The late and great John Hughes, for many of a certain age, was able to capture the essence of what it was like to be a teenager in the ’80s – or at least distill what it felt like to be growing up in that era. In my early teens… without any friends and having no social life to speak of – there were many films that I saw that I just assumed was what a normal teenager was experiencing in those days. A few of those were courtesy of Hughes – who brought us 1984’s Sixteen Candles, a year later there was The Breakfast Club, and of course 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The latter perhaps exemplifies how my High School years truly were – especially my Senior year… minus the beautiful on-screen kiss at the Chicago Art Institute and the moving instrumental version of The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” – or the near cosmic understanding of my self while looking at Georges Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”. Besides the absence of those three elements it FELT my Life was very much like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – and while I may have believed I was Ferris… the truth is I was more Cameron Frye.
As I’ve already said, John Hughes was able to capture what it felt like growing up in the ’80s. In total he Directed eight films and when he passed away at the far too young age of 59, back in 2009 – he had 51 writing credits to his name. Hughes yet again was able to tap into or represent the culture of youth but that doesn’t mean he shied away from what it felt like to be an adult too. Whether that be with 1983’s Mr. Mom, 1987’s Planes, Trains & Automobiles, 1989’s Uncle Buck, or even 1991’s oft-overlooked Dutch. But since today is Thanksgiving, one of the films I always attempt to watch on this Holiday is of course Planes, Trains & Automobiles. A comedic and yet poignant masterpiece – Produced, Directed, as well as written by John Hughes.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Planes, Trains & Automobiles before – you owe it to yourself to try and check it out. It stars the esteemed Steve Martin as Neal Page, an advertising account executive who after a trip to New York City must attempt to return back home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. Fate has other plans for Page however as he crosses paths with Del Griffith who appears to be a walking and talking disaster for Page’s Holiday travel plans – and was played by the equally late and great John Candy. Like many of John Hughes films, I have found there is an incredible amount of heart to them – Planes, Trains & Automobiles is no exception. I find the film to be a Thanksgiving masterpiece not just because of the comedy – and there is a ton of it – but for it’s simple and reaffirming message about people… even with all of their foibles, especially when presented in a comedic light.
So I truly hope you are having an absolutely fantastic Holiday and I very much hope it’s with your Friends and Family. If you are looking for that perfect film to catch later today – check out Planes, Trains & Automobiles – but you don’t have to take my word for it, listen to what the Retroist has to say about it.