Since I am a resident of the US, this Thursday holds some significance to me, as well as a good portion of my fellow Americans – it’s the day we celebrate the day we started stealing land and offered polio as compensation.  But, a lot of you are more familiar with its non-Kryptonian name – Thanksgiving.

And for me, this holiday wouldn’t be complete without two important – and essential – film staples.  Both just so happen to feature one of my favourite rotund comedians who no longer has to worry about weight gain.  Forever.

That man is the late John Candy.

The ex-SCTV alum has a decent stack of film credits on his list, though the ratio of gems to questionable content is probably not as high as it should be.  Still, out of all of the movies John Candy has ever done, there are two that probably stand out the most – Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

The reason why these two comedic efforts get so much attention is partly because of their association with the holiday season.  But for me, I think their popularity also has to do with the fact that both films are showcases for his best work.  I absolutley adore both movies, and they are probably the only two I’m guaranteed to watch every year.

Or it could just be the holiday thing.

Regardless of my true intentions behind my annual revisitations of both films, I think one of the reasons why I have such an affection for both Planes and Buck is because John Candy is his most endearing in both – playing a gruff character who rubs most folks the wrong way, but you grow quite fond of by the end.  I think out of all the characters Candy has ever portrayed in film, this type of character fits him the best.  You can tell how easy of a fit it is for him to wear (and that’s saying a lot due to the man’s size).  There’s a sincerity to how he plays both roles, and you buy into it immediately.

Of course, that could just be because John Hughes can get that kind of honest performance out of the man.  Either way, there’s a special magic to both films, and I love the hell out of them annually.

I don’t have a lot of time left to devote to this installment due to the demands of packing and prepping for my trip to the sticks of PA, but I did want to share some random anecdotes about both films before I post this sucker:

Uncle Buck:

– Probably the least annoying the Culkin has ever been.  Though I like Home Alone, this film was the springboard to the annihilation of a Smooth Criminal’s playtoy.  Now the best Culkin is Kieran (thanks to Scott Pilgrim!).

– Between this movie and Mr. Holland’s Opus, I developed a huge crush on Jean Louisa Kelly.  Sadly she and I were never meant to be.

– Clownpunch!

– This is probably the highest-quality action Jackie would ever get.

– I never got pancakes that big for any day, let alone my birthday.  This is a travesty.

– I get pissed every time this is shown on network TV, as they always cut a great scene from the film – Buck vs. Bug (Final Match!)

– My favourite scene:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

– Totally counts in your “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” home game.

– Del’s dead wife likes to hang with brother Cross and friends for Christmas.

– Curt Connors’ wife pushes out babies sideways… without screaming.

– Our favourite McClurg drops an F-bomb… and even that manages to sound bubbly.

– If you ever see Matthew Lawrence on the street, make sure you give him noogies.  He’d rather you did.

– After giving it some thought, if this movie had been done in the forties or fifties, this could have been an Abbott and Costello picture.  I never realized how perfectly Martin and Candy play that dynamic in this film.  It adds a new level of enjoyment for me.

– Kevin Bacon’s part would have still been played by Kevin Bacon, just to ensure  his connection within six degrees to Vincent Price.

– My favourite scene:

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow USers, and a happy Thursday to my friends across the pond!