Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987): USA

Reviewed by William Conlin. Viewed on DVD.

For most, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey, mashed potatoes or apple pie, but in my family those tasty treats are accompanied by another long-standing tradition. Every Thanksgiving, my family sits down and enjoys the classic comedy Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Steve Martin and John Candy star in this heartwarming classic about two men lost in America. Neil Page is a well to do advertising executive who had to fly across country the week before Thanksgiving. His flight home is delayed by a storm so he is forced to travel by ground. Along the way he is met with countless obstacles, including a traveling salesman named Del Griffith. Their relationship begins with pure hatred but they soon realize the only way to get home is by helping each other.

This movie is widely considered the best Thanksgiving film ever made and I couldn’t agree more. With classic dialog, wonderful direction and unmatchable performances by its two stars, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is perfect in every way. This film is sure to make you laugh and cry. I’ve seen it every Thanksgiving of my life and I still get choked up watching it.

Since I am writing this on Thanksgiving and there is a delicious looking turkey beckoning me, I will keep this short and simple. If you want a great family film for a family holiday, this is the one for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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