Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – Film Reel Reviews

Freaking hilarious flick with two greats of comedy, Steve Martin and John Candy. – Will

Neal’s (Steve Martin) plans to get home in time for Thanksgiving are ruined and he winds up having to find a new way to get home with Del (John Candy), an obnoxious shower ring salesman, as his only help.

Written and Directed by – John Hughes

Starring – Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker, Carol Bruce, Olivia Burnette, Diana Douglas, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Matthew Lawrence, Edie McClurg, George Petrie, Charles Tyner, Susan Isaacs, Lulie Newcomb

This is one of my favorite comedies out there and there’s not many films I’ve seen as much as this one. It never fails to give me a good laugh every time I watch it. John Candy and Steve Martin make a great pair and watching them butt heads for the majority of the film is a delight to see. Each new scene quickly becomes my favorite and I bet anyone who has seen this film has screamed either ‘Those aren’t pillows!’ or ‘You’re going the wrong way!’ at least once to their friends. I still randomly yell those at people in my house and after watching this one again last night I’m willing to bet that it will only get worse. Man, living with me can be hard! HAHA!

If you haven’t seen this film then shame on you. It’s not too hard to give it a quick rundown though. Neal (Martin) is trying to get home for Thanksgiving weekend but the weather in Chicago has closed the airport and his flight is diverted to Wichita. Right from the start his rush to get home is constantly put to the test by Del Griffith (Candy), an annoying shower ring salesman who manages to screw up every plan that Neal has to get home. Despite the bad luck that Del seems to bring with him, he’s the only one who can help Neal get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Nothing goes right for Neal but he does wind up getting close to Del over his trip.

I could probably just cram this review full of Youtube clips of the movie and be satisfied but that won’t help me express the pure joy that I get from watching this film. John Candy was, and is, a comedy legend and I remember watching him on SCTV when I was just a little kid. From The Great Outdoors to Uncle Buck to Spaceballs, I’m always entertained when he’s on the screen. Usually playing the lovable but misunderstood guy, I think his pairing with Steve Martin in this flick may be one of my favorites. Martin is no slack in the comedy department either and is great as the cold-hearted prick who eventually comes to enjoy the company of Del. I do have to share my favorite moment of the flick though as Neal and Del manage to get on the wrong side of the highway.


Just freaking hilarious. Every time I see Del’s trunk flying through the air I burst out laughing. It’s a perfect example of some of the outrageous trouble those two get into and showcases how their relationship is throughout most of the film. I’m not one to usually enjoy many comedies and it seems that most of my favorites came out in the 80’s but as far as comedies go this one manages to keep my sides hurting the entire time. There’s Neal racing for a cab right in the beginning of the film, Neal and Del sharing a hotel room resulting in a sweet kiss and one warm hand, catching a ride with Owen (a barely recognizable Dylan Baker), the train breaking down, the car rental scene, any scene with Neal and Del on the highway. Okay, I gotta stop there. There’s just so many classic moments in there. The film even manages to get spoofed on Family Guy with one of the more heartfelt moments in the film.

You really want to love Del no matter how many times he seems to destroy Neal’s journey home and eventually Neal comes to realize how much he likes Del. Much of the success of the film lies with John Hughes. He crafted some of the greatest comedies, as well as most of my favorites, during the 80’s and he had a great talent for dialogue. It’s unfortunate that both he and John Candy are no longer with us but we’ll always have some of the best comedies around thanks to the two of them. Nothing can cheer you up and manage to inspire you like the films of those two great men. I know that Planes, Trains & Automobiles managed to make my terrible week of dental appointments and sick children enjoyable again.

Under the marquee – Will

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4 Responses to Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – Film Reel Reviews

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – Film Reel Reviews | The Film Reel --

  2. Laer says:

    Ya, I loved this one too. The only thing I don’t like is the HORRIFICALLY white and cheesy version of that Paul Young song at the end! It’s hard for me to type right now, as I’m convulsing violently just thinking about it. When the vocals kick in… instant loss of bowel control.

    But, ya, the rest of the film is great… funny and heartfelt. Definitely seemed to be a great chemistry between the two.

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was another Steve Martin gem, I thought… Same kind of frustration throughout… although in that one, it’s not one-sided, and it’s really great watching each one out-do the other!

    Candy was great… Actually, SCTV is playing as I type this.

  3. Laer says:

    I just watched the Family Guy clip… Wow, it was DANGEROUSLY close to getting to the vocal section!

  4. Goregirl says:

    John Candy is awesome. I really miss that guy and that fabulously contagious laugh of his!

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