Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

There really are not that many major Thanksgiving movies. Compared to the other holidays, Thanksgiving does not have nearly enough representation. Historically, the most well-known and one of the most beloved Thanksgiving movies was starring Steve Martin and John Candy and it was called Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

This was a movie that I had actually never seen until tonight.

Neal Page (Steve Martin) was trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, but it seemed as if the fates were conspiring against him. It started when Del Griffith (John Candy) stole his taxi and only went downhill from there.

Neal met up with Del, the shower curtain ring salesman, at the airport and they wind up trying to find their way back to Chicago. However, Neal was finding that the trip with Del was more than he could handle.

The comedic timing of this movie was beautifully executed and there was remarkable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy. Both men showed their extremely strong comedic skills. Candy’s character was a lovable, annoying oaf that would get on Martin’s last nerve.

While you could understand the frustration Martin would show towards Candy, you wanted him to not be so mean. Candy reveal a lot of depth to this apparently surface character. This was not just one of those annoying characters that have been used through the years. Candy’s Del Griffith was more than what you could see, and that depth took this movie to a different level.

The writing was sharp. The dialogue flowed. The movie is funny. You would wonder what else these two men could have happen to them.

John Hughes is the director of this film and you can certainly get the feel of him in this.

The reactions of Steve Martin are just perfect here. You can relate to him and, yet, you don’t blame the extremely likable Candy. The pairing worked so well that despite the movie being a little predictable, you go along with it. The strength of these two make the film what it is.

I will say that I was just a little disappointed with the ending of the film, simply because I wanted to know something more about what happened to them (in particular, Del). It is a minor complaint, but I did want more when the credits started to roll.

This is definitely a classic Thanksgiving movie and I am glad that I finally had the chance to watch it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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