Tag Archives: John Candy

The Set of 400: #287 – My Favorite Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do

Today! Because our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world –

Stripes (1981)

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Starring Bill Murray (x3), Harold Ramis (x2), John Candy (x5), Warren Oates (x2), Sean Young, John Larroquette (x3), P.J. Soles, Judge Reinhold, Joe Flaherty (x2), Dave Thomas, Timothy Busfield (x2), Donald Gibb (x3), Bill Paxton (x3), Robert J. Wilke, William Lucking, Conrad Dunn, Antone Pagan

Stripes gathered up half the cast of SCTV, added Bill Murray, had them join the Army, and the whole thing worked. Okay, the first half of the movie is the more memorable one – the second half has them steal a tank and invade Czechoslovakia, sort of, so yeah, if you mostly just recall the basic training sequences, you’re excused. And that part of the movie is terrific, Murray’s John Winger butting heads with Warren Oates’ Sgt. Hulka, the misfit group getting in trouble and rebounding to pull it together, that great graduation drill. Also, as the only movie where Murray and Candy share any significant screen time, Stripes would’ve been significant no matter what. But thankfully it still holds up, for the most part, as these comedians in this era made rare missteps.

Great, messy times!

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The Set of 400: #294 – My Favorite Rolling Ferris Wheel

Today! Because I fought your kind in the Great War, and we kicked the living shit out of you –

1941 (1979)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd (x3), Ned Beatty (x2), Christopher Lee (x4), Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune (x2), John Candy (x4), Nancy Allen, Lorraine Gary (x2), Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Murray Hamilton (x3), Elisha Cook Jr., Patti LuPone, Eddie Deezen, Perry Lang, Wendie Jo Sperber, Joe Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean (x3), Don Calfa, Susan Backlinie, Jerry Hardin, Audrey Landers, Dick Miller (x3), Mickey Rourke

For those of you unfamiliar with this movie – can you believe the above cast got together in ’79 and put on an epic war comedy? And under the direction of the king, Steven Spielberg, following his massive success with Jaws and Close Encounters? Doesn’t it make you want to run out and see what this movie could possibly be?? How have you avoided it all these years? Do it!

And for those of you already familiar with this movie, SHUT UP.

I’m not Titanic-level defensive about 1941, but that’s because most people either didn’t see it or don’t remember it enough to argue about it. And look, I know there is a lot wrong with this movie. It only sort of functions as a comedy – it’s like a less funny It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with explosions and extended choreographed fistfights – and sort of functions as a war movie. But the premise is solid enough and the cast is terrific that, even though it doesn’t totally deliver, it’s still a pretty entertaining movie. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #326 – My Favorite Blindfolded Driving

Today! Because it’s not deer! Beer! It’s a typo! Use your head, for Christ’s sake!

Delirious (1991)

Directed by Tom Mankiewicz

Starring John Candy (x3), Mariel Hemingway, Raymond Burr, Emma Samms, Dylan Baker (x2), Charles Rocket, David Rasche, Zach Grenier, Jerry Orbach, Renee Taylor, Mark Boone Junior (x2), Patrick Bristow, Robert Wagner

The third film on the list so far to feature a one-word adjective as the title (counting both versions of Notorious, Hitchcock’s #370 and Biggie’s #329), Delirious is a pretty minor comedy, in all honesty, but I really enjoy the plot’s hook – soap opera writer Jack magically entering his own script and assuming leading man status in his own fictional life, and then watching it progressively go to hell. Populated with TV staples such as Perry Mason himself Raymond Burr, General Hospital‘s Emma Samms, Sledge Hammer David Rasche, and Falcon Crest‘s Andrea Thompson, it manages to toe the interesting line between soapy authenticity and decidedly absurdist film comedy, thanks largely to Candy’s terrific work straddling both ends of the story. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #357 – My Favorite Conspiracy Theory

Today! Because it’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma –

JFK (1991)

Directed by Oliver Stone

Starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones (x2), Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon (x2), Gary Oldman, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Donald Sutherland (x2), Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, John Candy (x2), Sally Kirkland, Vincent D’Onofrio (x2), John Larroquette, Ron Rifkin, Bob Gunton, Michael Rooker, Jay O. Sanders, Brian Doyle-Murray, Wayne Knight, Beata Pozniak, Gary Grubbs, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Frank Whaley

Like most eighth graders, I had a big JFK assassination phase. It was probably prompted by this movie, but there also was a lot of new press swirling around the event at the time of movie’s release, so maybe a combination of the two. Figure, even though the movie very directly covers the trial of Clay Shaw, it also proposes a lot of theories regarding the assassination that maybe hadn’t been widely disseminated, or widely considered, before then. So the press around it was crazy, and 12-year-old Joe got sucked in. I distinctly remember prowling Holy Rosary’s dinky library trying to uncover all the details I could find, in encyclopedias, mostly (shoutout to my long closed middle school!). Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #373 – My Favorite Car Rental Agency Smackdown

Today! Because those aren’t pillows –

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Directed by John Hughes

Starring Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean (x2), Dylan Baker, Kevin Bacon, Diana Douglas, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Edie McClurg, Matthew Lawrence, Martin Ferrero, Bill Erwin, Ben Stein

In the only movie that they share screen time, Martin and Candy are a terrifically funny team in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (They are both funny in Little Shop of Horrors, too, but not together!). It seems like they should’ve crossed over more, right? The old SNL/SCTV staples have overlapping credits in most of their ’80s films – with Rick Moranis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase – but this is their only co-starring flick. Shame! They are hilarious together in John Hughes excellent foray into R-rated comedy. Its got a standard mis-matched anti-buddy road trip plot, both trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving, thrown together out of convenience, but significantly enhanced by the interplay between Candy’s good-natured if irritating salesman Del and Martin’s alternately simmering/volcanic executive. And for all the set pieces along the way, and the consistently solid laughs, it also features one of the more heartbreaking endings of an ’80s comedy. I’m often a lump-throated mess by the time the credits get rolling on this one. Continue reading

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