Planes, Trains & Automobile
1987
Dir: John Hughes
There are many stories about director John Hughes.

I like the one where he went into a studio meeting and pitched them three film ideas. Hughes was hot at the time, and the studio did not want him to take the ideas elsewhere. So they presented him with a contract on the spot: they offered him a development deal - develop the ideas into scripts, and they would pay him $500k per script. John Hughes agreed and signed. Then he reached into his briefcase, brought out the three completed scripts and asked for his $1.5m.

Or there's the story about Hughes grew to resent studio interference, and one time when a studio exec visited the set, he just sat down and waited patiently before the exec to leave before starting work again.

Or the story where John Hughes got stranded in Wichita while trying to get between New York and Chicago. It inspired 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles', which he wrote in three days.

John Hughes is dead, John Candy is dead, and looking at most of Steve Martin's films these days, the same is perhaps true of of his career.

But in this film, the three came together in a wonderful combination, and it remains as funny, sharp, and well-timed today as it ever did.

But of course, what ultimately one remembers is the human warmth and emotion behind it.
Even though this was a sharp move away from the Hughes teen angst films, he finds a way to say something about the pain and loneliness of human existence.

Paul Spurrier