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Wagons East!

Wagons East! (1994)

August. 26,1994
| Adventure Comedy Western

After the 1860s Wild West, a group of misfit settlers - including ex-doctor Phil Taylor, prostitute Belle, and homosexual bookseller Julian - decide they cannot live in their current situation in the west. They hire a grizzled alcoholic wagon master by the name of James Harlow to take them on a journey back to their hometowns in the East.


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Wagons East (1994): Dir: Peter Markle / Cast: John Candy, Richard Lewis, Ellen Greene, John C. McGinley, Russell Means: Final film for Canadian comedian John Candy who sadly passed away as the production of this film was grinding to a halt. It is a comedy about misguidance with John Candy as wagon master James Harlow who is chosen to lead a group of settlers east. Some gossip surfaces regarding his leading the Donnar Party, which strikes fear into the civilians but he wishes to correct his mistake. Vulgar humour including a scene where someone drinks a canteen full of urine. Dreary plot deteriorates into a series of predictable mishaps. Director Peter Markle does his best to satire the western genre but Harlow is the only character given any depth. As his final film appearance Candy gives it his best despite the pitiful fist fight finale. The rest of the cast play off stereotypes. Richard Lewis plays a cattle owner and a cardboard second to Candy. Ellen Greene plays a female who hints innuendo with Harlow. With that said she is basically a romantic prop who only adds a predictable subplot that nobody cares about. There is even failed references to Looney Tunes violence but unfortunately we are not lucky enough to have a large rock land on this film. It is unfortunate that Candy's final film was this horrible with ambitions of cheap humour and stupidity. Score: 3 ½ / 10


After a series of tragedies in the old west, a group of settlers decide they've had enough and want to return east. So they hire a drunken wagon master (John Candy) to guide them. But the wagon master has a dark past... and the government will stop at nothing to make sure this crew never reaches St. Louis.I want to lay it on the line and say this is John Candy's best film, or at least very close. I always disliked him as the bumbling, annoying fool. I have never been a fan of his films. But I actually enjoyed this one and it was definitely Candy that helped make it happen. Too bad it had to be a western. With both Candy and Chris Farley dying while making Western comedies, I hope future overweight comedians learn to stay away from the genre, and maybe horses altogether. (Then again, John Belushi died anyway.) The other notable actor was John C. McGinley, who played the flamboyant book salesman Julian Rogers. McGinley is great on "Scrubs" and was good in pretty much everything he's ever done (including "The Guardian", which I didn't care for). But this is his best role, hands down. While this might be Candy's, I know for a fact it's McGinley's. He was born to be a homosexual gunslinger. The fact he is not one in real life is very disconcerting for me.As for the movie itself, it wasn't the funniest thing I ever saw, but it was good, and enjoyable. I guess I can't think of anything really nice to say about it. It's a dumb sort of humor, but not dumb offensive or anything, just dumb in the sense of what "Saturday Night Live" used to pump out. You know, just dumb. Watch it. I guess.

Amy Adler

A lady enters a bar somewhere in the wild west. She looks very refined and is, in fact, seeking the man who bought her as a mail-order bride. When she learns a group of men pooled their monies together, she sits down at the bar and orders whiskey. Chalk up one more disillusioned traveler to the land beyond the Mississippi. Phil (Richard Lewis) and others are also fed up with the harsh living conditions. Why don't they all get a wagon train to go back to civilization? They find a wagon train leader (John Candy) who says he's the man to take them across the mountains, prairies and whatever other terrain is necessary to see the good life again. But, he is harboring a big secret. Also, once news goes to St. Louis that people are heading in the wrong direction, an army officer vows to keep these people from telling others how bad it really is. The Indians, however, may be happy indeed that settlers are leaving their territories! From bathroom stops in the bushes to campfire revelations between the manly men, this journey has it all. Can it succeed? This movie is fun, fun, fun, as the Beach Boys say. There is so much to spoof about the rough and tumble western frontier that the humor is never forced and gives way to many a giggle. The scenery is quite beautiful and the film sports an authentic look. Most of the actors are fine but Candy, who died during the filming and whose part was digitally completed, never seems like himself. His usual go-for-broke spirit is just not present. That said, the film still works beautifully and is a great view for any Saturday night of fun. If you love Candy, however, be prepared to cry a few tears for his loss from the world which dearly loved him.


John Candy was very much a hit-or-miss comic actor. His death was a tragedy and we all miss him a lot, but WAGONS EAST, in which he plays a bumbling wagonmaster who agrees to take a group of pioneers out of the wild west, is even sadder. I don't understand why it was even released. The story is pointless and weak, and the jokes aren't there. It saddens me even further that Candy's last film would be his all-time worst movie. So let's forget all about this one and remember him in his better films such as SUMMER RENTAL, PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES and UNCLE BUCK.0 out of 5