Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flick of The Day: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

We are big fans of the work of John Hughes here at The Daily Flick, having reviewed Home Alone around Christmastime, for he is one of the great comedy writers of the last 30 years in Hollywood, producing some of the best loved films in this genre. Perhaps his best work is the anarchic Planes, Trains & Automobiles, today's flick of the day and a film that is still comedic gold nearly 25 years after is first release.
Starring Steve Martin and John Candy as a pair of mismatched travellers who are thrust together trying to get home for the Holidays. Martin is Neal Page, a stiff advertising executive trying to get from New York to Chicago when he is forced to travel with Del Griffith, played by Candy, after a series of unfortunate events. A more unlikely duo you could not hope to meet. Candy is the kind of person you hope never to meet, loud and obnoxious in a harmless way, he drives Martin to distraction throughout as the pair try any means to get home as various mishaps befall them. 
The real high point of this film is the interaction between Candy and Martin, both on top form, they play off each other throughout, one always acting as the straight man for the other. They inhabit the roles to the extent that they become indistinguishable from their characters. It has to be said, they are aided by a great script, one of the best comedies put to paper of all time. There are numerous quotable scenes.

Car Rental Agent: [cheerfully] Welcome to Marathon, may I help you? 
Neal: Yes. 
Car Rental Agent: How may I help you? 
Neal: You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosey, fucking, cheeks! And you can give me a fucking automobile: a fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick! Four fucking wheels and a seat! 
Car Rental Agent: I really don't care for the way you're speaking to me. 
Neal: And I really don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn't fucking there. And I really didn't care to fucking walk, down a fucking highway, and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile in my fucking face. I want a fucking car RIGHT FUCKING NOW! 
Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement? 
Neal: I threw it away. 
Car Rental Agent: Oh boy. 
Neal: Oh boy, what? 
Car Rental Agent: You're fucked!

Of course, the real gem at the heart of any John Hughes comedy is the heart itself. We can all identify with trying to get home for a Holiday and as we get to know the characters, they begin to grow on each other, despite all their differences. The ending of the film is somewhat poignant but so life affirming that you can't help but fall for it.
This warm hearted and yet absurd humour is the reason John Hughes were so lauded. His work always seemed to carry an underlying message, that in a world that seems to be out to get you if you persevere you will find peace. 

Del: You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get.

Apart from Candy and Martin, the film is populated with the usual Hughes regulars and you will surely recognise a few familiar faces along the way. The secretary from Ferris Bueller? Check! Ferris Bueller's Dad? Check! One half of the old couple from Home Alone? Check!
One of the greatest comedies of all time, this is a film you just have to see if you haven't already done so. Steve Martin and John Candy are as good as they ever were and the script is possibly the best John Hughes ever produced. All in all, a class act.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow by Email