Friday, August 14, 2009

John Hughes, Jean Louisa Kelly, Uncle Buck & GOOP Nightmares


Last week after John Hughes passed away, it affected me more than I thought it would. I mean this was the man who had written movies that changed the way I thought and lived. He had characters with whom I could identify. Plus, the soundtracks of some of those movies I still listen to and know all the words to and instantly take me back to that movie or time in my life.
The great thing about him though was that he also appealed to the masses. There is not really any teen angst in Planes, Trains and Automobiles or Home Alone, but they were movies that became more about the plot and character development than CGI or special effects. It showed me that popcorn movies could still have great writing and characters and it is something missing from many mainstream movies today. There are great movies today with great characters but, they are for the most part confined to limited releases and have to search them out.
So, after his death, I decided to have a marathon of sorts and the first movie I chose was Uncle Buck. To me it combines the best of John Hughes movies. It has his classic humor, but also showed his ability to understand what teenagers are thinking and teaches life lessons without being preachy or judgmental.

Well of course as soon as I started watching it, and saw the first scene with the character Tia played by Jean Louisa Kelly I had to pick up the phone and give her a call. I loved Jean in that movie. She was perfect for the part. She was a high school junior who, immediately before she was cast had moved to a new city and a new school and so it wasn’t hard for her to identify with the emotions and issues Tia was facing in her life.
When we finally connected on the phone, Jean was with her family out in Delaware and had been in Maryland which of course led to a discussion of Maryland blue crabs and the best beaches and whether a man my size should really be seen in public in just a bathing suit. She had just gone on vacation after finishing a Hallmark Channel movie which comes out at Christmas. The movie is called The Christmas Gift. A Hallmark Christmas movie? Better bring the tissues. I forgot to ask her what it’s like filming a Christmas movie in the middle of 100 degree days in July. I also forgot to ask her if her mom would let me use her beach house for a few days. I just want to be prepared because I know Gwyneth Paltrow is going to come back from vacation and she is going to write in GOOP about some cleanse I need to do which involves salt water, sand and chocolate and is sure to make me feel like a S’more. I can feel it.
Jean has been in so many movies and television shows since Uncle Buck and was probably more famous as a teenager for singing in Mr. Holland’s Opus than for her role in Uncle Buck. Most people know her now from her role as Kim Warner on Yes Dear, but, it all started for her back with John Hughes and Uncle Buck.

I wanted to know everything I had not heard before but started by asking Jean about her experience with John. You have to know that this was Jean’s first movie. She didn’t know what a movie experience was supposed to be like. She told me when she first read the script for Uncle Buck her first response was that it was honest. I had never thought about it like that before, but that summarizes his writing style. It was honest. She remembers him being very patient and very willing to take the time to get things correct without ever getting angry. In one of the most memorable scenes of the movie, Macaulay Culkin asks John Candy’s character a series of questions. Macaulay just couldn’t get the rhythm correct but Hughes never got frustrated. The problem was finally solved when Jean turned the questions into a song with the right kind of rhythm.
Another thing she remembered was the close relationship John Hughes had with John Candy. Hughes would let the cameras roll after each John Candy scene and let him come up with four or five different lines or improv another way to do the scene. Hughes trusted Candy, and Jean said it was obvious Hughes trusted all his actors and had faith they would deliver. I would say that over the years his trust was well rewarded.

27 comments:

MontanaMarriott said...

Wow, great memories, JH will be missed

Mooshki said...

Wow, thanks for this, Enty.

jlb said...

Ferris was on last weekend and the thing that struck me was the music and how many of the songs that played in Hughes' movies were a part of my life - so many we danced to at high school dances and even later when we could get into the bars to dance. Before Ferris no one ever played the Beatles at our dances - after you couldn't go without hearing Twist and Shout at least once.

lutefisk said...

Mooshki--did you catch the s'mores reference?
Enty squeezed between 2 graham crackers, covered in oozing marshmallows & melted chocolate? That is a REAL photo op!

Pookie said...

awww...what a GREAT post! so great to know what kim is up to now...LOVED her in 'yes, dear'. wow, i had no idea she was in 'uncle buck'...how awesome to read how special JH was...

Christine said...

Thank you Enty! What a great post. Jean is beautiful, stunning really. Now I want to watch Uncle Buck.

Momster said...

She had such a beautiful voice in Mr. Holland's Opus.

I'm an Uncle Buck virgin. Will have to rent it this weekend.

kris said...

WOW...I never realized Kim Warner was Tia...now that I know, it's so OBVIOUS.

Great post Enty...thx.

Karmen said...

Hooray for the Maryland shout out! I'm assuming her family's from the Eastern Shore, since she was so close to Delaware. I don't know about the best beaches, but I'll definitely take the best crabs. Oh, and home to one of the best shows ever, The Wire.

Glad to see you had your JH marathon, Enty.

sunnyside1213 said...

She did have a beautiful voice in Mr. Hollands Opus.

.robert said...

She looks way better without the perm.

Green Wave Gal said...

I was born in 1975 so John Hughes' movies were the soundtrack to my life growing up!

I really enjoyed Uncle Buck and I LOVED Mr. Holland's Opus! Jean is beautiful and so is her voice!

Kimberley said...

I never made the connection either! Wow, she gives me hope that I can get hotter as I get older!

Lissa THEEE Pissa said...

As soon as I started reading your post, "Don't You Forget About Me" began playing in my head and I doubt it'll stop anytime soon!
Thanks for the new song idea for my iPod, Teddy Bear!

notvotingforsuckno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
captivagrl said...

I don't remember the exact line, but I like when Candy's girlfriend tells him that her biological clock is ticking and she wants to hear the pitter patter of little feet...he's says how about a mouse and a piece of sheet metal? or something like that. I love rewatching Uncle Buck every now and then.

Lisa (original) said...

Wowza, what a figure! I wish I had it :-(

Like Momster, I'll have to rent Uncle Buck as I've never seen it either.

Lissa, I LOVE that song as Breakfast Club was of my top 3 Hughes fave movies.

I hope John Hughes realized how many of us he connected with through his great movies? (sadness)

HookedOnCDAN said...

I LOVE this story.

DNfromMN said...

Ent, thanks for tracking her down.

A friend put together a playlist in rememberance of the music of John Hughes movies. I don't know whether or not I should share it. ;)

amazonblue said...

Another Uncle Buck virgin here.

It's going to the top of my
Netflix queue.

ent lawyer said...

For those of you who want to see Uncle Buck for the first time or the 100th time if you have Netflix, it is on Watch Instantly. So, you don't have to wait for the DVD to come in the mail to get your fix.

ardleigh said...

Thank you Enty and Thank you Jean for sharing!

mygeorgie said...

I'm embarassed to say I never realized until AFTER Hughes' death that he was the mastermind behind 90% of my favorite movies.

Thanks for the lovely reminders Jean & Enty!

AnonMom said...

Great story, ent.

Tara said...

When I was in elementary school, the entire grade went to the movie theater to see Uncle Buck. It was great. I also didn't realize that Jean was in Uncle Buck. How awesome.

gurnage said...

Thanks Enty. John Hughes has been a vital part of my childhood and through his movies and music I grew up and found my own voice and learned that we all matter, even as teens. I think that will be his legacy - he gave teens a voice when they didn't have one in the movies and real life. He gave them street cred and even gave parents a glimpse of their kids' lives. He will be missed and I am thankful that his stories will live on.

Salsa Lover said...

I think is one of my favorite posts. I loved Uncle Buck and this was very touching. And I never put her role in Yes, Dear with her role in Uncle Buck. I just never knew.