Monday, 29 September 2014
JOHN CANDY Feature-THE CANDYMAN
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thud...thud...THUD! The music from this usually quiet residence is booming all the way down the street! Here's guessing the parents are out of town tonight. There's so much under-aged smoking and drinking going on that the paperwork is going to be a killer. There's so many teens here that even the front lawn is lined with what looks like extra fodder for the next slasher movie. They may as well be as an ominous car pulls up outside, smoking more than they are. It's classic American muscle turned into fat. The paint job is rust. As this car stops, a backfire of gun shot rings out like James Brown screaming that he feels good and kids everywhere jump, duck and throw their hands over their eyes and ears in fear. They all stand still as a big figure lumbers towards the door and into the house slowly but with authority. The red sea of what looks like an entire fraternity parts for a Moses dressed in a long overcoat that looks like it could only be thrown on like a horses saddle or with a fork-lift over those broad shoulders. What he's wearing on his head can only be described as something that was hunted the night before. It should be on the mantle-piece here as a trophy. Someone tries to steal it...big mistake! Smoking a stogie like cigarettes are for school kids this man makes his way round the attendance laughing, dancing and taunting to nothing but blank faces of no reaction. He makes his way upstairs. There's no more laughing now. He pulls something out his inside coat pocket...his finger on the trigger. He heads to the bedroom door. There's not a soul around now. Thud...thud...THUD! Knocks on the door! "Hey this rooms taken"! Replies a voice inside. Thud...thud...THUD! Accusations of hearing deficits and threats of violence come next. Then this cocky kids face drops as he hears that whirring sound. It sounds like an eerie scream or an engine starting. The dim line of light from under the door starts to flicker and dim like electric failure. The door handle vibrates like its about to fly off. Metal coils and then spirals out as a drill-bit comes bursting through the handle before the door flies open and the dark room is enveloped in blinding light. The formidable figure smoking emerges from the shadows, holding a drill in his hand like a dentist from hell about to make one killing of a filling. He grins and evil grin and walks towards the bed. Heeeeres Johnnyyyyyy!!!
The Candyman. Say his name five times! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! Still this family man is no horror like that clever, alternate Youtube trailer for 'Mrs. Doubtfire'. In an Autumn season that's leaves are leaving the Summer behind and descending towards the fall at an alarming rate you know its time for his favourite films like Bill Murray's 'Groundhog Day' or that one where Nicholas Cage wakes up to his old life (if only). Just when you got angry at Christmas trees and commercials going up all too early in department stores, here's one guy whose festive films are welcome all year round like his fellow late, great partner in comedy crime John Hughes. Now both these dear John's are dearly departed, movies wont be the magical same in these modern times. Just like the late, great big hearted James Avery and his Uncle Phil in 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air', John Candy will always be everyones 'Uncle Buck'. An uncle whose head seems immune to bowling balls unlike clowns noses are to his left hook. An uncle who will literally get you shovelling pancakes into your mouth every morning and likes to talk dirty to the washing machine with all his load. He's not as bad as he sounds however...just don't let him near your finest, "unbreakable" china. Sure he may threaten your boyfriend with an axe and with shaving your head whilst you sleep, but just wait until you see what he does with a quarter and a cruel headteachers Enrique Iglesias like mole! I'm really selling this aren't I? Really though what looks like an uncle whose last babysitting gig was in a correctional facility is actually John Candy's greatest moment in his classic movie history and catalogue. As heart-warming and poignant as it is rib-tickling hilarious, they really...REALLY and truly don't make films like this anymore now the two Johnny's are gone. No matter what you consider your number one film, this will be among your fond favourites. It's sacrilege if it isn't. What do I mean? Well how about some more? Hows this for you? Even 'Anchorman' isn't as funny as this! Once more with feeling, Burgundy ain't got nothing on Buck and the man from 'Uncle' has even more in the trunk of the rustiest, beat down car that even millionaires wish they could own like a Delorean.
