The Thanksgiving I Finally Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles

 In Comedy, Drama, Everything, Good
A picture of Steve Martin and John Candy in the film Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Directed by John Hughes
Written by John Hughes

The review:

2020 is the year I finally watch this John Hughes classic film!* I found it to be an amusing road trip in that very 80s way and I was reminded of the humanity John Candy brought to his misfit characters.** While I don’t think this will become a Thanksgiving tradition, this is an enjoyable bit of classic 80s cinema.***

The verdict: Good

Cost: $2.99 via Google Play
Where watched: at home

Consider also watching:

  • Uncle Buck
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Mr. Mom

Further sentences:

*In looking at the films he directed, I’m not sure if I’ve seen Weird Science or not, and I know I’ve not seen Curly Sue, but the rest of the filmography bridges my elementary school through my junior high years. Kids were talking about Sixteen Candles in 1984, which was about four years before I was old enough to watch it, and I remember getting dropped off at the theater with my friend Laurie to watch Uncle Buck. (Apparently I already wrote about this in 2010.)
**RIP John Candy
***It was also fun to see the bits in the film I remember people recounting to me over the years. (“You haven’t seen Planes, Trains & Automobiles? There’s this classic scene where…”)


  • What’s your favorite John Candy role?
  • What’s your favorite zany road comedy?

Favorite IMDB trivia item:

On instruction from John Hughes, Edie McClurg’s role as the St. Louis rental car agent was partially improvised. Hughes told her to simply riff a fake phone conversation with someone about Thanksgiving plans while Steve Martin remains waiting in line staring at her to finish up. McClurg came up with the idea to speak with her sister about who was going to make what adding “You know I can’t cook!” Hughes asked her how she came up with those lines so quickly and she replied that, like his scripts, she just drew it from her own life. McClurg claims to this day that random people ask her to tell them they’re fucked.

(All hail Edie McClurg who will forever be Patty Poole the neighbor in the
television show Valarie/The Hogan Family)

A picture of Edie McClurg in the film Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Other reviews of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:

  • Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times
  • Janet Maslin, New York Times (I can’t get a working link, but the excerpt says: Mr. Martin and Mr. Candy are an easy twosome to watch even with marginal material, though, and the film is never worse than slow.)

Orange background with a white frame. Text: Quote: Those aren't pillows! —Planes, Trains, & Automobies. Read the three sentence movie review
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