Top positive review
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES [1987 / 2011] [Blu-ray]
30 November 2016
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES [1987 / 2011] [Blu-ray] All He Wanted Was to Spend the Holiday with His Family . . . What He Got Was Three Days On The Road With A Turkey!
Steve Martin and John Candy star in John Hughes classic tale of holiday travel gone awry. Neal Page [Steve Martin] is an uptight advertising executive trying to get hone to Chicago for Thanksgiving. When his flight is rerouted to Wichita, he reluctantly partners with Del Griffith [John Candy], an obnoxious yet loveable salesman. Together, they embark on a cross-country adventure that includes various modes of transportation, hilarious mishaps, and unforgettable rental car shenanigans.
‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ is “a screwball comedy with a heart” [Roger Elbert, Chicago-Sun Times]. Loaded with special features, especially the “Those Aren’t Pillows! ” Edition is a perfect holiday treat that lasts all year.
Cast: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Dylan Baker, Carol Bruce, Olivia Burnette, Diana Douglas, Martin Ferrero, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Susan Kellermann, Matthew Lawrence, Edie McClurg, George Petrie, Gary Riley, Charles Tyner, Susan Isaacs, Lulie Newcomb, John Randolph Jones, Nicholas Wyman, Gaetano Lisi, Diana Castle, Julie H. Morgan, Bill Erwin, Ruth De Soza, Ben Stein, Kim Genelle, Grant Forsberg, David Raiport, Andrew J. Hentz, Karen Meisinger, Gary Palmer, Diane Nieman, Sylvia Vitrungs, Joann Taylor, Julie A. Herbert, Jennifer Allswang, Wendy Lee Avon, Amy Meyers, John Moio, Victoria Vanderkloot, Angelis Alexandris (uncredited), Kevin Ash (uncredited), Kevin Bacon (uncredited), Troy Evans (uncredited), Richard Fike (uncredited), Angella Kaye (uncredited), Nancy Kusley (uncredited), Larry Ludwig (uncredited), Gary McNerney (uncredited), Christopher Meister (uncredited), Elva Morgan (uncredited), Dawn Morgan-Keefe (uncredited), Daniel Niswander (uncredited), Peter Austin Noto (uncredited), Ricardo Sandoval III (uncredited), Ken Tipton (uncredited), Lyman Ward (uncredited), Flynn Welles (uncredited), Chino 'Fats' Williams (uncredited) and William Windom (uncredited),
Director: John Hughes
Producers: John Hughes, Michael Chinich, Neil A. Machlis and William H. Brown
Screenplay: John Hughes
Composer: Ira Newborn (Music Score)
Cinematography: Donald Peterman A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, Spanish: 1.0 LPCM Audio Mono and Portuguêse: 1.0 LPCM Audio Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguêse
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [Anamorphic]
Running Time: 92 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’  written, directed and produced by John Hughes, is a very funny film, deftly blending hilarity, humanity and John Candy, one of the two stars of ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES,’ has a line that goes: “The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth.” It adds poignancy to the film as you watch it now, given that, within a few years, John Candy would be dead from a heart attack at the age of 44. It also adds an engaging authenticity, especially when you cannot help imagining that, in real life, John Candy wasn’t all that different from is character Del Griffith, his overweight, heavy-smoking, eager-to-please character in the film.
Certain comedies surprise us, not simply for their premise or plot scenario or funny gags, but in their overflowing heart, blinding truth and how good they make us feel. ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES,’ is one of those films. Though it does feature its own special twist of comedy, the real surprise is left after the revelation, a film with more perspective on life than anything we’ve come to expect from a road trip buddy comedy of its kind. Then again, should we expect anything less from director/screenwriter John Hughes?
