Release year: 1994
Director: Peter Markle
Screenwriter: Matthew Carlson, Jerry Abrahamson
Starring: John Candy, Richard Lewis, Ellen Greene, John C. McGinley, Ed Lauter, Rodney A. Grant, Jill Boyd, Robert Picardo
In the 1860’s Wild West a group of misfits decide to give up on the settlers dream and return back east. The only they can get to lead them ‘the wrong’ way is an alcoholic wagon master named Harlow (John Candy), but as they move their way toward east the stumble on one problem after another, because someone doesn’t want to see them succeed.
This 1980’s western satire is harmless fun. At times it is just plain silly but often delivers a wide variety of jokes, right from the Wile E. Coyote-like vilain to a drawn out fight scene and likeable characters. Candy (Uncle Buck, 1989) deliver a more subtle performance than what is usually seen by him as he takes a step back and quietly supports Lewis (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, 1993) and Picardo (Innerspace, 1987) in the lead. A charming Greene (Little Shop of Horrors, 1986) is a delights but the scene stealer is McGinley (Wild Hogs, 2007) whose homosexual bookseller is the best part of the movie. While not being the best western comedy there is, Wagons East has its charms and in no way deserve the rough deal it got at the box office.
Wagons East was sadly the last movie made by John Candy as he died during filming. His remaining scenes were either rewritten or filmed using stand in and special effects. The movie was dedicated to the beloved actor.
Picture copyright: Sony Pictures