Even though Planes, Trains and Automobiles was one of the biggest movies of the ‘80s, and was partially filmed in my hometown, where almost no movies are ever made, I had never seen it. I didn’t even know it was a thanksgiving movie until someone mentioned that to me last year at Thanksgiving.
This is very much and artifact of the ‘80s with a cheesy Casio keyboard soundtrack, and made-for-Hollywood stock characters, such as a Witchita taxi driver with shag carpet on his dashboard and a pickup truck driving hick. But this was made back when Steve Martin was still marginally funny (though this was soon to come to an end), and John Candy was at his peak. Candy was born to play this role of a well-meaning but obnoxious shower curtain ring salesman who is thrown together with arrogant advertising exec (Martin) on a hellish trip home for Thanksgiving. Only Candy could have pulled off an hour and twenty minutes of pure comedy, with ten minutes of drama at the end.