Friday, November 21, 2014

Stranger Danger

 Neal Page is having a bad day. His goal is to get home in time for Thanksgiving, but he just can't seem to get there...
In the hilarious comedy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Neal Page is in New York City, ready to catch his flight home. But first he must take a cab, and in the blink of an eye, Del Griffith, a shower curtain ring salesman, "steals" it from him. So much for catching his flight on time. When he finally gets to the airport, he disappointingly finds out that he is taking the same flight as Del, whom he already holds a grudge with. Arguing with the flight attendant, he ends up getting sent to the coach seats on the plane, and guess who he is next to? None other than Del Griffith. 
The whole time he is there, Del is obnoxious. Neal, being the uptight business man that he is, was in no mood to talk to anyone, yet Del keeps running his mouth. Aside from that, his large frame squeezes Neal's slim body into the middle seat. This is going to be a long ride...

The journey is perpetuated when the flight gets diverted to Wichita, Kansas, and Neal scrambles to find a hotel room. This reminded me a lot of Home Alone [interestingly the writer-director of PTaA John Hughes also wrote Home Alone, and the exterior shots of the MacAllistor Chicago home and Neal's house are one in the same; excellent observation/connection Malik], when Kevin's mother vainly attempted to get a flight back home once she discovered that he had been left all by himself. I find it interesting that these movies' plots are polar opposites: in this movie, the main character (Neal) is trying to get back home to his family, and in Home Alone, the family is trying to get back to the main character (Kevin).

But the two films share one similarity: it took a while for each of the families to be reunited.

Since all hotels were booked, Del offered Neal to stay in his room, and of course, he had no other choice but to. Unsurprisingly, he quickly became annoyed at Del's personality. He had terrible hygiene, smoked, and snored obnoxiously as he slept. Oh, did I mention that they shared a queen size bed? Yeah, it wasn't pretty.

Neal eventually reached his breaking point, and yelled at Del for his annoying behavior. Del was on the verge of crying, and he asserted that he was not going to change. He liked who he was, and so did his family. Predictably, the hostility settled after a while, and the two men became semi-friends (frenemies). As they were sleeping, a woman had come into the room, and stole the money out of both of their wallets. Neal had over $700 with him, and Del had over $200. Neal accused Del of stealing his cash, but he sound found out that he was wrong. Del really wasn't a bad person - he was unintentionally obnoxious. He would never steal anything from Neal; he unknowingly "stole" the cab back in NYC by accident.

Despite their financial loss, the Neal and Del hitched a ride to the train, which would take them back to their families in Chicago. Unexpectedly, the train broke down. Once again, so much for getting home to his family for the holiday. Let's try Plan C: a Trailways bus. Fun.

The title of this movie is very deceiving: it sounds boring, but in reality, it is not. As soon as I heard it, I assumed that this would literally be a documentary about planes, trains, and automobiles. But it turned out to be a hilarious 1987 comedy. Thanks Mr. Monahan [You are most welcome; it is a pleasure to have you as a part of MBA's film studies]

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