Looking for some respite from a busy day of cooking? Look no further than these two family-friendly holiday classics, Chicken Run and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
Made by the Aardman Animation team, responsible for the brilliant Wallace and Gromit series, Chicken Run follows the trials and tribulations of a close-knit chicken coop as they repeatedly attempt to escape their confines. It’s a race against the clock as their evil, down on their luck owners, Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy, assemble a Chicken Pie-making machine in preparation for a transition away from farming eggs into killing chickens. The animation is incredible with astonishing attention to detail. With an awesome cast, including Julie Sawalha, Tony Haygarth, Miranda Richardson, and everyone’s favorite celebrity bigot, Mel Gibson (who surprisingly steals the show), this Great Escape-referencing adventure is a perfect film for kids and adults.
If animation isn’t your thing, perhaps John Hughes’ heart-warming classic Planes, Trains & Automobiles is. Like the preparation for Thanksgiving itself, this film is a hectic adventure that ends with a tremendously satisfying payoff. The movie follows uptight advertising executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) as he attempts to get from his office in New York to his home in Chicago in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Along the way, he crosses paths with the loveably incompetent bull in a china shop, Del Griffith (John Candy). As the title indicates, the two run into a series of hilarious misfortunes as they struggle to get home through a variety of failed modes of transit and unpleasant motel stays.
Breaking away from the teen comedies he was known for, John Hughes showed audiences that his brand of angsty but heartfelt comedy could translate to other platforms and other types of characters. Steve Martin is in his prime here, with a certain edge that unfortunately has faded away as his career has progressed. Though the movie is loaded with great cameos – Kevin Bacon, Larry Hankin, Edie McClurg, Ben Stein, and Michael McKean – the real reason to see this movie is for the larger than life John Candy (rest in peace). Seamlessly transitioning between making you laugh hysterically and pulling on your heartstrings, Candy could do it all: He truly was a once in a lifetime talent.
Chicken Run screens Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23, 11am, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. The movie is free and (quiet) children age 3 and over will be admitted; seating is first-come, first-served.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles screens Thursday, Nov. 22 through Saturday, Nov. 24, 4pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Village, Alamo Lake Creek, and Alamo Slaughter Lane; 18 & up (Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian). Check showtimes before arriving at theatre.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles also screens Friday, No. 23, 7pm, at the Blue Starlite Drive-In at Austin Studios.
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