Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, and there?s no holiday viewing more essential than Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy play a phenomenal straight man/goof duo in what?s arguably the best road comedy classic of all time. It?s both a laugh riot and a tearjerker, a combination seldom seen in film outside of the master John Hughes? work.
While Martin has his standout moments in the movie, John Candy truly steals the show. His oafish charm radiates, and his ability to tug at our heartstrings shines even brighter. Candy had a knack for adding an unmatched element of joy to every film he took part in. It?s safe to say we?ll never see another comedic actor like him.
I spent this evening watching Planes, Trains, & Automobiles out of tradition. Upon its finish I felt the immediate urge to watch a slew of other John Candy films. Before I indulge in the binge I figured it would only be right to compile a list of his best. We?re in the midst of the holidays. We all need some merriment. What better way to experience serenity through film than a marathon of John Candy classics? For your reading and viewing pleasure, I present to you the 13 best John Candy films of all time.
13. Brewster?s Millions
Brewster?s Millions is unfortunately not what it could have been. With a pair like Candy and Richard Pryor one would think it must be an instant classic. Although it?s a tad trite, predictable, and underwhelming, Brewster?s Millions is still a warm, amusing movie with solid performances from greats Pryor and Candy. You should absolutely give it a view if you?re a fan of either late legend. At the very least it?s a piece of comedy history.
12. Nothing But Trouble
I?m unsure whether Nothing But Trouble is widely regarded as bad or if it?s simply forgotten, but it?s an overlooked treasure nonetheless. Few mention it when writing about funny films, which begs the question, ?How could you ignore the team of John Candy, Chevy Chase, and Dan Akroyd?? They all play their roles brilliantly in this outright nutty adventure. It?s witless fun; no more nor less. Nothing But Trouble doesn?t take itself seriously for even a second. If you go in what that same incentive you?ll be sure to find joy while watching. Important to note: It also includes a distractingly beautiful Demi Moore, and it?s worth seeing solely for her.
A great film for writers, as many of the jokes are aimed at screenwriters, and a whacky, enjoyable viewing for audiences in general. Delirious is a pleasurable escape from reality, and a fine vehicle for Candy?s comedic talent. While it isn?t executed to full potential, it remains a lovable Candy classic, full of running gags and charm.
10. Going Berserk
If you?re at all familiar with the SCTV days, you know John Candy and Eugene Levy are a comedy force to be reckoned with. Going Berserk features that duo along with fellow SCTV alum Joe Flaherty in a silly assassination plot gone wrong. It?s by no means an outstanding movie, though it does pull some laugh-out-loud bits. Funnier than the film itself is the parody within. You?ll just have to watch and see for yourselves.
9. Who?s Harry Crumb?
Candy, as you very well know, can bring both the humor and the drama. He sticks primarily with the humor in Who?s Harry Crumb? This outlandish farce is your benchmark doltish 80s comedy, but that?s often just what we need. It centers upon what I believe to be one of Candy?s funniest and most memorable roles. Who?s Harry Crumb? is a must-watch for fans, and anyone seeking a chuckle.
8. Only the Lonely
Only The Lonely isn?t as laugh-worthy as the average Candy outing, but it?s a genuinely pleasant ride. If you like light, cute romantic comedies you?ll definitely enjoy this one. Candy comes with the usual charm, and keeps you rooting for real love to unfold. Only The Lonely is ultimately a feel-good film, which features a dazzling dramatic performance from the man.
7. Summer Rental
Let me make this clear out of the gate: Summer Rental is one of the most underappreciated comedy gems in existence. I would have put this at number 4 if some of the other inclusions weren?t widely regarded as much better movies. To sum it up best, Summer Rental is standard John Candy fare. He stars as a senseless yet kindhearted father with his family?s best interest at heart as they endure a vacation from hell. Think Vacation, but lighter. It?s one of those lovely little 80s films able to get a laugh without the slightest bit of vulgarity. Summer Rental is endlessly re-watchable clean fun.
6. Cool Runnings
Cool Runnings is an inspirational tale of underdogs, headed by a particularly charismatic John Candy. The movie has spirit, a cool reggae soundtrack, and a highly entertaining cast. Add to that frequent points of hilarity and insight, and you have a timeless film for the whole family.
I needn?t have to sell you on Spaceballs. Those who know it adore it, and those who aren?t familiar probably aren?t worth talking to. One of Mel Brook?s finest, outmatched only by Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The cast, as you know, is packed full of comedy greats. Despite being surrounded by impressive talent, Candy still emerges a standout. Barf is undoubtedly his wackiest role in film.
Although Bill Murray and Harold Ramis play the major roles, John Candy holds an essential part as Ox. Stripes is a hilarious good time, and not much beyond that. It doesn?t emit the softness of other movies in which Candy appears, but it?s fantastic for what it is ? a goofy, fun comedy. For the Ox mudwrestling scene alone it had to make top 5.
3. The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors may be regarded as a good comedy, but it?s criminally underrated in the timeline of funny movies. If we?re discussing purely humor, it may just be the best John Candy outing. Admittedly, Dan Akroyd takes the spotlight in terms of jokes, but Candy provides tenderness. Much like all the films he?s in, The Great Outdoors brings out each and every sentiment from us. Additionally, it didn?t age as poorly as many other 80s comedies. It?s as uproarious today as it was the first time I watched it. The Great Outdoors might never receive the respect it?s due, so let this be a call to action. May we all appreciate the greatness that is The Great Outdoors.
2. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
I covered the general appeal of Planes, Trains, & Automobiles in the intro, and therefore don?t feel the need to delve deeply into detail. Anyone who has seen the movie knows why it?s so beloved. Throughout watching, you?ll be gifted with some of the funniest moments ever on film. The tobacco chewing fella, Owen, is my personal favorite character in all of movie comedy. More important than hilarity is the endearing storyline that engrosses audiences and forces you to invest emotion, whether you planned to or not. With large thanks to the brilliance of John Hughes, Planes, Trains, & Automobiles is a rare mix of heart and hysteria.
- Uncle Buck
80s and 90s comedy film buffs could argue all day over which Candy film is the most delightful. He made many movies as great as they are, but he really runs the show in Uncle Buck. He carries the hefty majority of the humor. He warms the hearts of all-age audiences. Candy IS Uncle Buck. You?d be pressed to find a family comedy more capable of pleasing viewers, regardless of age. Uncle Buck is a gift to cinema, and a true family classic. It encapsulates so much of what a standout comedy film should be, from gripping, to silly, to emotionally engaging. Above everything else it?s outright fun. We?ll never see it duplicated.
Very Honorable Mentions:
Armed and Dangerous
The Clown Murders
Hostage For A Day
Not included because he plays small parts, but still worth nothing: Vacation, Home Alone, Blues Brothers, and Little Shop of Horrors.