Alphabet Challenge – Day ‘U’.
Today sees us shift back to 1989 and the world of writer / director John Hughes for the family comedy ‘Uncle Buck’.
In this film the late, great John Candy plays Buck Russell brother to Bob and uncle to Bob’s three children. Upon the news that Bob’s wife Cindy’s father has had a heart attack, they turn to Buck to come and look after the children whilst they visit Indianapolis.
The three children are made up of Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly), an angst ridden teenager (as is the way with Hughes’ work) and the younger siblings Miles (Macauley Culkin) and Maizy (Gaby Hoffman).
Quickly Buck finds himself not only dealing with the challenges of running a home, but also dealing with Tia and the challenges she creates for her uncle. It’s littered with some great comedy and memorable moments, especially when Buck takes to baking giant pancakes for his nephew’s birthday.
This film takes place on the later stage of Candy’s great run of comedy films through the late 1980’s that had included ‘Spaceballs’, ‘The Great Outdoors’, ‘Who’s Harry Crumb?’ and for me his greatest film – the 1987 ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, also by John Hughes.
This film also served to give Hughes the inspiration for what would become his most financially successful film – 1990’s ‘Home Alone’. A scene in Uncle Buck where Macauley is quizzing an adult through the letter box is rumoured to have given Hughes the idea for the film.
It may not be either Hughes’ or Candy’s best work but it is a good reminder of both to the late actor and directors contribution to cinema. In Hughes there was a master of the family comedy. Someone expert in telling stories in he relationships between children, teens and adults and in finding a balance between all groups.
In Candy there was a wonderfully talented comedic actor. Someone who could bring disarming charm to characters and beyond the comedy alone, could create very touching and moving moments (such as in Planes, Trains and Automobiles).
This film does serve as a reminder that to have lost Candy before he turned 45 and Hughes before 60 is a real loss to the film industry.
PS. **Spoiler Alert** for below…
The final shot of the film serves as far more impactful knowing that only 5 years after the film, Candy would pass away…