Plains Trains and Automobiles is kind of personal to me, because it reminds me of a guy I grew up with. If he were to ever read this post would probably know this is about him, even if I never tell him about this post. But the Dell Griffith character played by John Candy, reminds me of my friend who I grew up with. The overbearing, but kindhearted guy who always screws up and just doesn’t screw up for himself, but makes mistakes that affects other people, including people he cares about.
Neal Paige played by Steve Martin, a Chicago advertising man who has business in New York City right before the Thanksgiving holiday in 1987. But finishes that and is now headed back to Chicago. But runs into all sorts of issues just trying to get back to Chicago from New York. Which is only about a two-hour flight. But he has trouble just getting to the airport in New York because Del Griffith unknowingly steals his cab.
Neal runs into Del again at the airport at the gate while they are waiting for the flight to Chicago and of course not only is the flight delayed, but they happen to be on the same flight and sitting in the same coach seating section. But Neal is only in coach because he gets bumped from first class by the head stewardess. But it only gets worst because he is now not only in coach instead of first class, but in the middle seat with obnoxious an asshole in Dell who won’t shut up, except when he falls asleep on Neal.
But like I said it only gets worst for Neal. Because Chicago is going through another bad snowstorm even in November and the New York flight can’t land in Chicago, or even in Milwaukee which is just about a hundred miles north of Chicago. They can’t land in Minneapolis or even St. Louis which are just about a four-hour drive from Chicago and a half-hour flight because of the snowstorm. They have to land in Wichita, Kansas, which is closer to Kansas City than St. Louis.
So now Neal and Del decide to get back to Chicago from Wichita together and having to use other transportation than a plane to do that. They do it together because Del has these connections with these transportation services and Neal has the money to finance these trips. But it is just one screwup after another. Like their train breaking down about an hour outside of St. Louis. They breakup temporarily in St. Louis, but get back together because Neal is unable to rent a car to drive from St. Louis to Chicago and Dell is and you need to see that scene to see why for yourself.
This is a great movie especially if you are someone who actually enjoys holiday movies. But if you are someone who tends to see holiday movies as cheesy, you’ll like this movie as well. Because it is not about what families do together over the holidays, but what some people have to do just to get home in time for them and a great look at how stressful just traveling during the holiday can be. Plus this is one of the funniest moves you could possibly ever see as well.