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Film

Five John Candy movies that are guaranteed to make you feel good

@Russellisation

There are few western actors as beloved as the late great John Candy, the Canadian comedian known for his loving persona and iconic Hollywood films.

A key figure of popular comedy throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Candy thrived alongside the likes of Bill Murray and John Belushi, presenting Saturday Night Live on two separate occasions where he would capture the hearts of the American people. 

Though Candy was introduced to comedy in the 1970s, he would flourish in the ’80s thanks to roles in the films of John Hughes, the filmmaking icon who pioneered such coming of age classics as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Candy became the perfect figure to carry similar such films, with his endless optimism and sharp comedy timing seamlessly fitting into the Hughes formula.

Working with the likes of Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Mel Brooks, Bill Pullman, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates and Bill Paxton throughout his celebrated career, the impact of John Candy still influences modern audiences to this very day.

Entertaining audiences for generations, let’s take a look into the five John Candy movies that are guaranteed to make you feel good.

Five John Candy movies that are guaranteed to make you feel good:

5. The Great Outdoors (Howard Deutch, 1988)

Released at the height of John Candy’s fame in 1988, The Great Outdoors by director Howard Deutch is one of the actor’s lesser-known classics, being appropriately more foolish than his other films.

Starring alongside Dan Aykroyd, The Great Outdoors follows Candy as Chet Ripley, a man who goes on a camping holiday with his family, only for his obnoxious brother-in-law to unexpectedly join the vacation. With Candy at the very height of his comedic power, the Canadian actor helps to elevate the somewhat middling material, creating a thoroughly enjoyable family film in the process.

4. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987)

Possibly the film that Candy is best known for, this American Thanksgiving staple sees the actor star alongside fellow Hollywood legend, Steve Martin, in one of the most inspiring films of all time. 

Buddying up with a Chicago advertising agent travelling home to New York for Thanksgiving celebrations, Candy plays a loveable man who sells shower curtain rings in this comedic holiday road trip. Showing the true extent of his on-screen charm, Buck gives his greatest dramatic to Planes, Trains & Automobiles, finding the perfect balance in his delivery of emotional sincerity and comedic timing.

3. Spaceballs (Mel Brooks, 1987)

There is no filmmaker quite as influential to the peculiar genre of spoof filmmaking as Mel Brooks, having brought the likes of Blazing Saddles, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Spaceballs to the big screen.

Featuring the likes of Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Joan Rivers and John Candy, the film was a blatant spoof of the Star Wars franchise, following star-pilot and his sidekick who must rescue the princess of a planet that is in desperate need of help. You can always count on the comedies of Mel Brooks to help you feel good and Spaceballs is certainly no exception, with Candy’s fantasy character Barf providing many of these hilarious moments.

2. Stripes (Ivan Reitman, 1981)

A comedy vehicle for a whole host of actors including Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold and, of course, John Candy, the importance of Ivan Reitman’s Stripes truly wasn’t appreciated until long after its release. 

Telling the comedic story of two men who struggle to find success so decide to join the army, only to disobey orders and bungle a crucial mission, Stripes, directed by the late Ivan Reitman, saw Candy and Murray battle it out as two icons of the industry. A hilarious, irreverent comedy classic of the 1980s, Stripes may not be Candy’s most remarkable film, but it is undoubtedly one of his most important. 

1. Uncle Buck (John Hughes, 1989)

Potentially the most excellent John Candy film, showing off his real-life loving persona as well as his hilarious comedic style, Uncle Buck is often overshadowed by the likes of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. 

Telling the story of familial love and happiness in the face of difficulty, Candy plays the titular Buck Russell, an eccentric bachelor who is called to babysit his brother’s rebellious teenage daughter and her young brother and sister. Surprisingly emotionally tender, the character of Buck Russell speaks to a universal identity and a shared communal story that audiences worldwide can relate to.