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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Take a Trip with Steve Martin and John Candy


We've talked about holiday movies at Popculturology before. You might even remember our big holiday post last year where we counted down our favorite holiday movies of all time. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles makes me feel bad for not including it on my list last year. Steve Martin and John Candy are two polar opposites who find themselves stuck together in their hilarious race home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. The movie is certainly funny, but it also has a great deal of heart. Although it's unfortunate Candy was gone much too soon, we were left with movie that's timeless.

Quick summary: Martin as Neal Page plays a marketing executive that meets up with Candy's Del Griffith after unknowingly stealing Neal's cab. Candy always seems to play characters who talks a lot  — this movie is no exception. As a character who always seems to find the good in every miserable situation, Del neglects to see the patten of him causing just about everything from Neal missing his taxi to lighting their rental car (that Neal paid for) on fire. Neal carries himself like he is more important than Del throughout the movie, and it's perhaps the reason why fate decides to put Neal through a series of events that makes him much more humble by the end of their adventure. Del is agonizingly hard to deal with, but Neal ends up sticking with him until the end as the two guys form a unique friendship. Throughout the movie, we realize that the two are not heading home to see their respective families. Del's main purpose is to find some relief from the years of loneliness he's had from losing his wife many years ago. Neal realizes this at the end and brings him home to meet his wife and kids. Hard not to like Del by the end of the movie.

Now my favorite parts of the movie.



Neal and Del find themselves forced to share not just a hotel room for the night during their trip home to Chicago — they share a vibrating bed. In what's supposed to be an unfortunate circumstance turns into the two of them spooning until morning. Neal then goes to the bathroom to wash his face with Del's tighty whities.



I mentioned the car on fire, but never mentioned how. Here's why: As Neal tries to take his coat off while driving, he gets it stuck in the seat and ends up driving with his knees and spinning off the road. Naturally, he starts driving in the wrong direction. Hilarity ensues. As they find themselves picking their stuff from off the road after managing to navigate between two trucks, the car lights on fire. More amazingly, the car still runs after this ordeal. Hopefully they bought insurance. 

But then there's the end of the movie that I also referenced earlier. With all that Neal has been though in the seemingly endless trip home, he comes to realization that Del has been through much worse with the loss of his wife. Neal gets to go home and see his kids and wife, but Del has no where to go. In spite of this, Del remains resilient and optimistic about his future whatever it may be. I won't spoil the end with a clip — go see it for yourselves.

It's really hard to believe that the same person who came up with the stories for Drillbit Taylor and Maid in Manhattan also wrote this movie. John Hughes, however, has made plenty of memorable movies that make all of his duds seem like they never happened. The older National Lampoon movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club and Home Alone (don't count the third one — that goes on the dud list) are just some of the classics he's written over the years. Although Thanksgiving has come and gone, take some time this holiday season to throw in another Hughes masterpiece. It won't be the only time you see this one I'm sure.
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Take a Trip with Steve Martin and John Candy Reviewed by Anton Ali on 12/11/2013 Rating: 5

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