Candy is the man. I like him. His wife likes him. His customers like him. Because he's the real article (like this tribute). What you see is what you get. More like love. That's what everyone has got for him. Like families gathering round the table at thanksgiving to join hands of appreciation. No matter where they are in the world. Using all the 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' that will get them there! Just like John with a Ron moustache teaming up with the other funniest man on the planet, Steve Martin for a comedy caper that still dead rings true today, (see 'Date...Due'). The best shower ring salesman you'll ever meet, who could even sell you a Casio watch like it was draped, straight out of a commercial. A man who messes around with Ray Charles and like to sleep with his hand between two pillows. How about them Bears!? Del Griffith, there's no one like him...and everyone really does like him. Both 'Buck' and 'Automobiles'' Del stand side to side like John Candy and Hughes as two of the best of the best. Whichever you prefer depends on the season. Both films are as relentlessly funny as John is unamiously charismatic. Still it won't just be tears of laughter that are shed. As this man reaches dark depths whilst managing to keep a smile on our faces he explores some family matters that show there's more than meets the glazed eye of these kids films with growing pains lessons learned. From the loss of love to ones hope, the comedian with the biggest heart shows he has more soul than most first saw, proving he's not just a classy comedian and stand-up guy, but a real, true, genuine actor of talent too. From his Second City, Toronto beginnings of the Canadian Walk Of Fame to classic, horn section cameos with more Hughes in 'Home Alone', this lovable Canadian like Jim Carrey and Mike Myers showed this country was as funny as it was nice. No joke! It may be 20 years since this man tragically passed of a heart attack in Mexico, all too young at 43 years, but this man still remains one of the worlds favourite and most movie requested funny men. Kevin James may be funny like a new Candy but as close as some think the 'Hitch' and 'King Of Queens' star is, he's no popsicle.
Imagine if John was still here today! Of uppermost importance it would be great for his family who have our thoughts, but for the entertainment he blessed sake, just think. Think of all the modern movies and even if he had his own long-running sitcom. Cheers to that. He may already be one of the greatest of all time, but just imagine. We wish he was still here! Earning his 'Stripes' as he made a Tom Hanks sidekick 'Splash' and waded his way through his meaty career like that 'Candy vs Food', whole cow steak on 'The Great Outdoors' and his hilarious first bite that brings a whole new level to cubism. We wish we could still see him take it out of this world and human race with Mel Brooks for the comedy star wars of 'Spaceballs'. Like 'Wagons East' and 'Canadian Bacon' dedicated to his loving memory. From Speilberg's '1941' to a 'Summer Rental' and all the classic 'Blues Brothers' and 'National Lampoon' cameos this man had so many amazing appearances everytime that unmistakable expression came into frame, even if it was at gunpoint. Even for every 'Saturday Night Live' snub (he got it eventually) there was a 'Brewsters Millions' with another comic legend Richard Pryor. Also for every 'Ghostbusters' missed opportunity there was his 'Camp Candy' family cartoon being picked up by Marvel comics...you just knew he was a superhero. Some dramatic roles that showed more of the troubled deep of this actors ability came with 'Only The Lonely' and a part in Oliver Stone's 'JFK'. Still as this great mans career was coming to an all too tragic and premature close he had the last laugh with 'Cool Runnings'. A film that is as movingly inspiring as it is evergreen enjoyable. A beautiful moment, some of this films best and groundbreaking scenes may come from what the four Jamaican bobsledders do in the face of all kinds of adversity, especially the finale, but just check the photo finish. John was right behind them every step of the way in an honest and heartfelt performance of constant, fondly funny laughs and even more relentless fighting spirit. Just another classic this man and his wife and family can be proud of. What a career and quite simply what a guy! With his Planes, Uncles and Bob-sleds, big-three of 'Uncle Buck', 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' and 'Cool Runnings' it's almost all too, sadly poignant that these films end with freeze-frame still of his face. Still even in the mourning of its nostalgia its just another picture of a career that will always be replayed and remembered. No matter the age. Everyone wants Candy!