Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – John Hughes

Paramount Pictures, in time for both Canadian and American Thanksgivings, released the 30th Anniversary edition of the John Hughes classic, Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

John Candy and Steve Martin portray Del Griffith and Neal Page respectively; two travellers thrown together as they try to find their way home to Chicago for Thanksgiving.

Watching circumstance after circumstance keep these two characters together, while everything else falls apart, is brilliant. Neal and Del are at each others’ throats and problems of all manner arise. Car rentals, shared accommodations, breakdowns, and more keep these two from getting home, and bind them together inescapably.

The movie remains gut-bustingly funny (and incredibly quotable), filled with honest, and laugh-filled moments. this is one of the films that I totally forget, until I look at the poster, or the credits, that this is a John Hughes film.

Like a number of people my age, Hughes’ films helped define me. I could relate to his characters, and so many of them and the films that they originate from have been woven into the tapestry of pop culture, and my own personal history.

I remember where I was the first time I saw so many of his films, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  His films have spoken to so many people, their music as indelible as the casts, and this one remains one of his most entertaining, and touching.


The blu-ray release also includes some fantastic extras which are as engrossing as the film itself. There’s a featurette called Getting There is Half the Fun which combines modern interviews with an original press conference from 1987 that featured Martin, Candy and Hughes.

My two favourite extras were a pair of features about Hughes and his films called Life Moves Pretty Fast – John Hughes: The Voice of a Generation and Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes. Watching these just brought back the sense of loss I had from the moment that I found out that he had passed, and it wrung more than a few tears out of me.

Hughes had a voice that resonated with his audience, and even now after all these years, they remain entertaining in their humour and honest in their emotion. Few other writer/directors can make that claim, and consequently adding this film to my collection was a delight.

I loved digging into this one again, and delighting in all the iconic moments, as well as the little quiet ones.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles remains a finely crafted, and wonderfully entertaining film that endures, as only the best films can.

I love this one.

Make sure you pick one up for your own collection! Planes, Trains & Automobiles, the 30th Anniversary edition, is available now from Paramount Pictures on blu-ray and DVD.



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