Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

(Second viewing, On TV, May 2018) screenwriter/director John Hughes’ Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a comedy classic for a reason—it makes great use of two comic actors (Steve Martin and John Candy), features a series of memorable sequences, plays on universal annoyances and doesn’t forget to add a little bit of sentiment toward the end to temper the comedy. Everyone can relate to uncontrollable delays and setbacks in trying to get home for the holidays, and Hughes pushes it to the limit in describing what else can happen to two harried travellers. (The film reaches a comic apex of sort during its fiery highway sequence.)  Martin plays exasperated as well as Candy plays exasperator, and the result couldn’t be better. It’s not a complex film, and it works largely because of this straightforwardness. It’s worth another viewing every few thanksgivings.

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