Monday, May 03, 2010

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Car Rental Agent: [cheerfully] Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?
Neal: Yes.
Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?
Neal: You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosey, fucking, cheeks! Then you can give me a fucking automobile: a fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick! Four fucking wheels and a seat!
Car Rental Agent: I really don't care for the way you're speaking to me.
Neal: And I really don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn't fucking there. And I really didn't care to fucking walk down a fucking highway and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile in my fucking face. I want a fucking car RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement?
Neal: I threw it away.
Car Rental Agent: Oh boy.
Neal: Oh boy, what?
Car Rental Agent: You're fucked!
Because it was on TV, I decided to watch the 1987 film Planes Trains and Automobiles. I enjoyed the movie and it reminded me of one of my personality traits that I would like to change. Sometimes when you get stuck in a painfully awful travel delay or experience, or even when you are just having a bad day, you can be on edge and moody. That is certainly the case with Neal (Steve Martin) in . Neal gets repeatedly delayed in a desperate attempt to make it home for Thanksgiving through tough weather. He ends up getting stuck with the kind hearted but perhaps "overfriendly?" Del (John Candy). As we see in the quote above that goes on in the middle of the rental car scene, Neal is so angry and fed up with how horrific his situation is that he lets it get to him enough to take his anger out on others who aren't at fault, like the rental car clerk or Del. He is not necessarily a really bad guy, but he says some pretty bad things and acts like a jerk. I do this as well if I'm having a really, really bad day. Sometimes people just snap and lose a good conscious stream of thought for emotional reasons.

I would like to change this quality in myself, and by the end of the movie we see Neal start to change as well. He begins to open up to Del over time after many experiences that caused him to realize that he really was just being a jerk. It requires patience to deal with horrible situations, and patience may be something that people like Neal and I lack. One thing that is important to consider about tough situations like travel nightmares is the grand scheme of things. Neal thinks that his problem is the biggest thing in the world, and that others should be concerned about the fact that for once, he may not be able to enjoy the holiday in comfort with his family. There are plenty of people in the world who have it much tougher than he does having to miss one holiday. People are starving and are unfairly living in extreme poverty, so that is a thought that may help to keep things in perspective.

Overall, Neal and Del have some hilarious experiences, like their bunking troubles (see photo above.) The exchanges between the goofy and clumsy Del and the irritated and well-kept Neal make for some classic comedy. John Candy is a riot as usual. This is a great movie, and I highly recommend it.

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