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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:39 pm    Post subject: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Reply with quote #49426

In time for Thanksgiving, one of my favorite movies...even though I'm Canadian and our Thanksgiving does not compare to the American one.

Blake breaks down the movie in GTTM and I'd like to add a few thoughts, mostly for the sake of showing how a story can succeed even with a couple of soft beats, how some beats still work even when they're off their marks so to speak, and to breakdown Act III. No argument about it being Buddy Fleece!


Break Into Act II: Blake says it's when Neal (Steve Martin) and Del (John Candy) ride in the Taxiola...after the flights are cancelled and Neal takes up Del's offer to stay in a motel. Thing is, this happens around 14 minutes in! While this can be viewed as the start of Neal in the "upside down world" of Del, it seems easier to think of the Break Into Act II as the moment when the guys are robbed, around 28 minutes in. Before this, Neal's time with Del is supposed to be just for the night and the robbery makes him lean on Del for help.

That means The Debate section asks the question, "Will Neal tolerate Del and life outside his usual one?" The whole movie, beginning with the motel, has Neal fluctuating between wanting or needing Del's help and trying to separate from him.

Midpoint: Blake says it's a False Victory when Del raises money from selling his shower curtain rings. However, that happens 43 minutes in. What feels more precise as the Midpoint is at 50 minutes when Neal asks for a cab at the airport taxi stand (after failing to get a rental car) and instead gets a punch from the man at the stand. It's a False Defeat as Neal has no money, no credit card, and we anyway assume a cabbie wouldn't drive hours from St. Louis to Chicago on the promise of being paid there. Lo and behold, it's not a true defeat because Del comes to the rescue in a car he managed to rent.

This is also a turn in the relationship because now Neal needs Del, whereas until this point Del's help is more about convenience (as when Neal doesn't want to sleep in the airport and takes up Del's motel offer).

AIL: Blake says it's when Del drives in the wrong direction on the highway and almost gets them killed, with the "whiff of death" of Del appearing as the Devil. However, the whiff is 61 minutes in so I see it as an odor-free moment and part of BGCI.

A few minutes later at 67, the car catches on fire and this has the looks of AIL, but in the very next scene the guys drive the charred vehicle to a motel. That tells me it's still BGCI. What feels most like AIL is at 69, when Neal gets a motel room and Del does not. It's a False Victory for Neal as he gets away from Del and it's also the first time Del truly suffers. It's not an actual victory because getting home is still a challenge with that vehicle.

(I first saw the Midpoint-AIL and Defeat-Victory dynamic in a different way, but the above feels best even though it and the original thought are not as smooth or dramatic as most movies.)

DNOTS: As in GTTM.

Act III: Also as in GTTM, but that was before Blake revealed the Five-Point Finale in his last book, Strikes Back, and it's worthwhile to see how even a short Act III in a simple story has the FPF.

While the Gathering Of The Team isn't literal as Neal and Del are already together, it still applies as this is the first time Neal and Del travel in harmony. Executing The Plan happens as a cop pulls them over and impounds the car, yet Neal and Del remain friendly and finish the trip in the back of a semi truck. Neal gets on the subway, is glad to finally rid himself of Del, and The High Tower Surprise is moments later when he realizes there's something about Del's wife. The all-important Dig Deep Down is Neal returning to the subway station- he was home free and could've continued his life without Del- but he learns the lesson and acts on it. Executing The New Plan is Synthesis Neal bringing Del to his home for Thanksgiving.


Thoughts?


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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #49441

Might as well mention the original thought about the Midpoint-AIL, that the burning of the car at 67 is the AIL. Though the guys drive the charred vehicle in the following scene, we assume it won't survive the trip to Chicago (and, sure enough, a cop later stops them). So that's a False Defeat and it fits the idea that the AIL is about the A Story. Yet the Midpoint is also a False Defeat as I don't see anything around 50-60 that counts as a False Victory for Neal. Not a critcism, consider this perspective as an exception to the guideline.


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Rachel T.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #49442

I haven't seen the movie (!) but, from your description, it sounds like the soft Debate/Act 2 section, and maybe a few of the others, could be explained by the Buddy Love beats (as opposed to the stronger, "road trip Fleece" beats).



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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #49443

Quote:
I haven't seen the movie


??? John Hughes, Steve Martin, John Candy in a rare great role...and it's worthy of a beat sheet in GTTM! Until you see it, may Del spend every moment with you!