So here we find Neal Page [Steve Martin] two days before Thanksgiving, where Neal is over-stressed workaholic and tries to get from his business trip in New York City back home to Chicago so he can be with his family for the holidays. The trip cannot start soon enough, as Neal Page endures an excruciatingly slow day at the office, then loses a mad dash for a cab driven by Kevin Bacon. Neal Page finally arrives at the airport, only to learn that his flight has been cancelled due to a heavy snowstorm. With his patience already stretched, he encounters the last thing he desires: a shower-curtain-ring salesman who won’t shut up named Del Griffith [John Candy] in one of his best role.
Fate of course brings them together as side-by-side passengers on the next available flight, where Del Griffith ironically says, “The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth,” and Del Griffith also introduces the sore foot phrase “my dogs are barking,” which of course women in high heels always quote to this day. Sure enough, the flight is unexpectedly grounded due to in climate weather, forcing Neal Page and Del Griffith have to stay the night in remote Wichita, Kansas, and share a shoddy motel room together and with only one bed. Note Steve Martin and John Candy’s simultaneous realisation that “those aren’t pillows,” followed by their awkwardly hilarious attempt at masculinity: “Did you see that Bears game?”
The cramped space causes Neal Page to snap and scream out his new travel companion’s name. The conflict gives both actors the perfect platforms for their respective personae. Steve Martin nails the pissed off traveller, rattling off a diatribe of comedy: “Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith and he’s got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out.” John Candy answers as the ultimate consummate charmer, whose feelings have been hurt, countering with a few heartfelt words of his own: “Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Well, you think what you want about me. I’m not changing.”
If viewers were withholding judgment on John Candy’s character, where Del Griffith may not know when to shut his mouth, but his heart is as good as gold. Steve Martin seems to understand this, feeling badly as he climbs back into bed. The rest of the film dares him to overlook John Candy’s blunders if for no other reason than his good intentions. The comedy comes in how hard this is for Steve Martin to do, considering the countless mishaps that befall the two on their progressively ill-fated journey on planes, trains and automobiles.
Having already hit the “holiday road” in his script for ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ , director John Hughes dreams up every road-trip mishap imaginable for ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES,’ inspiring the all buddy road comedies to follow. As John Candy and Steve Martin shiver down the road, you can see the seeds of the human comedy in future “buddy” films. During the legendary “You’re going the wrong way!” highway scene, John Candy’s brief transformation into a red devil inspired Norm MacDonald’s bizarre hallucination of Adam Sandler in ‘Dirty Work’  film.
Most obviously, the notion of John Candy on a road trip was repeated by John Hughes himself in ‘Home Alone’ , where John Candy approaches Catherine O’Hara at an airport and just like what happens when Del Griffith does the same with Neal Page, and helps get her home via a Budget moving van. Only here, he’s no shower curtain ring salesman. He’s the self-proclaimed “Polka King of the Midwest.”
But while such scenes have become classics, they aren’t the chief reason why the film is beloved by both the public and the critics alike. The real reason becomes touchingly obvious during its memorable conclusion. After hitting us with a barrage of screwball comedy gags, John Hughes offers a twist that suddenly makes us aware of the important details we blindly overlooked (i.e. John Candy’s trunk). As Steve Martin rides the train home, he wakes up to a possibility he never considered, as John Hughes inserts a Sixth Sense style montage of flashbacks, especially with the diner scene, a motel scene toasting their wives, that makes viewers instantly want to go back and watch the film again, and viewing this hilarious madcap film, brings a newfound respect for John Candy’s hilarious screwball comedy performance, and how much better the film is because of it. It’s this element that gives ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ the key ingredient of all the best holiday films and an intangible, unmistakable warmth of humanity.
