The late John Hughes was known almost exclusively in the 80s for his teen films, however there is one movie of his that concerns adults, a hilarious road-trip comedy entitled Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The film pairs funny men Steve Martin and the late John Candy in what is easily one of the best comedies of the 1980s, and now the movie is presented on a new special edition DVD, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “Those Aren’t Pillows!” Edition.
Steve Martin plays Neal Page, an uptight marketing executive on a business trip in New York trying to make it home to his family in Chicago in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Along the way, he crosses paths with Del Griffith, a talkative, well-meaning though somewhat obnoxious shower curtain ring salesman, played wonderfully by John Candy. They first encounter one another in New York when Neal struggles to find a cab. Del eventually takes his cab and later on the two men happen to be on the same flight to Chicago which gets rerouted to Wichita. The two travelers then embark on a journey filled with, well, planes, trains, and automobiles.
Released in 1987, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of John Hughes more adult-centric works. Prior to this, the talented writer/director had been responsible for a number of coming of age teen movies with great success. These films include Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club,Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Each of these movies had an important message to say and that message was that growing up isn’t easy. Similar themes are presented in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. As the two travelers spend more time together, they form a certain bond and realize that they too have some growing up to do especially Neal.
There are very few comedies nowadays that will have you rolling on the floor with laugher.Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, though released over twenty years ago, manages to do just that. Martin and Candy are the perfect odd couple, a mismatched duo who compliment one another very well. They get on each others nerves and bicker back and forth. They are a two-man show and the hilarity ensues with every scenario they find themselves in.
John Hughes’ script is also something to marvel at. Apparently, he wrote it in a few days, a seemingly daunting task given the fact that it is so good. Martin delivers his lines with cynicism and pessimism where as Candy spouts of his lines with warm-heartedness and innocence. They truly are opposites and every joke and sight gag work perfectly to showcase their wild adventure.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles came out in the 1980’s, a time where brilliant comedians fromSaturday Night Live, and The Second City made the transition to feature-length films. The comic formula of pitting the straight man against the loud-mouthed slob was and still is very popular. If you want to see a movie that gets funnier every time you see it, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is the right choice for you and now with the “Those Aren’t Pillows!” Edition, you can enjoy the now classic film with better picture and sound quality. This DVD will definitely make a terrific stocking stuffer this holiday season.
DVD Bonus Features
The bonus features for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “Those Aren’t Pillows!” Edition are quite good. There are three featurettes. The first one is called “Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” and it features a panel discussion with John Hughes, Steve Martin, and John Candy. The second featurette, “John Hughes for Adults,” discusses the writer/producer/director’s transition to non-teen-oriented storytelling and the last featurette is “A Tribute to John Candy”, which praises the late actor’s comedic talent as well as his more dramatic sensibilities. There is also an absolutely hilarious deleted scene called “Airplane Food”, as well as previews for other Paramount programs and lastly, a nifty hologram image on the DVD cover.