A Tall Drink of Water

Stars we love at the Paramount Summer Classic Film series

<i>Uncle Buck</i>
Uncle Buck

Sweet as Candy

It was the late Eighties. It had been some 18 years since Maude taught us how to love. It would be another seven before we'd meet and then complete Mr. Jerry Maguire. But for a brief moment there, we weren't alone. Writer/director John Hughes broke our romantic doldrums with a little help from John Candy.

Eye candy abounds on the screen. Most of it is forgettable. But Candy's performance as the title character in Hughes' 1989 film Uncle Buck gets me every time. As Buck, the uncouth uncle who has to prove himself to his brother's family, Candy is believably adorable, with a teddy-bearlike quality – yet somehow still able to leave dirty messages on his girlfriend's answering machine. He balances sweetness and manliness – a sense of humor and a sense of moral right. But it's the creative ways Buck shows he cares that really sets him apart, and Candy delivers those scenes expertly. My favorite? He surprises his nephew (Macaulay Culkin) with a birthday breakfast of giant pancakes so big he has to flip them with a snow shovel. My heart would've hit the floor. And you know, I bet he'd have helped me pick it up. "Ma'am, I believe this is yours?" he'd say. (So damn polite!)

That kindness goes a long way and remains central to so many of Candy's characters. In Hughes' Planes, Trains and Auto­mobiles (1987), Candy again has to prove himself – this time as Del Griffith to Neal Page (Steve Martin). Thirty minutes in, Page loses his patience with Griffith. Griffith's response melts Page ... and us.

"I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. You think what you want about me. I'm not changing. I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get."

Marry me.

Uncle Buck: Thu., June 12, 7pm; Fri., June 13, 9:45pm (P)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Thu., June 12, 9pm; Fri., June 13, 7pm (P)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Ashley Moreno
Moontower 2019 Review: Amanda Seales
Moontower 2019 Review: Amanda Seales
Her wide-ranging set proved this comic can't be pigeonholed

April 30, 2019

Moontower 2019 Review: Hari Kondabolu
Moontower 2019 Review: Hari Kondabolu
This stand-up act balanced light humor and social issues

April 29, 2019


Summer Fun 2014

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle