyone but some it is almost appropriate, especially with Martin's character. Candy's role would have made anyone swear. Martin's profane tirade with the rental car woman at the airport is hilarious.

In addition to the wacky story, I enjoyed the soundtrack. Critics didn't like it, but I found the sudden bursts of rock 'n roll interesting and it added to the enjoyment of watching this almost-modern day classic.

After all the aggravation, there was a nice sentimental touch at the end which somehow made the whole disastrous trip worthwhile for the two leading characters.
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Simply the best
faded_Glory20 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is simply the greatest Humour movie ever.

Most people would call it a comedy, and boy it certainly is, but it is so much more than that. Sure, on the surface it is brilliant slapstick with scenes so hysterically funny they make you roll off your chair. If ever there was a laugh-aloud movie this is it, and it ranks right up there with classics like Blazing Saddles, Return of the Pink Panther and Monty Python's Holy Grail. Even if it didn't go any deeper than this, Steve Martin and John Candy perform a comic feat that wouldn't put Laurel and Hardy to shame.

But the strength of the movie is that just below this surface it plays out a very human drama. The two main characters, Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Dale Griffith (John Candy) are polar opposites. Neal is introvert, anal retentive, arrogant and ambitious, a typical stressed-out corporate middle-manager who works in New York away from his family in Chicago. Dale is a simple salesman, obese, extravert, uninhibited, a social animal with friends in every town. They find themselves bound together by fate on a journey from New York to Chicago two days before Thanksgiving where everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong.

As you would expect, the involuntary close relation of such disparate characters initially causes massive friction. Neal can't stand Dale's physical presence nor his endless pointless chatter, Dale is not impressed by Neal's arrogant stiffness and his not-so-subtle attempts to get rid of him. Yet, they need each other to reach their objective and they know it. Some brilliant scenes play out this confrontation, but in the end they come to grudingly accept each other, and through their trials and tribulations on the road acceptance even grows into something resembling a budding respect. Steve Martin and John Candy are fantastic, their chemistry fuels the movie and raises it to a level well above standard comedy.

*************** Spoilers ahead *********************** But the film goes deeper yet. At the next level, there is underlying tragedy that both characters try to hide in their day to day existence. It turns out that Dale has lost his wife eight years before, and has in fact been wandering and travelling throughout the country without ever going back home. He is effectively homeless and lives in cheap hotels and motels out of a trunk (which by the way also acts as a very effective comic prop), but he never discloses this to Neal. His life contains a great emotional emptiness but he can't really face up to it and he pretends to be a happily married man. Neal, on the other hand, is so self-obsessed with his career that he sacrifices the love for his family to the point where his wife becomes mistrusting of what is going on. Here is a man who risks losing what really matters for the sake of shallow success. He vaguely understands that something is going wrong but can't get himself to admit it or even pause and think about it.

It is only when the two of them get paired up that they come to realise what is wrong with themselves. Dale is confronted with Neal's family life, a life that he himself so sorely misses, and Neal realises in the end that life is about more than himself and that other people do matter. At the conclusion of the film they come together and fulfill each other's needs, becoming whole in the process.

This is buddy movie/ road flick supreme. The tragedy underlying the superficial slapstick makes this film Humour with a Capital H, much more so than the great comedies I mentioned before. You will have to go back to the likes of Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton to find anything comparable.

However, and this is where the true greatness lies, in the final analysis this film is not about the drama of two different characters at all, but about the opposing forces struggling within each of us ourselves. We all have a Neal and a Dale side, apparent opposites that cannot exist together, but only by accepting this and giving both sides equal weight can we become whole human beings. The film shows that this may at first appear an impossible task, frought with risk and danger, but if we persevere it can be done, and the prize of healing ourselves is worth it.

Hilarious comedy, superb drama and ground truth - few movies would even dare to try and combine these themes. Planes, trains and automobiles does, and it succeeds brilliantly. Martin and Candy deliver stellar performances that work at all of these levels. Definitely one of the best movies ever, and vastly underrated.
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Everyone loves Thanksgiving
Anonymous_Maxine12 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this movie having heard it mentioned in a fascinating book called Metal Cowboy, which is essentially a sort of journal that this guy named Joe Kurmaskie wrote about his adventures as a touring cyclist. I've gotten very interested in the subject lately, as my increasingly long bicycle adventures have led to an interest in seeing the country from the saddle of a bicycle, and Kurmaskie references Planes, Trains and Automobiles to emphasize a point he makes about the freaky things that can happen to you while traveling, particularly by bus.

