Saturday, November 24, 2007
Planes, Trains & Automobiles on dvd
Del Griffith is one of the finest characters the late, wonderful John Candy played in his way too short life. Del is a traveling salesman who puts a picture of his wife, Marie, on every bedside table in every motel he stays in. He sells shower curtain rings, one of those products we just don't think about, but is such a part of our lives. I have the same rings I've used for 25 years and I don't think they are sold now. So many rings are difficult to open, and ease of opening is very important for being able to wash the curtain. I digress, I know, but it is to show that there are a million things like this in our lives. Little things like a good can opener, just the right desk wastebasket, the perfect pen.
The movie is 20 years old and there have been huge changes in those years. With the rise of the internet, I wonder if there are still traveling salesmen for such things as shower curtain rings. I think the Fuller Brush Man stopped coming door-to-door a long time ago. Twenty years ago our little area had no Walmart, no Lowe's, no Home Depot, no TJ Maxx. There were hometown hardware stores and building supply stores which may have sold the rings, but my guess is they were supplied by a man such as Del Griffith.
Steve Martin plays Neal Page, an upscale fellow in the advertising business. He's in a rush to get home for Thanksgiving because his boss has kept him too long at the office. He is very neat and clean and likes an orderly life. He accidentally runs into the aforementioned, Del, who is quite his opposite. Del is outgoing, a bit of a slob, and not driven, as Neal is. Opposites do not attract when it comes to sharing a motel room or sitting next to one another on an airplane. And of course that's where the fun begins. The movie is both slapstick and tender. We laugh and we wince and we feel great warmth. By the end of the movie both men have changed, and grown into better people than they were before this chance meeting. On the way there are many funny escapades and serious conversations.
Our family has watched this many, many times. It is a Thanksgiving tradition, and with the kids grown, Tom and I still watch it. Every time we see something new, and are fondly reminded of something old. Two favorite lines of Del's which I have in my quote book:
The finest line a man will walk is between success at work and success at home. I've got a motto: like your work, love your wife.
Go with the flow like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream.
The only caveat I will offer about this great movie is that there is one sequence you may want to fast forward, or turn down the volume if you have little ones at home. It is when Steve Martin's rental car is not where it is supposed to be and he must walk a long, long way back to the rental desk. He explodes, and says the "f" word, sixteen times and the agent says it once. Yes, I counted. :<)
And if you are one of those souls who sit and watch the credits, as I am, there is a reward at the end.