Saturday, October 13, 2012

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Synopsis: Big, loveable oaf drives tightly-wound business guy apeshit across American Mid-West.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Neal Page is an advertising executive who just wants to fly home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. But all Neal Page gets is misery. Misery named Del Griffith - a loud mouthed, but nevertheless loveable salesman who leads Neal on a cross-country, wild goose chase that keeps Neal from tasting his turkey."

What Did I Learn?: 1) A man who will pay $50 for a cab will easily pay $75. 2) There isn’t much to see in Wichita, Kansas in the middle of the night. 3) Not many people know the words to “Three Coins in the Fountain”.  4) You can’t rent a car with shower curtain rings.

You Might Like This Movie If: You’ve ever had to travel in planes, trains, or automobiles. (Ha – and I guess you were expecting a clip of “Those aren’t pillows!”, or Steve Martin’s foul-mouthed rant in the rental agency, weren’t you?)

Really?: 1) I realize Neal and Del were let down by Amtrak, but couldn’t they have tried to pick up another train when they hit St. Louis? Or why didn’t they keep bussing it from there? 2) Would a vibrating bed really cause a six-pack of beer to explode? 3) I had a bit of trouble believing these guys would keep bumping into each other and re-teaming after so many fights and breakups.

Rating: When I reviewed Uncle Buck almost a year ago, I wrote that it might have been John Candy’s best movie. My old friend Raphael disagreed, and stated that Planes, Trains and Automobiles was a better film. After seeing PTA again for the first time in many years (this is one of those movies I overdosed on as a kid), I have to admit that Raphael was correct. Candy and Steve Martin are perfectly cast, the storyline is easily relatable, and the film delivers both laughs and some genuinely touching moments. PTA is highly recommended. 10/10 stars.


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