In honor of Thanksgiving I have chosen to review:
Neal Page (Steve Martin) is desperately trying to get home in time for Thanksgiving, but his flight has been grounded due to weather conditions. This turns out to be the least of Neal’s problems, especially after a well meaning stranger named Del Griffith (John Candy) makes it his mission to help, which in turn sends both men on a trip filled with hilarious trials and tribulations.
This film is basically the odd couple on wheels. Well, more like wings, tracks, and wheels, but you get the point. The basic premise is thankfulness, and the director (John Hughes) does an amazing job of conveying this message throughout.
We watch as Neal, who is obviously uptight, slowly becomes unhinged. After many hilarious outbursts, the inner saint finally shines through. It isn’t that his personality changes, but rather that he realizes all that he has, especially the family that he has taken for granted, which allows him to bond with his fellow human beings. This message hits home not just because Thanksgiving is literally today, but because it made me realize that I shouldn’t just be thankful for my family, but that being grateful for what I have needs to be reflected in how I interact with everyone.
The other side of the coin is Del. He is friendly, and despite the fact that he is quite obviously the cause for almost all of the hijinks in the movie, he does everything out of the pure goodness of his heart. Over time, we find out all that he has lost in his life and his character becomes a shining example of how one should handle hardship. He made me think of all the times that I’ve chosen to be angry instead of optimistic. And, yes, regardless of what we like to think a lot of the time — it is a choice. We have the power to stay upbeat.
As the credits rolled I felt like I had learned something. I have seen this film several times over the years, and had thought it was hilarious but nothing more. For the first time I feel I truly understood it. Thanksgiving isn’t just about being thankful for what you have. It’s about how being thankful for what you have should create a positivity that emanates from you in waves.
So put down your fork for a minute because that turkey can wait, and add this film to your Netflix queue.
Do you love this movie too? Share your review of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" in the comments below.