Friday, August 03, 2012

Penny Thoughts '12 - Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) ****

R, 98 min.
Director/Writer: John Hughes
Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robbins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker, Carol Bruce, Olivia Burnette, Diana Douglas, Mrtin Ferrero, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Susan Kellermann, Matthew Lawrence, Eddie McClurg 

I was almost sad to report that I have no new post for today. When I began this daily movie endeavor, I had high hopes that a day wouldn't come when I didn't have a movie to talk about. It really isn't a surprise that my movieless day would come in the first year of the daily features, however. I have yet to fully establish how this routine will work from week to week and day to day. I knew I watched enough movies to pull it off. I'm often stacked up with reviews days in advance. However, this week an unfortunate series of events ran my well dry. 

It wasn't really that unfortunate, but it was totally unforeseeable. I went on vacation last week to visit my family in my home state of Maine. I went into my trip with a few reviews in the can. I knew my wife and I would take advantage of my mother's free babysitting for a date night to see "The Watch". Don't worry, that was the least of what the date consisted of. I figured I'd watch another movie or two with the fam at some point during the week. Plus, I had internet access so I could take advantage of Netflix Instant on an evening when everybody else decided to turn in early. 

My plan was solid. I had enough reviews to cover me until our return date. I figured everyone would be wiped out the evening we got home and I'd get a chance to start filling my clean slate once again almost as soon as we got home. Then, our flight home was canceled. We discovered this just moments before settling in for the night, which would consist of me streaming a movie on my laptop as my wife snoozed next to me. As it turns out, we spent the next couple of hours trying to get rebooked on a new flight. We were successful, and were able to go to sleep in comfort, but a movie was out.

So, we get to the airport the next morning to check in and discover that the airline did not assign us the seats they requested. We even paid extra for two of them. We didn't feel that any of our children--the oldest 10 years, the youngest 4 years--should have to sit at the back of the plane by themselves. The airline employees were indifferent. We made a stink and they decided we should at least sit together.

By the time we were finished with that fiasco, it was about time to board the plane. We arrived at the gate, only to find that the flight had been delayed just enough to make us miss our connection. We didn't get on board and worked with the airline's one helpful employee for about an hour to get us on a flight that had us waiting in the Portland International Jetport for four more hours and then boarding a plane to Washington, DC, where we would have to switch to a plane going to Charlotte, NC, where we could finally board a plane to Kansas City, where we would arrive after only twelve hours of travel to look forward to a two hour drive home. Well, we'd be home at least without extending our vacation. 

3:00 rolls around. Our flight is delayed for an hour. That's OK, though, because we have two hours to make our first connection. Now, we have one hour. 4:00 rolls around. Our flight is delayed another hour. Really???!!! 

So, now we start the whole process of rearranging our flights all over again. There's an option to get us out that evening, but it's not a good one. We decide to circle our wagons, and head back to my mom's house. The guy books us on a flight the next morning with only one layover in Charlotte. We're sitting together for our Charlotte to KC leg, and the ticketing agent is very specific about pointing this out to Angie. But, for the first leg he just kind of hands her the tickets and doesn't make any effort to show her where we're sitting. She says, "Wait a minute," and this jerk acts like it's not his problem. "Deal with it when you check in." Nice.

Of course, that means we still need to rent a car. The people at National/Alamo were very helpful in getting us a better car than we paid for and a car seat for free. Thank you.

We return to PWM the next morning. Ang goes to the ticketing counter. They tell her they can't fix it there, so we have to go to the gate. Ang walks up to the gate agent and points out the problem that not one of us is sitting anywhere near anyone else in our party with three kids. His response, "You should've got here sooner." Not the right thing to say to my wife at that moment. A litany of complaints begins to spew out of her mouth at a dizzying rate. She suggests she just hands our four-year-old to a stranger on the plane and say, "Here you go! Good Luck!"

The female employee sees the eruption begin and suggests to her insensitive co-worker that they switch posts. She taps away at her computer and finds some seats that are filled but located near a couple of the seats we already have. She gets on the intercom and calls a couple of passengers to the desk and politely asks them if they might mind switching seats. A young couple walks up to us and offers their seats. They aren't where we need them, but we offer our thanks for their understanding. After only a few minutes the problem is solved. Was that so hard, Mr. You Should've Got Here Earlier. We were only there for twelve hours the day before, but that wasn't early enough.

So anyway, we got home. I only needed a movie for Friday's post. I thought I could get it in after Ang went to bed, but I was asleep by 9:30. And so, Friday arrives and I don't have a movie to post. My real problem is that I insist on watching a movie fresh for each post. I've seen enough movies in my life time, I really could talk about any of them. Heck, my Penny Thoughts format doesn't even necessitate that a discuss the movie I'm featuring, only something related to it. Well, I think this story relates just wonderfully to the excellent John Hughes comedy "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" with Steve Martin and John Candy experiencing all the pleasures of cross country travel. To get a clearer impression of my last two days, check it out.

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