Planes, Trains and Automobiles plays today
As our American friends get ready to eat their turkey dinners this week, we can’t think of a better way to help them celebrate than to watch one of our favourite holiday-themed flicks, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The John Hughes classic stars Steve Martin as Neal and John Candy as Del, a pair of mismatched strangers who become road trip companions as they try to get Neal home to Chicago from New York in time for Thanksgiving.
Besides the obvious laughs coming from the odd couple pairing of high-strung Martin and klutzy Candy, the film pulls off that rare moment in a comedy movie: a scene so indelibly painful and emotional that it threatens to pull this crazy train of a movie off the rails, transforming it into something way heavier. However, the intensity wears off quickly and we’re back in guffaw-heavy territory almost immediately. But the scene’s power holds steady throughout the rest of the film: we now see these bickering strangers as human beings, not just comic foibles, and it’s that kind of humanity that we wish we could see more of in today’s funny movies (although we could do without the synth-heavy music undertones).