14. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

14-planes-trains-and-automobilesBackground info

Title: Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Director: John Hughes
Year: 1987
Run time: 1hr 32m

“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 lovable, salesman who leads Neal on a cross-country, wild goose chase that keeps Neal from tasting his turkey. Steve Martin (Neal) and John Candy (Del) are absolutely wonderful as two guys with a knack for making the worst of a bad situation. If it’s painful, funny, or just plain crazy, it happens to Neal and Del in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Every traveller’s nightmare in a comedy-come-true!”

Live blog

0:44 – Wow. This film just starts. A scary title scrolls across, but no opening credits. Much respect.
1:57 – Am not a fan of the silence though. Always makes me think my speakers are broken.
3:13 – Is that Kevin Bacon?
4:03 – Correction: was that Kevin Bacon? Smallest part ever!
6:13 – Mr C says he’s pretty sure that he and Neal are the same person. This film is like his life, he says.
6:30 – What’s a noogie?
8:55 – John Candy doesn’t look quite right with a moustache.
11:09 – Ah ha! He won’t stop talking and he takes his shoes off in public. That’s like me, which means this really is Mr C’s life.
15:46 – Second film of the night where a guy is chewing on a cocktail stick. Looks painful to me.
20:06 – I don’t usually like films where everything just keeps going wrong and the hero can’t catch a break. This one manages to be funny at the same time, though. Quite an achievement.
29:35 – Uh oh, they’re waking up together. Maximum awkwardness!
31:07 – He knows everyone and can call in favours because he sold to them. How much favour can a shower curtain ring really get you though?
37:22 – Plane = check. Train = check. Just an automobile to go.
45:53 – Thing is, Neal’s the one that went over and helped him across the field with his suitcase, and now he wants to ditch him again. Why did he bother?
55:29 – I didn’t know car seats went sideways.
1:04:22 – This might be my favourite scene of the movie. You heard the car catch fire, but if you missed it, you’re let in on the joke just a few seconds later.
1:07:21 – How does that car even still work? This is Top Gear-esque!
1:15:32 – They set the car on fire, then they leave it overnight in the snow, and it’s still running. At least it wouldn’t be hot anymore, I suppose.
1:25:35 – Why does he ring the bell at his own house?
1:26:50 – Goodness me, couldn’t they use the proper version of “Every Time You Go”? This one is kinda weak.


Having suggested watching Uncle Buck as a tribute to John Hughes, Mr C then decided he needed to watch this film. Friday night became a double feature, back-to-back, Hughes movie night.

Okay, so yes, it’s a great film. But it’s a rollercoaster of emotions – infuriating, painful, funny, awkward, sad, ridiculous. It makes me uncomfortable not knowing whether I should be laughing or crying! But I did enjoy it and the two characters are really well played.

Rating: 4/5



  1. It’s also worth mentioning that after a conversation on Sidepodcast, I decided that they became really good friends, Del moves in across the street, and comes round for Thanksgiving every year as an honorary uncle. That way, it’s a happy ending.


  2. Lukeh

    It’s a classic film! I found it mega cheap today after all the talk on Sidepodcast last night about it. Woohoo!

    Anything with John Candy is usually worth watching though I reackon, and John Hughes directed some brilliant comedy films 🙂


  3. Jordan Allen

    2009 August 9 Christine permalink

    Anything with John Candy is usually worth watching though I reackon, and John Hughes directed some brilliant comedy films

    I am gradually finding this out

    Perhaps now would be a good time to remind the both of you that John Candy has a quite an important supporting role as the state traffic cop who has to chase Dan Aykroyd because Aykroyd has a suspended license!

    Princess Leia to the rescue!


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