PLANES, TRAINS, AND CINEMAST!
Article by Adam Mast
The world can be a cruel place, and while these are certainly trying times, it should be noted that there is still plenty of goodness to be found. And we as a human race will collectively continue to make way for a brighter future because the alternative is simply out of the question.
What does the previous statement have to do with film and this quintessential Thanksgiving classic in particular? Well, many of us are of the firm belief that a great piece of art can help change the world, and in its own special little way, PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES is such a piece of art.
Directed by the great John Hughes, this spirited story about a pair of reluctantly matched family men who work together and use various modes of transportation to make it home in time for Thanksgiving dinner during one hell of a storm, marked a slight change of pace for an iconic filmmaker known primarily for his teen angst-filled high school-set dramadies of the 80’s.
Sure, there are plenty of moments in PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES when odd couple Neal Page and Del Griffith (played brilliantly by Steve Martin and John Candy) act like children but make no mistakes; There’s something much deeper at this film’s core. In fact, PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES packs quite the emotional sucker punch to the gut in the final act.
Neal is increasingly irritated by Del throughout much of this righteously hilarious movie, but by the end of their epic road trip, a heartbreaking truth brings out genuine compassion in this stressed out workaholic. It’s this sense of truth and compassion that elevate this pitch-perfect comedy to classic status. Aside from all the unforgettable laughs, PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES is truly required viewing because it shows the very best of our humanity. True, it takes Neal a little while to get there, but the point is, he does eventually get there, and when he does, it’s enough to move even the most hardened of individuals to tears.
The willingness to help one another in a time of need is a human trait that we must always hold on to, and while this particular theme has been explored in many films, it is, ultimately, the heart and soul of the joyful, funny, warm, and heartbreaking experience that is PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES.
So, this Thanksgiving, be sure to cuddle up next to the ones you love and take in a viewing of this must-see Turkey Day classic. Word to the wise though; If you have kids with you, forward through the infamous car rental scene. It offers up what is arguably the most effective use of the “F” word ever committed to film. Hughes fought hard to keep this legendary scene in the movie, and we the viewer are all the more fortunate for it. Mostly, though, we’re fortunate to have PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES as a whole to remind us that compassion is alive and well in this world.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!