Steve Martin and John Candy play well off of each other, and it's interesting to note how many weak gimmicks are in the movie and yet how well it pulls it off. You have the traditional odd couple, they run into each other constantly among millions of people, for the sake of the plot, of course, and are such polar opposites that it's impossible not to see the inspiration that the movie took from the classic Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau film, The Odd Couple. But just when you begin to think that the movie is following an easily predicted formula, you get something thrown in that really catches you off guard, like the scene where Neal (Steve Martin) finally jumps out of bed, fed up with Del's (John Candy) inability to lie still and sleep, and yells at him extensively about every single little thing that he hates about him.

It's strange that this can be such a hilarious scene for Martin, similar to Chevy Chase's temper tantrum over his Christmas bonus in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and yet we get cutaways to Del's face that are truly moving. He listens silently to Neal's endless stream of harsh criticisms, and he just watches, his face registering his inability to argue with any of it, and leaving the audience to wonder why we're laughing so hard at this guy who is obviously being hurt. And it's not even that the movie makes you look back at yourself with scenes like this, but that the characters are made so effectively three-dimensional.

(spoilers) Del is an overly outgoing character who is sociable to a fault. He just wants to make conversation and make friends but ends up annoying instead. Kind of like that line in The Cable Guy, 'I just wanted to be your friend, Steven, but I screwed it up.' Carrey had won the audience's heart with that one line, but sadly, the remainder of the movie allowed the character to rescind any sympathy. This guy doesn't need a friend, he needs a criminal psychiatrist. Del, on the other hand, badly needs a friend, as we find out later in the movie.

As a whole, the movie is about the strenuous things that happen during the holidays. Rather than focus on the difficulties in dealing with the extended family, as was the case in Christmas Vacation, this one focuses on traveling hazards. Three years later writer and Director John Hughes wrote Home Alone, in which John Candy reappears in a similar situation and plays almost exactly the same character. Here, Neal's inability to get on a single plane flight leads to a two-day nightmare involving planes, trains, automobiles and Del Griffith.

As is to be expected, this odd couple grows on each other, as they always do, but the movie manages to escape being just another odd couple movie for a variety of reasons. First, there is not resentment and dislike coming from both sides, only an irrational one coming from Neal's side. He has already judged this guy long before he knew him, and it is only Del that is willing to make conversation and simply get along, despite their differences and the difficulty of their situation. I especially loved that the movie did not cop out at the end, which it could very easily have done.

It takes two people who could hardly have been more different, puts them together for a matter of days in an extremely stressful situation, and then brings them together at the end without compromising the validity of their characters. It is certainly a bittersweet ending, but one that leaves you with a smile.
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Heartwarming Little Holiday-Themed Film.
tfrizzell2 May 2002
Very good comedy that has businessman Steve Martin trying to get home for the Thanksgiving holidays but having absolutely no luck. What is worse is that he cannot shake traveling salesman John Candy. The duo go through so many crazy situations trying to get Martin home and the question is will they survive the experience? The film is not all fun though as John Candy has a secret that will be discovered by the film's finale. John Hughes is at his best here. Along with "Home Alone" this is his best work. He adds outstanding comedy with just a pinch of real drama to create a really good film that keeps entertaining as the years pass by. 4 stars out of 5.
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Heart Warming and Hilarious
mjw230528 January 2005
Neal Page (Steve Martin) just wants to go home to his family, but the weather, the car rental company, the railways, and pretty much everyone else just won't let him get there.

If thats not bad enough, Del Griffith (John Candy) a shower curtain ring salesman, is there to keep him company, and he may be his only chance.

Caught up in Hilarious Circumstances time and time again, the duo ride the roller-coaster all the way to a heart warming conclusion.

Very Funny, this remains one of John Candys Finest Roles ever.

