“I’m a kid that’s my job.”

We watched this next one as a family.  Everyone except my sister.  She was a very busy high school student, had a lot of after school activities, and then came home and studied (she graduated in the top 10 in her class–nerd alert!)

This was one of those movies that I wish she could’ve been there with us to see for the first time.  Her perspective would’ve gone a long way.

I always like to call it the forgotten John Hughes gem.

This was another of our “fall back” movies.  My dad and I probably watched this movie together over 10 times.  He was always game for it.

I don’t think anyone would meet a bigger John Candy fan than my father, and “Uncle Buck” was probably his favorite “Candy Movie.”

The gist: There is a family “health emergency” and the parents of the family have to go and attend to it (mom’s grandfather is very sick and has almost died)…However, they know that it could be a very extended period of time that they will need to be gone and the kids cannot miss that amount of school.  They try EVERYONE and the only option–dad’s deadbeat-jobless-never-invited-to-Thanksgiving-dinner-brother, “Buck” Russell.

buck russell

It’s unfortunate that there was only one movie.  The character Candy was able to make out of “Buck” always seemed to be larger than just one movie.  I thought it would’ve been awesome to see Buck come back to save the day when the youngest daughter got into high school too.  There would’ve been a different dynamic, given that he had a good relationship with her as an adolescent, but at the end of the day, she still would’ve been a teenager….

I digress.

Long story short, Buck is great with the young children, he clashes major with the teenage daughter:


Buck: “When I was his age, I was a guy zooming girls like you. Pretty face, good chip on your shoulder.”

The funniest scenes in the movie come from Buck tormenting the teenager’s (Tia’s) boyfriend, “Bug.”

To spoil you of seeing how Buck torments Bug for the first time would be foul play on my part.  Trust me, there are laugh-out-loud moments, that have a level of discomfort to go along with them.

I remember talking with my dad on our third or fourth viewing about whether or not he would do those things.

Dad: “For my niece?  You bet I would.”

Me: “Niece?  What about Beth?”

(Beth is my sister)

Dad: “I don’t need to worry about your sister, she’d be meaner to those boys than me or Buck ever could be.”

That statement is no bullshit.  My dad prepared my sister very well.  One of the most independent people I know.  Again, I would’ve loved to ask her about her impressions of the Tia character from a teenage girl’s point-of-view.  It would’ve been very interesting.  Tia isn’t a bad person, she was just an angry teenager.  Who hasn’t been one at some point?

The great thing about the conflict in the movie between Buck and Tia, is that I can see both sides to the argument.  Buck has been tasked with keeping his niece safe and does it in the only way he knows how; understanding the male teenager mind.  Tia uses what Buck has become as an adult against him.  Buck’s not the most eligible bachelor, being that he is closer to 50 than 40 and unemployed with no prospects.  Not the best example to be giving out strict orders to a rebellious teen.

We have another brilliant screenplay by the amazing John Hughes, and an actor that was born for this role.  Candy is very underrated as an actor in general.  Most people right him off as a large clown.  Movies like this and “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”  prove otherwise.

The greatness with a lot of the dialogue is how Buck engages with the young children too.  He is gentle, but he treats and communicates with them like they are his equal.  He doesn’t try to talk down to them or make them feel that they do not have a voice too.  He is a good listener and acknowledges the things they have to contribute.

buck and kids

I have an “Uncle Buck” in my family too (in moments, I feel I have more than one).  I like to believe that everyone does.  For those of you that don’t, I feel a little sorry for you.  “Uncle Bucks” make family gatherings very interesting….

….and authentic…


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17 thoughts on ““I’m a kid that’s my job.”

  1. I have watched this film more times that I could count but I could certainly go for another viewing. John Candy at his most huggable! Although, having said that, I re-watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles with the family at the weekend… That’s up there as one of my favourite comedies. John Hughes is brilliant, he seamlessly blends laughs with heartfelt drama.

    Liked by 1 person

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