Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Walk with me into the past.
"What he really wanted was to spend Thanksgiving with his family. What he got was three days with the turkey."

I picked that tagline because it was one of the lamest jokes I'd ever read in my life. Hey everybody, it's Thanksgiving here at the Tagline too, so I thought I would try and review a Thanksgiving themed movie. It probably says something about just how deranged I am that the first movie that came to mind for me was Addams Family Values (for reasons you'll understand if you have seen that movie). Eventually I recovered and with a little help remembered that Planes, Trains and Automobiles was, at least in theory, about a guy trying to get home for Thanksgiving. Directed by John Hughes, a man known for directing a grocery list of movies that are considered 80s classics and that I also don't really care for all that much (Like Ferris Bueller, fuck that guy) I did however really like this movie. P, T & A stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, who is trying to return to his family for Thanksgiving after a business trip to New York. His trip is ill-fated however, as he runs across Del Griffith (John Candy), who causes him to miss out on a cab he was racing after. The two end up travelling together, and the results... well they aren't good. They aren't good at all.

Del's best feature is his Hitler mustache (in this picture anyway)

This film is of a variety that you don't really see anymore. They were common enough in the 80s and even to an extent in the 90s, about luckless bastards who stumble down the road trying to find their way home, and instead find nothing but disaster. John Candy often featured prominently in such movies as a hapless dimwit (Uncle Buck is a pretty good one, Hughes actually directed that too). Steve Martin of course made a career out of situational comedy like this, and so it should come as no surprise that a movie featuring both of them is quite funny. Together, they miss flights, set rental cars on fire, get robbed, and then later spoon. It would be difficult to explain what makes the movie funny exactly (as humor is a challenging thing to explain second hand). Trust me when I say that this is an example of a movie that knows its stuff.

Isn't this just... a heartwarming moment?
Ultimately, the two finally even each other out, and after three days of disaster pull their shit together long enough to make their way back to Chicago.I won't spoil the ending, but Neal is improved by his misadventures, and ultimately becomes friends with Del, who is a trying individual but also a decent and good individual who's fallen on hard times. Charity and the spirit of giving to the less fortunate? Who can think of a more Thanksgiving themed moral than that for a movie where a car melts? I can't that's for sure.

Nice car don't you think officer? No?
Predictably, this movie enjoyed wild success in the box office, like most all movies that the late Mr. Hughes directed (he unfortunately passed away in 2009) grossing something in the ballpark of 150 million dollars, against a paltry 15 million dollar budget. Bear in mind also that this movie was released in 1987. Generally speaking, the film also garnered critical acclaim, currently enjoying a 94% fresh rating on RT. Those few who didn't enjoy the movie remark that the movie is "disposable" which i think entirely misses the point of this, and basically any other comedy movies. Can you really think of a comedic movie that was somehow important rather than simply entertaining? Because I think that is the only real point of comedy. To be funny. Get over yourselves whoever wrote that review.

That's all I have to say for now! Have a lovely Thanksgiving, and I'll see you come the weekend!

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