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Steve Martin and John Candy couldn't be better together
ericglunneborg7 December 2003
The setting of the movie begins in the middle of NY, NY, in a meeting room of a tall office building. Neil Page (Steve Martin) is looking at his boarding pass, for his flight home to Chicago. He is Tapping on his watch (Rolex) lip sinking to his co worker across the table, `I got to go!' The two men are in the meeting room trying to get a client (William Windham) to buy an advertisement for their marketing agency. Next scene, Neil Page is leaving the office building, hoping that he will make his flight which is ½ an hour away. He is having trouble finding a cab during rush hour , so he negotiates with a stranger and pays $75 for a cab. While all that is happening, the cab takes off, and Neil gets up to the cab opens up the door, and tells the passenger (John Candy) to get out of the cab, just then the cab takes off, leaving Neil behind. This is Neil Page's first encounter with Dell Griffith, the shower curtain ring salesman. Eventually Neil Makes it to the air port just in time to find his flight delayed. Sitting in the crowded airport, he notices a large man seated opposite him. The two look at each other for a few seconds until they figure out that they some how know each other. Neil tells him you stole you stole my cab at the same time Dell says `You're the guy who tried to take my cab'. When it occurs to Dell that it was pretty easy to get a cab that day during rush hour in New York City, he tries to make it up to Neil. Neil just wants to forget about it. After every one boards the plane, Neil finds he has been bumped from first class. To ad insult to injury not only does he have to fly coach, but he has to sit in the middle seat next to Dell Griffith. Things could not get much worse, right? The flight to Chicago was routed to Wichita due to a snow storm in Chicago. While Neil was trying to book a room, and couldn't get one, Dell said `I booked a room at the Braidwood inn.' and invited Neil to share a cab ride with him to the hotel. After an interesting cab ride, the two arrive at a hotel for the night., and the funny adventure starts there. Neil specializes in marketing, and Dell specializes in selling the best shower curtain rings. They have one thing in common. Both are trying to get back to Chicago for thanksgiving.

Although the men are very different from one another in personality, their misfortunes seal a bond between them. As they try to make the way home, they find various means of transportation, including a train, a bus, a pickup truck a burned out car and a refrigerated truck. They also find themselves on another journey. Neil Page makes the journey from career minded advertising executive to a more soft hearted person and Dell Griffith realizes that he has been a screw up who annoys people. Eventually the two make it back to Chicago, but they not only have completed the journey home, they have also completed the journey to a lasting friendship. Steve martin does an excellent job playing Neil Page, a business man in his late thirties early forties, who can be a bit of a control freak. Dell Griffith is played by john Candy. Who in turn is about the same age. Dell a salesman, is more relaxed then Neil. He can be really funny, and a disgusting slob at the same time. Although I do not recollect the two being in a motion picture before with each other, I am glad that they were chosen to act with each other because their interaction with each other is what made the story so interesting.

The reviewer would rate this movie a five out of five star rating. Though Steve Martin repeatedly dropped the F-Bomb in one scene, it is understandable when you see this well mannered man, who has met every inconceivable obstacle n his quest to spend Thanksgiving with his family finally meet the limit of his patience. It is a classic to show around Thanksgiving time. The way in which the movie was shot, and the acting was done, it brought out the highlights in the real funny scenes. Go see for your self to realize what a great movie it is. Just a reminder, the next time your flight is delayed or you have trouble getting a cab, things could be worse. You could be traveling with a shower curtain ring salesman named Dell Griffith.
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Excellent Comedy With A Touching Conclusion
sddavis6321 December 2009
They make the perfect odd couple: Steve Martin as the prim and proper, fastidious and somewhat uptight ad exec Neal Page and John Candy as the obnoxious, uncultured and unkempt shower curtain salesman Del Griffith. In the scramble to get home for Thanksgiving, and because of a massive snowstorm that closes O'Hare Airport in Chicago and diverts them to Wichita, Neal and Del become unlikely travel companions as they hit the road for Chicago in a variety of modes of transportation.

As we follow their misadventures, this becomes a very funny movie. In a strange way, both characters are equally likable and not. Neal's a good family guy who just wants to be with his family for the holidays, but he's also unforgiving and unsympathetic to others, not to mention a bit snobbish. Del talks too much and has far too many irritating habits, but he is who he is and - as he says - he likes himself and he likes people, but there's also a sadness to him that makes you want to know more about him. Martin and Candy played off each other perfectly, and there are many absolutely hilarious moments throughout. I think my favourite scene is as they travel the wrong way down the highway. Ultimately, the mystery about Del's life and Del's wife is revealed, which leads to a very touching scene at the movie's close, as Neal is moved to invite Del to his home and family for Thanksgiving.

