This is often said that this is the quintessential Thanksgiving movie. That may be true, though that's probably because there's a limited number of Thanksgiving movies. But is this a great film to think about when you think about Thanksgiving? My answer is yes.
For his part, Steve Martin gives a great comedic performance as a man who is willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to get back to his family for Thanksgiving. His character basically goes through a cold hell in order to get back home. This character basically exists to have every possible misery enforced on him, so that when he gets home he looks back and says, "All of that trouble was worth it to get home." And that makes the ending all the more touching.
John Candy on the other hand gives a performance that leans both towards the big lovable oaf who doesn't know how to take a hint, and a kind broken soul who is always trying to look on the bright side of life. His character basically represents the people that despite personal problems have things to be thankful for.
Together these two make a brilliant comedy duo. John Candy and Steve Martin both bounce off of each other perfectly, and even though their total opposites. Then you have both of them learning a lesson, John Candy teaching Steve Martin to loosen up a little bit, and Steve Martin teaching John Candy about appreciating life and how even in the worst of circumstances, there's always something to be thankful for. I think this is what makes the film work, and is why it's the film everyone thinks about when they think of Thanksgiving. It's a message that is relevant not only on Thanksgiving, but a message that rings true all year round.
Do I have any problems with the film? Yes, but they're only nitpicky things that in my opinion aren't even worth bringing up. Their just enough to bring it down to a 9, but this doesn't change the fact that this is an absolutely hilarious and heartwarming motion picture that can be watched not just on Thanksgiving, but all year round. This film will one day be a classic, if it isn't all ready. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe yourself a favor to find it and watch it. Enjoy, and you're welcome.