POP ART: Episode 33, Planes, Trains and Automobiles/Ballad of a Soldier

Howard Casner • September 10, 2021

“Those aren’t pillows!” We’ve all been there. We have to be somewhere. We only have a certain amount of time to get there. And when we try…we hit nothing but obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. That’s right. It sounds like the perfect time for Episode 33 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. For this episode, I am happy to welcome back a previous guest, film enthusiast and blogger movierob, who has chosen teen scene John Hughes’ first adult movie, the Steve Martin/John Candy farce, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and I have chosen the classic Russian antiwar film, Ballad of a Soldier, both films about characters trying to get someplace by a certain time, and find it, well, just a tad difficult. And in this episode, we answer such questions as: Why did Planes, Trains and Automobiles get an R rating? What did Ballad of a Soldier signify when it came to Russian films? What was the original ending of Planes, Trains…? Who is “one righteous dude”? How successful was Ballad of a Soldier? What does Planes, Trains… say about class in the US? What was the director of Ballad… able to get away with more than other Russian filmmakers?