Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes

Staring: John Candy, Steve Martin

On a whim, I was flipping through the channels of the television and noticed that Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was coming on. I put the movie on and watched it again for the first time in over a decade. The movie has, surprisingly, aged well. Neal (Steve Martin) is trying to get home to Chicago and fate keeps him stuck with Del (John Candy) on the worst cross country adventure ever. The journey has them taking just above every form of transportation known to man.

The only movie I expect to be worse with cliches than a comedy flick, is a romantic comedy. Much to my surprise, this movie did a very good job of hiding them. Neal can't stand Del and slowly warms up to him. This cliche plays out across the entire movie. This is a useful trick to blending a cliche into the background. If you stretch it out and make it subtle enough, it isn't as offensive on the eyes. Another cliche that is a little less obvious is fate throwing every possible obstacle in their path. This was over played and became a heavy annoyance. The car really didn't have to catch on fire, did it?

I miss these style of comedies. Most comedies these days seem to involve the absurd circumstances or bathroom humor. Even Bridesmaids, a movie I adore, had a rather eye raising scene involving food poisoning. Unfortunately, John Candy, John Hughes (Director), and so many other wonderful minds and talents from the 1980's are dead. I can only hope for a resurgence of the humor style.


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a well-written movie and great comedy. However, it has nothing on the imagery, action, and character development, and visuals of Hanna.

Winner: Hanna


  1. I've never seen the movie, but as you describe it, it makes me think of _Three Men in a Boat_

  2. There are a few similarities, but they are not quite the same. IIRC, Three Men in a Boat focuses on the absurdities of transportation and the behaviors of the aristocracy. _Planes, Trains, and Automobiles_ is mostly about the complications and frustrations that come with travel, particularly holiday travel.