In a movie I enjoyed very much, the only thing I didn't like was the scene in which Neal loses his cool with the car rental agent and spews forth an ongoing chain of the "f-word" at her. I realize this scene has to be looked at in context. I realize it presented an interesting view of the character finally losing it, but to me - although I'm no prude - it was far too out of character for Neal and too out of place when compared to the rest of the movie. That scene aside, though, this movie is one of the best comedies that you'll ever see - a must-see holiday film. 9/10
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RIP John Candy and John Hughes
colm-hearne3654 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
To me, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is John Hughes's third best movie (next to Ferris Bueller's Day-Off and The Breakfast Club) and it's also the best movie of both Steve Martin and John Candy.

It's a funny story about an uptight businessman called Neil Page who is trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. But along the way he gets stuck with a good-natured but annoying blabbermouth screw-up named Del Griffith. The two of them go on a really rough trip home (most of it is Del Griffith's fault), especially Neil. But I like how Neil can't stand Del after all the trouble he got him into but in the end Neil learns to appreciate Del and considers him his friend and even invites him to spend Thanksgiving at his house.

As well as being a great comedy, there are also some dramatic moments. Like when in the motel room where Neil rants about how annoying Del is and how he talks too much but Del responds with his touching "You wanna hurt me..." speech and that he likes who he is. And it's also surprising at the end when Neil learns that Del is homeless and his wife has been dead for years.

It's also sad to know that John Candy (1950-1994) and John Hughes (1950-2009) are both dead because they were both legends of their time. But the funny movies that they made like Uncle Buck, Home Alone and of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles will remain classics for years to come.
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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a great Thanksgiving treat. It will feed your laughter.
ironhorse_iv28 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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Incredibly funny.
advaitkamat19 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
You need a special talent like John Hughes to find creativity amidst a torrent of clichés. The premise is simple, ancient and grossly overused but "Planes, Trains And Automobiles" is so uproariously funny that I'd chuck all the bygones right out of the window and delve into a bucket of popcorn and invest into this hoot of a comedy. Hughes has always been one of my favorite filmmakers, a productive artist of his time and a virtuoso of movies on teenage angst. No matter how hard my day was, I'd just watch a John Hughes movie to cheer myself up because he knows how to do it better than anyone else.

We open in New York City two days before Thanksgiving. Neal Page (Steve Martin), a compulsive snob and a marketing executive, yawns through a meeting with his bosses. He's desperate to make a flight he's late for so that he could spend Thanksgiving with his family. He been told that he'd 'never make it', a challenge he takes on only to have a cab that he has paid for being stolen from right under his nose. Neal's a frustrated exec, he wears neatly-cut suits that compliment his grave demeanor. Martin's perfect cast as Neal. He can play a dignified working-man in one frame and an angry elitist in the other. That's what happens when he has his cab nicked. The culprit is Del Griffith (John Candy), a traveling salesman who sells shower-rings, who apologizes profusely to an incensed Neal later on when they meet on the flight. He wants to make up for it, Neal would rather be left alone.

But Del doesn't give up easily. He's talkative, friendly and he wants to declare a truce. Neal doesn't want to be friends. But, as fate would have it, a blizzard prevents them from reaching Chicago, where they're headed, and they land up in Wichita instead. Del offers to book a room for Neal for the night. Neal doesn't have a choice, he agrees. And from there on, a series of misadventures and mishaps occur when they try to get home as soon as they can and by any means possible.

"Planes, Trains And Automobiles" would never have worked if it wasn't for its characters. Hughes often makes the characters count in his movies, an example of which can be found in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and it's no different here. Del could be a character that could prove to be irksome if spent too much time with but here he's nothing short of charming. He's immensely affable, like his genial laugh that's disarming, and Candy plays him accordingly. In the scene where Neal ticks him off for being boring, annoying and distracting, Candy's magnificent. He radiates a feeling of hurt but emphatically states that he likes himself for being the person he is. Marvel at how expressive he is in that one scene, when his face falls, I couldn't help but applaud the skill he showed. Martin's elucidation of Neal Page is a triumph, he earns our solicitude though he's rash with Del, and never once loses the character. Both Candy and Martin sneak into the skin of their characters like water in soil and they make a hell of a team.

The writing is subtle, supremely funny and often insightful. The jokes keep pelting, the one-liners are winning and the craft is exceptional. My favorite sequence in the movie is when Neal and Del steal a bus-ride and catch a young couple in the heat. The sequence is naturally evocative, prompting loud guffaws at the goofiness of the whole comical situation. The movie's loaded with sequences like this and every single one of them is rational. Somehow, that makes it funnier still.