Yup, there are movies where a beat is more about the B Story than A, though I haven't made notes about them so no others come to mind at the moment. It would be the case here if one says the AIL is Neal getting the motel while Del does not.


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William
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #49447

I am thinking Buddy Fleece.

I think I heard Blake in a podcast actually say this film was a buddy fleece.



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lipplog
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Reply with quote #50098

RobbRoss wrote:
the Break Into Act II as the moment when the guys are robbed, around 28 minutes in. Before this, Neal's time with Del is supposed to be just for the night and the robbery makes him lean on Del for help.


"The protagonist can't be lured, tricked, or drift into Act Two. He must make the decision himself."

When Steve and John learn they've been robbed, Steve doesn't make any decision he hasn't already made. He's been in the REALM OF THE ANTAGONIST for several scenes already. Getting robbed simply gets him in deeper.

John Hughes films are almost always about class. This one is about an upper middle class gentleman who gets stuck in the world of a lower middle class slob. That's why the CATALYST is Steve getting bumped from first class to coach class. His privileged world has been disrupted.

At 14:30, Steve gets the CALL TO ADVENTURE when John invites him to leave the airport and get a motel room.

At 14:40, the DEBATE begins with Steve's hesitation, and ends when he sees the businessman sleeping on the floor.

At 14:45, Steve ACCEPTS THE CALL TO ADVENTURE by saying "Yes." And before we even cut, the Upside-Down world begins with a pre-lap guitar riff over Steve's uptight, upper-class face.

At 15:01, we BREAK INTO TWO with Steve is in the cheesy limo, with the crass hard rock guitar blasting in his delicate ears. Steve listens with silent superiority as John chats it up with the working class desk clerk, and shudders at the thought of having to share a bed. Steve is in middle-class hell.

At 23:00, we hit the B STORY when Steve snaps and lashes out at Candy, and all his snobby frustrations are finally released.


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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #50102

Is it your own thought to view the movie as a Hero's Journey or is it based on someone's analysis? There are some similarities to Buddy Fleece and many other movies, but at first glance HJ doesn't encompass everything in Planes.

Quote:
When Steve and John learn they've been robbed, Steve doesn't make any decision he hasn't already made.


Yes, he does. The decision to go to the motel with Del is just for a night. It's supposed to be in and out and then never see Del again. The robbery is a turn that changes things and, while Neal can technically decide to go on his own (as he tries later a couple of times), here he makes the largely obvious decision to travel with Del. The taxi and motel are like a taste of the Upside Down world and here Neal fully enters it.

Quote:
At 14:40, the DEBATE begins with Steve's hesitation, and ends when he sees the businessman sleeping on the floor.


A five-second bit is one moment of the Debate, not the beginning and end of it.

Quote:
At 15:01, we BREAK INTO TWO with Steve is in the cheesy limo

This doesn't sway the feeling that Act II starts at 28 after the robbery. Is there any other movie where Act II starts at 15? While there are exceptions to most everything, just the thought of 'Act II at 15' should tell one to consider other moments.


Agree about the class. I didn't get into it because Blake does and I recall him pointing out how Steve's attire changes from overcoat and suit to country bumpkin.


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lipplog
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50244

RobbRoss wrote:
Is it your own thought to view the movie as a Hero's Journey or is it based on someone's analysis?


Nah, it's just my own personal shorthand. The Call To Adventure isn't the Catalyst, but the opportunity that arises as a result of the Catalyst. Refusing the call and meeting with the mentor are just different ways of describing the Debate.


RobbRoss wrote:
There are some similarities to Buddy Fleece and many other movies, but at first glance HJ doesn't encompass everything in Planes.


Yeah, I find that most movies have these Hero's Journey beats. Maybe not as prominent as in Golden Fleece movies, but they're usually there in some form or another.

While Blake really nailed the major beats of a movie, I feel like he missed a few sub-beats here and there. For example, what Sid Fields refers to as the First and Second Pinch Points. Interconnected beats in Act 2 that keep the protagonist on point. The First Pinch occurring during Fun and Games section, and the Second Pinch occurring between Bad Guys Close In and All Is Lost. I like to think that if Blake were still alive, he would have done for the second act what he did for the third act when he deconstructed the Finale into the Five Point finale.


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