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John Hughes
Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robbins
Writing Credits:
John Hughes

A man struggles to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Box Office:
$15 million.
Opening Weekend:
$7,009,482 on 1118 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Dolby Vision
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Description
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Latin Spanish Dolby 1.0
Brazilian Portuguese Dolby 1.0
French Dolby 2.0
Italian Dolby 2.0
German Dolby 2.0
Latin Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese

Note: English Subtitles Only Disc Two Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $25.99
Release Date: 11/22/2022

• “Getting There Is Half the Fun” Featurette
• “John Hughes For Adults” Featurette
• “A Tribute to John Candy” Featurette
• “Life Moves Pretty Fast” Featurette
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Audition


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Planes, Trains and Automobiles [4K UHD] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 14, 2022)

Because this represents my sixth - ! – review of 1987’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I will forego the usual film discussion. If you care to peruse my extended thoughts, please click here.

To summarize: Planes, Trains and Automobiles offers a solidly funny and entertaining film - as long as it sticks with its stars. When Martin and Candy are set loose, the movie works wonderfully, and director Hughes has enough sense to let them act without too much interference.

Hughes could be rather cutesy and cloying, tendencies evident when we see Neal’s nauseatingly perfect family. Nonetheless, the enormous talent of the film’s stars overcome its director’s flaws to make Planes a fun and amusing effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Planes, Trains and Automobiles appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Inconsistency, thy name is this erratic Dolby Vision image.

Due to inconsistent use of grain/noise reduction, sharpness varied. The movie started terribly, as these techniques made the shots in Neal’s office look like we viewed them through frosted windows.

Once Neal left the building, though, the image improved – sometimes. Really, parts of the film worked quite well and brought nice delineation and accuracy.

However, too many others suffered from the aforementioned softness. While rarely as problematic as what I saw in Neal’s office, the noise reduction could strip the movie of detail and give it the plastic appearance typical of those techniques.

At least no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred. Edge haloes remained absent, and I saw no print flaws.

Colors appeared peppy and accurate throughout the movie. I thought the hues were clear and bright, and HDR added range and heft to the tones.

Black levels seemed deep, and shadow detail was fine. HDR brought extra emphasis to whites and contrast. Without the noise reduction, this could’ve been a top-notch image, but as it stood, I thought it was worth a “C+”.

At least I felt pleased by the high quality of the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. The soundfield was nicely involving and engaging, as the forward spectrum dominated and showed some very solid stereo imaging.

The music spread cleanly across the front speakers, and I also heard quite a lot of discrete usage of effects. Some really fun audio resulted from this, such as when the destroyed car toward the end of the film filled the forward spectrum with its rattling.

The surrounds contributed some solid sound as well. Mostly these instances involved various vehicles and they were fairly minor, but they added to the soundtrack’s impression.

Mostly it was the film’s music that was nicely reinforced in the rear. Clearly the soundfield didn’t compete with something from an action spectacular, but I thought it seemed strong nonetheless.

I also liked the quality of the audio. Dialogue occasionally betrayed some mild edginess and could also seem slightly flat at times, but for the most part speech appeared distinct and natural, with no issues related to intelligibility.

Effects were clean and realistic and showed no signs of distortion. The music - which mainly consisted of dated Eighties technopop but presented some more traditional variations as well - seemed clear and bright and displayed modest low end.

As a whole, the track lacked much deep bass, but I found the dynamics to seem fairly satisfying. In the end, I thought the soundtrack of Planes offered a nice surprise that surpassed what I’d expect from a 35-year-old comedy.

How did this 4K UHD compare to the original Blu-ray from 2012? Both came with identical audio.

As for the Dolby Vision image, it seemed cleaner and offered superior hues. Sharpness was occasionally superior, but given all the noise reduction, these peaks seemed inconsistent.

As did much of the image, which meant the 4K didn’t turn into the winner fans want. Still, I’d take it as a marginal improvement over the blah Blu-ray.

Note that a few reissues of the Blu-ray occurred over the last decade. All simply rehashed the same 2012 disc.

Some extras appear on the 4K disc. Getting There Is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains and Automobiles runs 16 minutes, 38 seconds as it provides comments from executive producer Neil Machlis, casting directors Jane Jenkins and Janet Hirshenson, and actors Michael McKean and Edie McClurg.

