Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scene Stealer: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles was on TV Wednesday on the eve of American Thanksgiving.  I can always count on seeing that movie at this time of year.  It remains one of my favourite John Hughes films and John Candy films.  The scene that stuck out for me after watching it this last time is the scene where Del Griffith (John Candy) is driving a rental car while Neal Page (Steve Martin) sleeps soundly in the passenger seat beside him.  “Mess Around” by Ray Charles comes on the radio and Del begins to rock out.  He transfers a lit cigarette from his hand to his mouth in between singing and playing air guitar across the dash and saxophone with no hands on the wheel.  At one point, he tosses his cigarette out a crack in the driver side window, but unbeknownst to Del, the cigarette actually falls in the backseat.  Oddly enough, Neal sleeps right through all of it. 


Having worked up a sweat rocking out, Del wants to take off his parka.  Rather than pull over to take his parka off, Del tries to remove it while driving.  He tries to pull one arm free, but his sleeve gets caught on a latch on the side of the seat.  He tries to jerk it free repeatedly, but to no avail.  He tries to free his other arm, but it, too, gets stuck on a seat latch.  With both arms tied up, Del starts steering the car with his knees.  He loses control, slams on the breaks and spins out.  The car goes circling round and round wildly until it finally comes to a stop.  Just then, Neal wakes up.  He’s completely oblivious to what’s happened.  Also, he and Del haven’t yet realized that there’s a lit cigarette in the backseat.  To make matters worse, Del unknowingly got turned around during the spinout, and in the next, equally memorable scene, winds up driving in the wrong direction on the freeway.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a great Thanksgiving movie and a wonderful comedy that is both a funny film and a heartwarming story about the random people we meet in life and the unlikely friendships that are forged.

4 comments:

  1. This is definitely my favorite scene of the movie. I never not laugh when Martin sees Candy as the devil as they drive headlong into the semis.

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    1. Great scene in a great film. I hadn't watched it for awhile and it was a nice treat seeing it again. It still makes me laugh aloud.

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  2. Fantastic scene and classic movie. Missed it this past Thanksgiving although last year I finally broke down and bought it just for Thanksgiving-viewing purposes. Thanksgiving is sorely underrepresented when it comes to movies but this flick pretty much single-handedly makes up for that.

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    1. It's a great holiday flick for sure, and a great all-around movie if you're looking to watch something for some good laughs.

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