Even by the standards of universally beloved John Hughes classics, Uncle Buck could be said to occupy a special place in the hearts of many cinema fans, and especially devotees of the dearly departed John Candy. It’s just one of those films that is inherently likeable, a perfect star vehicle for the perfect comedian, made in the perfect moment. To dislike Candy, or Buck Russell, oaf that he may be, is rather unthinkable—he’s one of cinema’s iconic, lovable goofballs.
How interesting, then, to learn that there’s actually far more Uncle Buck than any of us have ever seen. As a director, Hughes was known for shooting far more footage than necessary while allowing his performers to experiment and ad-lib, which sometimes resulted in much longer first cuts for films such as Uncle Buck or Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And now, thanks to YouTube channel Hats Off Entertainment, we’re able to dive into what was once contained in the much longer (three hours!) initial cut of Uncle Buck. In the below video, documentarian Joe Ramoni dives into the original script, along with unused clips, to explain some of the major ways that the story of Uncle Buck was originally fleshed out.
As Ramoni explains, the initial cut of the film changes it in ways both big and small. There are scenes you would recognize, albeit with additional or changed dialog, but there are also entire subplots that were ultimately abandoned. One of the biggest revolved around Macaulay Culkin’s young character Miles, who has difficulty making friends among his peers at school, but is ultimately helped by Uncle Buck’s efforts, albeit indirectly. In particular, Buck’s habit of sending Miles to school with bizarre lunches eventually makes Miles into something of a schoolyard celebrity. The scene of Miles’ birthday party, which is crashed by a drunken clown, also contained a much more in-depth fight scene between Candy and said Clown, as they brawled all the way into his mouse-shaped car.
Ramoni also managed to unearth a 10-minute, unused and unfinished segment of Buck inviting his gambling buddies over to the house, which you can likewise see below. The quality of the footage isn’t great, but it is quite novel to see John Candy footage we’ve never seen before.
For fans of John Hughes and John Candy, this is doubtlessly a treasure trove to go through. And take note: Ramoni also did a similar video exploring the initial, longer cut of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, so be sure to check that out as well.