Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles ★★★★★

"Those aren't pillows!"

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is an excellent film, with a message about finding friendship in unexpected places. Beyond having two comedy masters in Steve Martin, John Candy and the grand vision of John Hughes, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" succeeds because the situation is highly realistic, who hasn't had a trip that hasn't gone according to plan?

The greatness and pure genius of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is that, while it's uproariously hilarious, it also reveals great hurt and truth. Scenes such as those in the Bravewood Inn are classics. The argument between Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (John Candy) is the turning point in the film, it's also the first time that the audience realizes that they are in for more than they thought they were. There are certain elements of tenderness, heart, agony, conflict and heartfelt emotion in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" that make it transcend the genre.

Steve Martin and John Candy don't just act, they embody themselves so deeply in their characters that it almost sets a standard for how comedic pairings should be. Watching Steve Martin is like acting a comedian at the top of his game. Just watch his reactions. The facial reaction from Steve Martin in response to John Candy's comeback in the Bravewood Inn is perfect. We understand what Neal is going through and Steve Martin lets us know this by placing himself in a recognizable area. We also understand Del and that is really the key to this film: Being able to identify with both characters almost equally.

There's some important content in this film, but it's never overpowered by laughs, nor vice versa. They go hand-in-hand. I come back to the Bravewood Inn argument scene. After the hilarious, ongoing insults Neal throws at Del, Del responds and says, "You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much, but I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynical like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. So you go right on and think what you like about me, but I'm not changing. I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real deal. Whatcha see is whatcha get." It's creepy how much dramatic, emotional and truthful subtext sneaks into this film, yet it only makes it all the better for it.

The viewer feels like he could be one of these characters either the desperate to get home Neil Page (Steve Martin), who wants time with his family or Del Griffith (John Candy), who is desperate for a friend or in a broader sense a home.

Overall, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a heart warming film about family, friendship, good will towards men, it's also a wickedly funny film and it will stand the test of time.

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