Sunday, December 13, 2009

If You Can't Step Away From The Screen (Vol. 5)

My taste in holiday movies occupies a broad range -- if anyone can top It's A Wonderful Life to Bad Santa, let me know. (Movies starring any member of Tiger Woods' harem do not count.)

One of my favorites features few traditional holiday trappings, focusing more on the human motivations and interactions -- expected and unexpected -- that make holidays worth preparing for and experiencing. A standard-issue professional on a business trip, played by Steve Martin, strives to reach his unexpectedly elusive home for Thanksgiving, helped and hindered by a more complicated and roadwise traveling salesman, played by John Candy.

Martin's character reminds me why I want to be home for holidays; Candy's reminds me why a younger me volunteered to work on holidays. Together -- it is almost purely a two-man show -- they generate laughter (several transcendental scenes and, I'd wager, ample ad-libbing) and unexpected insight (writer and director: John Landis). Suitable for the family, although not as airbrushed as much of Landis' work, and scheduled for the TV Land channel on December 18, beginning at 9 p.m., from 1989: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

No comments: