Home > Super Tuesday DVD Reviews > “Super Tuesday” DVD Review: Planes, Trains And Automobiles

“Super Tuesday” DVD Review: Planes, Trains And Automobiles

Okay. Today is not Tuesday, but the “Super Tuesday” title is taken from the day people rock up to their local video shop and rent a movie or two for only two bucks. Honestly, I prefer watching hard copy DVDs and Blu-Rays at the lounge room as opposed to waiting a week or two to download a video in digital copy but only to get a crappy quality picture. Besides who wants to sit on their swivel chair and stare close to a computer monitor, where they could lie down on a comfy recliner and watch high-quality movie on their 22′ inch LCD TV?

Rant aside, today’s DVD review is the 1987 comedy (and my personal favourite) Planes, Trains And Automobiles.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

Straight after the success of The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day-off, leghendary ’80s filmmaker John Hughes decided to take a break from making teen angst movies and directed a starring vehicle for comedy legends  Steve Martin and John Candy. Neither of them have worked together before and what we have is a road trip flick that, in my personal opinion, the best film from all three icons.

Have you ever kept meeting the same annoying stranger during a rather chaotic trip back home? Well that happened to advertising executive and cynical family man  Neal Page (Steve Martin) who, after a series of frustrating events in using public transportation, is stuck with shower curtain rings salesman and lovable blubbermouth, Del Griffith (John Candy in his best performance next to Uncle Buck-another John Hughes’ classic). Cruel twist of fate brought them together as both Neal and Del try every means necessary to travel from New York to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. However, they must survive each other first.

Similar to Hughes’ earlier work National Lampoon’s Vacation, anyone who is a victim of flight cancellations, seedy motel rooms, meeting slack-jawed yokels or generally a bad  holiday can relate to this film. There are lot of memorable moments that can be recited for months. The F-word was  cleverly used  in a hilarious tirade between Steve Martin  and a seemingly innocent car rental clerk, played by the Principal’s secretary from Ferris Bueller’s Day-Off . Who can forget the situation where Neal and Del have to share the same hotel bed and that “Those aren’t pillows” gag? Not to mention, the spectacular stunt scene where the boys’ car accidentally drove between two trucks on the wrong side of the freeway.

What makes PTA different (and better) from the louder and rather obnoxious “frat boy” road trip movies (a.k.a. Harold and Kumar) is not only the humour is subtle but Hughes added some seriousness to the story without turning PTA into a complete drama. Remember its a comedy first, but PTA is beyond a wacky comedy and has a soul to it. PTA’s best scene happens to be the most serious yet surprisingly uplifting one where, after being ranted against by Neal, Del finally stands up for himself and be proud of who he is. Watch the scene below, listen to the slow music at the background and look carefully at John Candy’s face. This man can act and the emotions he express here looks real. Almost too real that audiences would believe the usually jolly John Candy has unlocked something from his personal past and is really opening up his emotional side. Either way, this scene cements the legacy of  John Candy. Never judge a book’s cover my readers.

That scene inspires me personally for reasons I won’t go in too much detail. PTA signals John Hughes’ ability to make a comedic film emotionally relatable to real life rather than making it a complete cartoon. Even Hughes’ more cartoony and wackier works, Weird Science (1985) and the first two Home Alone flicks have meanings to them.

Whether you want to watch Martin in his prime or wish to relieve the magic of Hughes and Candy, I highly recommend Planes, Trains and Automobiles. You will laugh, cry and feel good inside.

“I’ve been with Del Griffith. I could take on anything.”

After watching this on DVD, you can too.

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