There is nothing really wrong with "Planes, Trains And Automobiles" except for the fact that it's very predictable and repetitive. You can guess at the very beginning how it's going to end though when Hughes actually gets there, you don't want it to. And may I add that Hughes pulls off one of the most moving endings I've witnessed in the recent spew of films.

Candy and Martin are terrific in their respective roles. They end up adding the zing that the movie direly required to make a somewhat implausible plot work by playing the characters who mingle with us and stay with us long after the movie ends.

"Planes, Trains And Automobiles" is unapologetically a wholesome crowd- pleaser that never stops being delightfully goofy and captivating. Consistently hilarious and frequently touching, it's the best film of its kind I've had the pleasure to watch. It's also one of the better comedies I've seen in a long time, one that does justice to the genre. I can't remember the last time I had laughed out so loud.
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What a funny movie! They just don't make them like that anymore
CyndiReynolds425 January 2004
What is a more funny movie, then one with both Steve Martin and John Candy, `Planes, Trains and Automobiles,' kept me laughing the whole time. There's no better way to explain Martin and Candy, but truly funny. They are the ultimate odd couple. The up tight Neal Page (Martin) is a workaholic, just trying to see his family for Thanksgiving. When he runs into Del Grifith (John Candy), Neil learns to laugh and unwind. They couldn't be more wrong for each other. Through all the busyness of New York, it's ironic how two opposite people could possibly meet each other and become friends. Especially when they are so different and couldn't like one another any less. Del is a carefree, easy going, curtain ring sales men, that seems to have no problems in life. Though he hides one tearful secret, he keeps you laughing until the end.

When Neal is in such a hurry to get home for Thanksgiving with his family, he just has to have everything go wrong. It doesn't help that Neal is an overly obsessive, business man with no other purpose in life but to work and go home. After several attempts to never see each other again, Del and Neal learn to spend their trip together. After hopping from planes, trains and automobiles, a simple trip soon turns into quite an adventure, for the two odd friends. The fine acting and natural raw comedy between Martin and Candy adds an addicting appeal to the movie. The movie is rated R for the language that the characters use through the entire movie. Although that is what makes the movie so funny. It's a great ****ing movie! The film would probably appeal more towards an older audience because of the `intense' language used, though the film still holds a wholesome quality about it. It's a warm hearted film with lots to laugh about. The laughter of the film keeps you drawn in until the end, when the more serious nature of the film is displayed. `Planes, Trains and Automobiles' deserves a 7 out of 10.
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After 30 years, it's still relatable
HotToastyRag13 September 2019
Is there anyone who hasn't seen the delightful buddy-classic Planes, Trains & Automobiles? If you haven't, it's probably because you're very young and don't think you can relate to a movie that doesn't feature a single cell phone. Relax and rent this Thanksgiving movie. If you've ever travelled by any of the title transportations, it's relatable.

Steve Martin and John Candy find themselves stuck travelling across the country together to get home for Thanksgiving. It's hate-at-first-sight for Steve and he treats his travelling companion pretty badly, even though John never means to do any harm. That's my only complaint about this movie, and really the only reason watching this movie isn't an annual tradition. Steve Martin's character is so mean! There's a famous conversation between my mom and my brother my family frequently references: my mom was upset that a total stranger was mean to her, but she tried to cut the person some slack, in case he/she was having a bad day. "Would you treat someone that way if you were having a bad day?" my brother asked. Since the answer was obviously "no," we've had a hard time cutting people slack for that reason ever since.

I have a hard time cutting Steve Martin's character slack because he's having a travelling nightmare. Yes, his meeting runs late, he literally falls on his face and loses a cab to Kevin Bacon, he's seated next to the chatty John Candy on the airplane, a blizzard forces an early landing, he gets robbed, all the rental cars are taken, the train breaks down, and countless other accidents through the second half of the movie, but in my opinion, he wouldn't take out his frustration on an innocent, friendly, well-intentioned man who has endured all the same travelling hiccups, if he was a nice person. I recently had to travel across the country for a wedding, and after many things went wrong, I ended up in tears but I didn't insult anyone.

The good parts of the movie are the hilarious and realistic mishaps throughout the cross-country journey, and of course, John Candy. He's lovable, sensitive, funny, and kind. He continually sees the best in mean people, inspiring charity in audience members' hearts at the start of the holiday season. If you've never seen it, or if it's been a few years, rent it this Thanksgiving. At the very least, you'll be reminded to be grateful whenever your travelling plans go smoothly.
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