With the final shot of John Candy’s smiling face, freeze-framed and fading out to the song “Every Time You Go Away,” and of course wasn’t his last with director John Hughes, especially with ‘Uncle Buck’ and ‘Home Alone,’ but it’s the most fitting, considering that sadly John Candy died of a heart attack several years later at the young age of 43. ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ remains a memorial to this comedic genius, who was so similar to the Del Griffith character he played.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Paramount Home Entertainment brings you ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ a great 1080p encoded image, with an equally good looking 1.78:1 aspect ratio, that really shows off the film in a good presentation. Colour presentation is really nice here and there is some good fine detail presentation throughout, someone went a little overboard in the DNR [digital noise reduction] department giving most of the human elements in the film some slightly looking waxy skin tones. Texture of the clothing and other items in the film does not suffer too much. On the plus side, again, colours look great and black levels are pretty strong.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Paramount Home Entertainment brings you a great 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that helps to go with so many wacky situations and modes of transportation in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you'd probably expect this to be a more immersive experience. The DTS-HD Master Audio track definitely shows off some of those effects; certainly more than most comedies. However, the main attraction here is the hilarious dialogue, with every word being crystal-clear and quite awesome. So overall it is quite a nice pleasant presentation.
MUSIC TRACK LIST:
BA-NA-NA-BAM-BOO [Performed by Westworld]
Blue Moon of Kentucky [by Bill Monroe]
Everytime You Go Away [Performed by Blue Room]
Lost Again [Performed by Yello]
Mess Around [Performed by Ray Charles]
Power To Believe [Performed by The Dream Academy]
Six Days On The Road [Performed by Steve Earle & The Dukes]
Wheels [Performed by Stars of Heaven]
Gonna Move [Performed by Dave Edmunds]
Back in Baby's Arms [Performed by Emmylou Harris]
Continental Trailways Blues [Performed by Steve Earle & The Dukes]
I'll Show You Something Special [Performed by Balaam and The Angel]
(Meet) The Flintstones [by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera & Hoyt S. Curtin]
Modigliani [Lost in Your Eyes] [Performed by Book of Love]
Red River Rock [Performed by Silicon Teens]
I Can Take Anything [Love Theme from ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’] [Performed by ETA]
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’  [480i] [1.33:1] [16:38] We are at the Paramount Pictures Stage 17 for a press conference with John Hughes [Writer/Producer/Director], Steve Martin [Neal Page], and John Candy [Del Griffith] where they talk and asked questions about the film ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES,’ the script, and making it along with some clips from the film. The press ask John Hughes the question, “Where did the idea come from and how did you choose John and Steve,” and of course John Hughes goes into great detail how it all evolved. The press ask Steve and John what attracted them to the characters in the film, and they all reply that the script was so funny and could not stop laughing. We are also informed from John Hughes that it took him only four days to draft the script, but then admits that it took him 20 to 30 days rewrite the script. But Steve had to admit he was very jealous of this, because when he writes a script he usually takes 6 months to produce a script. Someone asks why has it taken Steve and John so long to work together and they reply that it is the way things happen sometimes and joke sarcastically about why each of them haven’t worked with other big star actors, which is very funny banter with their comments, but most important they both had a great time working together. But most important is that we are informed that both comic actors had amazing timing and two actors who really know how to play comedy together in a film. We also get input from other contributors who were not at the press conference. Of course the subject arose from the press about the swearing in the film and how it affected the film ratings in America, which John Hughes points out that it only happened in one sequence, but Steve Martin points out that he swore 19 times, and also points out that at each screening not one person complained about that particular scene, but of course when shown on American TV, of course it was heavily censored. They of course was asked about the bedroom room scene where Steve and John had to share a bed together and that they had to do 10 takes because everyone was laughing so much. So eventually the press conference comes to an end, but of course loads of photos were taken of John Hughes, Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as signing lots of autographs. This is a great fun to watch especially since I am a big fan of Steve Martin and John Candy; especially there is loads of very funny banter between Steve Martin and John Candy and a joy to watch, especially if you are a super fan of either of the actors. Extra Contributors include Neil A. Machlis [Executive Producer], Michael McKean [State Trooper], Jane Jenkins [Casting Director], Janet Hirshenson [Casting Director], Edie McClurg [Car Rental Agent] and Kevin Bacon [Taxi Racer].
