The Mob Drama Hiding Inside ‘Uncle Buck’
While most of us would gladly have watched John Candy read a Swiss phone book for 90 minutes in the 1980s, one of his most celebrated comedies, Uncle Buck, has a lot of weird stuff going on, in retrospect – after all, this is a family comedy in which a drunken birthday party clown gets brutally assaulted by our loveable lead character.
The central premise is also kind of confusing; Buck is only asked to babysit his nieces and nephew as an absolute last resort, because he’s clearly a responsibility-challenged, slovenly gambler who has no experience looking after children – which makes sense. But the degree to which his sister-in-law seemingly reviles Buck is kind of shocking, as is the revelation that he’s been cropped out of family photos. Good lord, he’s just an amiable slob, not a meth-dealing Klan member.
As some fans have suggested, one possible explanation is that Buck has ties to organized crime, which would actually explain a lot. The movie makes it clear that Buck earns all his money from betting on horse races that could potentially be fixed. But it’s conceivable that Uncle Buck’s illicit activities go even deeper than that …
If Buck was, say, a former mob enforcer, one could see why the matriarch of the Russell family would be so nervous about having him around. It would also explain why Buck is so quick to solve problems using violence, or threats of violence – such as the scene where he gleefully chats about hacking off the limbs of his niece’s douchey boyfriend “Bug.”
And at the end of the movie, he shoves said douchey boyfriend in the back of his goddamn trunk, as if he were Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, or Joe Pesci in … well, literally any other movie that Joe Pesci is in.
Presumably, Bug could just go straight to the cops, but Buck doesn’t seem phased, perhaps because he’s connected. Now we have even more questions about the mysterious offscreen deaths of Buck’s brother and his wife between the events of the film and the crappy, John Candy-less TV show.
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Top Image: Universal Pictures