Writer/director John Hughes and actors Steve Martin and John Candy also appear via a 1987 press conference, and we hear from actor Kevin Bacon from the movie’s set.

“Fun” looks at the project’s origins and script, cast and performances, and a few other production thoughts. We learn a smattering of decent notes here, but don’t expect a great overview of the production.

The 1987 press conference offers most of the info, so we don’t find many retrospective thoughts. Though we learn some interesting tidbits, the show doesn’t excel.

Two more featurettes ensue. John Hughes For Adults lasts four minutes, one second and offers thoughts from McKean, Martin (from 1987), Hughes (from 1987), Machlis, Hirshenson, Jenkins, and Bacon (from 1987).

Hughes addresses his then-new “adult emphasis” while the others reflect on the director’s talents and methods. This is essentially just a minor tribute to the late director, so it doesn’t include much in the way of concrete info.

A Tribute to John Candy goes for three minutes and includes remarks from Martin (1987), McKean, McClurg, Hirshenson, and Jenkins.

They tell us how wonderfully Candy was. And I believe them, but that doesn’t make this an interesting piece.

Under John Hughes: Life Moves Pretty Fast, we find a two-part documentary that breaks into “The Voice of a Generation” (27:39) and “Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes” (25:51).

The reels include notes from Hughes, (archival), Martin (1987), Candy (1987), director Howard Deutch, producers Matty Simmons and Lauren Shuler Donner, costume designer Marilyn Vance, and actors Matthew Broderick, Jon Cryer, Lea Thompson, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara (1985), Eric Stoltz (1986), Mary Stuart Masterson (1986), Jennifer Grey (1986), Kevin Bacon (1987), and Andrew McCarthy (1985).

These cover Hughes’ life and career, with an emphasis on various aspects of his films. Created posthumously, one should expect a fair amount of praise and happy talk here.

Nonetheless, we still learn quite a lot about Hughes and get good insights into his work and themes. The shows move well and go over a lot of solid info, so they’re well worth watching.

More materials appear on an included Blu-ray disc. Note that it solely consists of extras and doesn’t provide the movie itself.

10 Deleted/Extended Scenes fill a total of one hour, 15 minutes, 27 seconds. Only two actual “deleted scenes” appear: “Airplane Food” (3:30) – which already appeared on prior releases – and “99 Bottles of Beer on the Bus” (1:26).

“Beer” offers Del’s attempt to keep spirits up on the bus ride – and Neal’s unhappy reaction. It’s funnier in theory than in reality, though the punchline at the end almost redeems it.

As for all those extended sequences, they tend to give us longer runs from Martin and Candy. We also see more of cabdriver Doobby and the pizza delivery kid who later breaks into the motel room.

A little drama shows up in a sequence where Neal’s wife Susan finds herself upset when she doesn’t get a call from her husband. This occurs in the existing scene where we see Neal try to dial a rotary phone with a lock on it.

In the extended version, Susan becomes convinced that Neal is having an affair – and the movie doesn’t play this for laughs. Hughes wisely cut this segment, as it doesn’t blend with the film’s tone at all.

Should one expect good comedy from the added bits? Yes.

Should the movie have retained them? No.

On discussion boards, fans fantasize about a super-long version of the film. People mistake the three-hour “rough cut” and believe that Hughes wanted to release a movie with one and a half hours more footage than the theatrical.

Of course, that’s insane. Planes makes sense at 92 minutes, but make it 180 minutes and it’d become a complete endurance test.

Anyway, this means that while the extra footage proves pretty enjoyable, I can’t claim any of it would’ve made the movie better. Less is often more with comedies, and a two-hour Planes would’ve become tedious.

Note that the added footage all looks pretty terrible, as it comes from an old VHS tape that belonged to John Hughes. Still, beggars/choosers and all that, so fans will gladly accept ugly quality to see the cut material.

Disc Two also brings an audition that runs three minutes, 34 seconds. We see Dylan Baker’s tryout video for Owen, the role he eventually got. It seems like a fun addition, especially since we see a couple of different approaches to the role that Baker attempted.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles succeeds largely due to the chemistry of its two stars. For all his faults, director John Hughes usually had the sense to get out of the way and not interfere with their interactions.

The 4K UHD delivers surprisingly strong audio and a nice set of supplements but visuals appear inconsistent and disappoint. Fans will likely want this disc for the 75 minutes of deleted footage, but 4K owners will find themselves let down again by an erratic image.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main