Mea culpa. I was wrong, apparently. Earlier, I implied that Planes, Trains and Automobiles would be inconceivable as an entry in any list of “must see” movies. No sooner had I written that, though, then up popped Roger Ebert with a review of it as one of his Great Movies:
Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Some movies are obviously great. Others gradually thrust their greatness upon us. When “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” was released in 1987, I enjoyed it immensely, gave it a favorable review and moved on. But the movie continued to live in my memory. Like certain other popular entertainments (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” “E.T.,” “Casablanca”) it not only contained a universal theme, but also matched it with the right actors and story, so that it shrugged off the other movies of its kind and stood above them in a kind of perfection. This is the only movie our family watches as a custom, most every Thanksgiving… (via rogerebert.com :: Great Movies.)
No only is it – according to Ebert – a great movie, but it is also a particularly “Thanksgiving” movie, a genre which for me pretty much started and stopped with Home for the Holidays (1995), starring Holly Hunter.
I guess I’ll have to add it to the Fellini movies as films I need to rewatch. In fact, I think I’ll watch it this Thanksgiving – instead of La Strada. But I’ll keep Home for the Holidays in reserve, just in case.