Special Feature: John Hughes: Life Moves Pretty Fast  [1080p] [1.78:1] [27:39] This feature is separated into 2 parts. In the first feature we take a look back at the life of John Hughes by several cast members from his films. We get to hear their thoughts on John Hughes and learn the details of his career path that led him to becoming a director and a spokesman for many people. This is a really nice tribute to John Hughes who was one of the most influential writers/directors/producers of that period in time. So all in all it is a very nice tribute.
Special Feature Part 1: John Hughes: The Voice of a Generation  [1080p] [1.78:1] [27:39] Here John Hughes [Writer/Director/Producer] basically stars talking about his childhood days and how his parents were very strict in not allowing John to go to the cinema and says, “John, why would you want to go and sit in a darken room, which a bunch of people you do not know watching something on a Saturday where it is sunny and instead you could be cleaning out the garage.” We get lots of input from people praising John Hughes who have been involved in his films and tell us that John Hughes is a fun guy to work with, who is also a very funny guy. But they also inform us that there was another side to John’s personality in being very complicated, very quiet, but 98% of the time he was very positive in his outlook, as well as upbeat, but sadly he smoked too many cigarettes, but overall John was a great force of nature. But what John wanted out of life is to be accepted as a writer, as that was his goal in life in general, and what started his career off was writing for the National Lampoon publication and that is how he was recognised for his multitude of talents, which John found to be a very liberating experience. What they say about John Hughes is that he was very knowledgeable and how he soaked up so much information and the things he experience when meeting people, who he found fascinating and would file information away for future projects, especially when writing scripts and then of course he would then incorporate all that information that happened to him. They also say John was a very good listener, especially with interesting people who would talk to him, and so making him have a writer’s brain. John Hughes talks about his relationship with his actors and a look into his writing style and methods. It also recounts his difficulties of working in Hollywood and his departure from the industry and his eventual unfortunate death. At the end of this special feature we get a final word from John Hughes, where he says, “There are characters in my films that people can relate to, but most important, let’s have fun.” Finally, when you get to see the individual interviews with John Hughes sitting on his own and the quality if the video is absolutely atrocious and cannot understand why it is so bad compared to all the other interviews. Contributors include Howard Deutch [Director of ‘Pretty in Pink’ and Some Kind of Wonderful’], Matthew Broderick [Ferris Bueller in ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’], Lauren Shuler Donner [Producer of ‘Mr. Mom’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’], Jon Cryer [Duckie in ‘Pretty in Pink’], Marilyn Vance [Costume Designer], Matty Simmons [Producer for National Lampoon], Lea Thompson [Amanda Jones in ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’], Alan Ruck [Cameron in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’], Mia Sara [Sloane in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’], John Candy [Del Griffith in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’], Eric Stoltz [Keith in ‘Some Kind of Wonderful] and Mary Stuart Masterson [Watts in ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’].
Special Feature Part 2: Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes  [1080p] [1.78:1] [25:52] This is of course a follow up and extension to the previous special feature, but with this one they concentrated and go into great detail on his films that he was personally involved when he did the screenplay, was the producer and of course being the director, and especially all the actors that appeared in his films. We find out that John Hughes was a massive music nerd and loved the British “Sound” which of course he used in his films, especially the film ‘Pretty in Pink,’ and was a pivotal part of any of his films, and in doing so, having the songs in his films, launched these Groups to be a big success in America. We find out that John Hughes was getting very disillusioned with the film industry and wanted to pursue other projects, like buying a massive plot of land just outside of Chicago and raising 18th Century cattle, and also built an amazing property and was very ahead in green projects and planted hundreds of trees. Despite John Hughes turning his back on the film industry, he would still keep his hand in writing loads of scripts, lots of books and also diaries. Sadly of course he sadly passed away and everyone who spoke in these special features, were very sad of the loss with him not being around anymore and a great loss to the film industry. A lot of what you viewed in the previous special feature, and sometimes information gets repeated in this special feature. Finally, once again when you get to see the individual interviews with John Hughes sitting on his own and the quality if the video is absolutely atrocious and cannot understand why it is so bad compared to all the other interviews. On top of all that, for some unknown reason the lip sync is way out of alignment and cannot understand why this has happened, as it is an extension to the previous special feature and recorded at the same time. Contributors include Howard Deutch [Director of ‘Pretty in Pink’ and Some Kind of Wonderful’], Marilyn Vance [Costume Designer], Lauren Shuler Donner [Producer of ‘Mr. Mom’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’], Jon Cryer [Duckie in ‘Pretty in Pink’], Alan Ruck [Cameron in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’], Matty Simmons [Producer for National Lampoon], Lea Thompson [Amanda Jones in ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’], Matthew Broderick [Ferris Bueller in ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’], Jennifer Grey [Jenie Bueller in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’], Mia Sara [Sloane in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’], Kevin Bacon [Actor], Andrew McCarthy [Blane in ‘Pretty in Pink’] and Steve Martin [Neal Page in Planes, Trains and Automobiles’]. Both features are totally worth the time viewing and especially since John Hughes passed away in 2009, this is a very fitting replacement for not having a director’s audio commentary.
Special Feature: John Hughes for Adults  [480i] [1.33:1] [4:02] Originally John Hughes was pigeon-holed as a writer/director for teenager films, and this special feature explores John Hughes foray into adult themed genre films and his style of bringing characters to his films. We also find out that John Hughes would keep the camera rolling just to capture the right mood for the scene he is filming. We also hear that all the actors that were in his films and were very honoured to be part of the film. So all in all, despite this was a very nice short feature and a sort of extension to the other two special features. Contributors include Kevin Bacon [Taxi Racer], Jane Jenkins [Casting Director], and Janet Hirshenson [Casting Director].
Special Feature: A Tribute to John Candy  [480i] [1.33:1] [3:00] Here we get a great dedication for John Candy and we get to hear comments from past cast and crew members that worked with him and telling us of their fond recollection of him and his acting talent. They also say he was a comic genius, a great actor, a very nice person, as well as a great teddy bear, who they again feel that we have lost one of the biggest comedy talent that ever lived, but most important, John Candy would always give time to talk to you, that again is why they feel a great affection for John Candy [1950 – 1994] All in all we all really miss this big comedic guy! Contributors include Steve Martin [Neal Page], Michael McKean [State Trooper], Edie McClurg [Car Rental Agent], Janet Hirshenson [Casting Director] and Jane Jenkins [Casting Director].
Special Feature: Deleted Scene: Airplane Food  [1080p] [1.85:1] [3:00] Here we get to view the very funny sequence where you have John Candy sharing his extensive knowledge of airplane food that he would order with each flight he takes with different airlines and knew someone who prepared the food for the airlines and who had a terrible nasty accident, while Steve Martin looks at his plate in disgust and puts him off his food. This is a very funny sequence and cannot understand why it was deleted.
Finally, ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ is timeless and almost is always equally funny. Of the many road trip comedies out there, this film ranks up there among the very best. There is just something magical about the film ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES,’ something deep and heartfelt about the film ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ which is absolutely up there with one of John Hughes best films so far. It's funny, touching and has a stellar cast, all the way down to the many quickie cameos. ‘PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES’ has got to be a timeless comedy classic of its time that I know you will sure to enjoy if you are not easily offended, especially if you love zany, off-the-wall comedy. Steve Martin and the late John Candy share perfect chemistry here, and this is easily one of the late John Hughes best comedies, which is really saying something. The high-definition transfer is surprising great for a late 1980s release, and there are plenty of great special features to help keep the Blu-ray disc spinning long after the credits roll up the screen. Those looking for a fun holiday treat should definitely consider adding this Blu-ray to their collections, as you’re sure to have plenty of fun and lots of laughter watching this with your adult family members long after the holiday feast is over. Highly Recommended!
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