Find That Film: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

We’re rolling in to November not with time travel in season five, but a couple of Thanksgiving holiday movies. With that, episode 10 is the John Hughes penned and directed Planes, Trains, & Automobiles.

Neal Page (Steve Martin) wants to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. His business trip in NYC runs long, forcing him to rush to the airport. Nothing goes right for Neal: his cab is stolen, his case is run over, and his plane is delayed. Worse, the cab thief is his seat mate. In a failed attempt at amends, Del Griffith (John Candy), the cab thief, tries to help Neal get to Chicago through flight diversions, motel stays, trains, crowded buses, and rental cars. Good-hearted Del can’t seem to do anything right. Frustrated Neal can’t seem to catch a break.

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles shines with Steve Martin and John Candy. This is a pairing we needed more of in our lives. Hughes stepped out of his usual zone to create a more grown-up movie with just as much comedy and heart as dread and despair. The three of them working together crystallized a moment in holiday film not to be overlooked.

A memorable cast of cameos and scene stealers fill the movie. Alll your Hughes favorites like Edie McClurg (her second appearance this season), Bill Erwin, and Larry Hankin appear. Additionally, a few big names like Michael McKean and Kevin Bacon pop up too. Dylan Baker manages to make his first feature role one of the best moments of the movie. I think this is the third film we’ve featured that has Martin Ferrero in a short yet memorable role.

It wasn’t as big as it should have been. While the critics praised it, the production was hampered by warm weather and the release was overshadowed by more friendly rated* movies. We hope you haven’t missed this 30-year-old tour de force. Make sure everyone knows how to get to your house and then find that film Planes, Trains, & Automobiles.


*Is it family friendly? The R rating is for a one minute tirade featuring the F-bomb 18 times. No violence or sex.

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