Sometimes a filmmaker steps out of their comfort area and makes a film that becomes something special. Planes Trains and Automobiles is one of those films.
Todays Key Movie:
Planes Trains and Automobiles is a film by director John Hughes that stars two of the 80’s greatest comedy icons, Steve Martin and John Candy. It follows the journey of businessman Neal Page (Martin) as he attempts to get home to his family in time for Thanksgiving. Everything is going against Neal as everything he tries to do ends up failing miserably.
He soon meets up with Del Griffith (Candy), a travelling salesman who inadvertently steals Neals cab. They run into one another again at the airport and end up sitting next to one another much to Neal’s dismay. The flight to Chicago gets worse when they are rerouted due to a winter storm and find themselves miles from home. Neal, desperate to get home, does everything he can to make it to his family by Thanksgiving and keeps running into Del at every turn.
It is a funny and sad film about life and how sometimes fate just throws things in your way to get you to where you really need to be.
Why this movie?
This is easily John Hughes best film. It is a movie that I really didn’t appreciate until later in life but I enjoyed as a kid mostly due to my love of Candy and Martin. In the 80’s they were in their prime and, while Martin is still with us, Candy passed not too many years later in 1994.
As I get older I find this movie more and more prevalent in my life. Sometimes life just does things that you don’t understand but it is all for a purpose and that is, at it’s core, what this film is about. How you react to others when you feel your life is difficult? You never know what someone else is going through so, you may want to think before you attack someone out of anger. We are all dealing with life, and we all have our struggles, some people just don’t make them known until it is too late.
How did this translate to real life?
The holiday season is a time where depression and anxiety are at their peak. Being with family is how many people cope with this unfortunately, like Del in this film, many people don’t have that option. If you know someone who is alone this holiday season, think about giving them a place to stay and eat for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll find that that little act of kindness will go along way.
If you don’t have a place yourself be sure to reach out to a local community center or something similar. You really don’t have to be alone.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
Like I said earlier, this is easily John Hughes finest work. Known for his teen angsty films this was a bit of a departure. The actors are certainly at their peak in this and, while a comedy, it is also one of the most emotionally driven films in the Hughes library. I really can’t recommend it enough and happens to be one of the rare Thanksgiving films.
The eagle eyed viewer will catch great cameos throughout the film from Kevin Bacon to Ben Stein.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can grab it here from Best Buy for around $10 and it is also available via streaming on Vudu and other services. It’s well worth it and a fun ride all around.
Thanks for reading the review today, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Wednesday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. Be sure to check out our contributor Darkmovienight with the New Movie Reviews every Sunday.
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Late to the Game 11/22/17
4 thoughts on “Key Movies of My Life: Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987)”
I’m completely in love with this movie. I really enjoy the movie fact that it’s a comedy but also a bittersweet one. The ending is just incredibly beautiful. Great post man! 😀
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Thanks. It is such a tremendous film. The revelation about Del’s home life still hits me hard. While rewatching it for this post I may have had a little dust in my eyes. 😉 I miss John Candy something bad. He was a genius.