Wagons East (1994) Poster


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Candy's last movied was pretty good - despite critics
HenryDee813 July 2005
My wife and I actually quite enjoyed this movie. It was by no means John Candy's best but it was certainly better than we expected. Perhaps that's why I disagree with what most critics say.

Perhaps I love it for sentimental reasons knowing that Candy died just before the movie was completed. Nonetheless we had a good laugh and I do recommend this as a good pop corn movie.

The main premise of the movie is that there are a group of individuals in a small western town that have had it with "The Code" of the west. They hire a drunken guide (Candy) to take them back east and thus starts the comedy of errors as they go against the grain.

Admittedly the acting is only fair at best, but then again most of these characters are comedians do a pretty good job of playing off each other.
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Great fun, tinged with great sadness for John Candy's last hurrah
Amy Adler11 November 2006
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.
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Dedicated to John Candy
MovieAddict201630 July 2001
the movie says on the box, and at the beggining of the credits, "Dedicated to the memory of John Candy". I must say John Candy was probably my favorite comedian, and still is. This movie was a little under rated, but it was still one of his lesser films. Sadly he passed away during filming, you see he was in it until the end of the film, his character was not just dropped, I think they probably were going to do some more editing to the film to make it better, but he passed away so they had to produce what they had, a somewhat unfinished film. Towards the end of his career his comedies really started going downhill. Although I liked Canadian Bacon, Harry Crumb, Wagons East, and films like these were just a bit, well stupid. Like I said Wagons East wasn't all that bad, but it's nothing compared to his best-planes trains and automobiles, or Uncle Buck(I've commented on both of those as well). I just wish when planes and trains 20th anniversary finally comes up, they'll re-release it on DVD with forgotten scenes, and a special dedication video to John Candy, same with Uncle Buck. John Candy was a great and it's too bad this was dedicated to his memory, because I think if he's watching down on us, he's as sad as I am. Anyway, the plot of the movie is After a town by the name of Prosperity, decides the west isn't what it's cracked up to be, they decide to move back east. They find a Wagon master named Harlow(Candy) to lead them back. They must survive Indians, starvation/no water,hired guns, and more,as the comedy builds up to an okay climax. 2 and a half stars out of 5, it's a good movie to rent out, but while you're at it, rent out some of Candy's best films too. I also dedicate this comment,to the memory of John Candy
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A Very Nice Editing Job
garrysheils26 December 2001
It's not a brilliant film, certainly not John Candy's best work, but I would like to commend the editors. John Candy died during production of this movie, and just under half the scenes were recorded using another actor in John Candy's place. Candy's face was then added using computers. And it's an almost perfect job.
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Very Funny
eckhouse2425 January 2001
This film is better then one thinks. Some of it is slapstick, some dry humor, and some just plain old physical comedy. Charles Rocket is hilarious in his brief moments on the screen, and Richard Lewis has never been funnier. John Candy will be missed, and it is sad that this was his last film, but at least he gave us one great laugh. All in all, I think this is an 8, reason being is that I don't see this being a great film, but it is sure entertaining.
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I (Native American) had lots of laughs watching it.
PinataMama4 August 2001
Wagons East was a fun movie. I love the premise of settlers going "back east", principally, because I'm Native American. It was almost like watching a Mel Brooks' movie, not one stereotype was left untouched. John McGinley, who played Julian, is one of my favorite actors. He has an amazing range. However, it's too bad that this was John Candy's last film. You can that he didn't enjoy the shoot and that he wasn't feeling well. I recommend it.
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Sorry comedy
jhaggardjr1 November 2000
"Wagons East" was a big disappointment for me. But the saddest thing about this movie is that it turned out to be John Candy's last film role (he died just before shooting was completed on this). There are only a few laughs throughout this western spoof, and for a comedy that doesn't cut it. If you want to see a uproarious spoof of western movies, the answer is obvious. See Mel Brooks' classic "Blazing Saddles". Or if you want to see Candy in much better material, see "Summer Rental", "Spaceballs", or "Uncle Buck" (just to name a few). These three movies (as well as others) shows us what a great comic actor he was. Unfortuneately, "Wagons East" does not. What a shame!

* (out of four)
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Sad, So Sad.
phillafella23 May 2003
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
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Great Western Parody
Enchorde4 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Recap: A few American settlers with bright hopes of a new beginning in the west get deeply disappointed at the lack of civilization and opportunities and decide to head back home. Back east. They hire a all but confident wagon master and start their journey through the perilous country. However, back home some industrialist fear that they could start a new trend and that they would lose out on millions of dollars. The wagon train must be stopped.

Comments: One of the great parodies of Western movies it is deeply underrated and, in my mind, obviously misunderstood. A good mix of puns and jokes from the Western genre are sprinkled with satirical jokes about life in common and some original jokes. I can't say it's pace is high but there is no slow parts and it is never dull. There is always something to laugh about. And that maybe one of its great strengths, that might have been overlooked. There is much subtle humor, small details that are just great. Or is it that it's just the humor that speaks to me.

An impressive cast of comedians, some that have proved their worth both before and after. The obvious lead is John Candy as the defamed wagon master (from the real Donner Party, the character is not though). Stated that he was unwilling to do this movie but had to because of contractual obligations it is still impressive that he can be so good in it. Not his best movie, far from it, but it is till really good. Unfortunately it was also to be his last movie as he died during filming Wagons East, but some skilled editing and rewriting make that fact unnoticeable by watching the movie.

He also has some strong support of actors and comedians. Most prominent, to me, is Richard Lewis who is too underrated but does a great role once again. And then there is John C McGinley. Now doing a great character in Scrubs he already here shows his comedian talent as the overly gay settler. Notable appearances also from Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips, both of later Star Trek fame, Abraham Benrubi and Ed Lauter.

All in all it is a great comedy. It sure helps to appreciate some wacky humor and parody of the Western genre. I've seen it several times and it never fails to deliver.

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Better than they say, really....
K. Wild 720 October 2001
B'leve it or not, most people said this was a sad, sad, movie. Well, I'm here to tell ya I really liked it.

My former teacher reccomended it to my mother....she said she thought I would like it.... so my Mom brought it home, ostensibly for my little sister, and I watched it that night while everyone else was gone, because I really like John Candy and I recently fell in love with Richard Lewis (in "Once Upon a Crime" believe me it doesn't happen often) Anyway, I wasn't particularly expecting a funny movie, but I liked the premise, and then it started and I about died laughing. Candy is distinctly uncomfortable during it, something understandable, and the movie definitely pulls no punches. But even so, all the actors had such great comic presence.... I'm not usually a laugh out loud person, and so the only parts I laughed at was the revelation of Harlow's secret (I';m no snitch, I won't tell you what it is) and ensuing conversation, and the Big Tough General Larchmont asking for a bedtime story, and Lewis's conversation with his kids....amounting to the sort of things that would go on in a regular, modern-day car ride when you have a son and a daughter. But the biggest surprise: Lewis himself. Here we have a guy with a big chin and buggy eyes, who always appears as himself, constantly has shoulder-length greasy hair, and one of the oddest smiles since the days of Chico Marx.... and here we have me, laughing at him. Go figure. I love Chico Marx too.
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Three stars just for Candy.
TOMASBBloodhound26 June 2011
John Candy is on record as saying he feared something bad was going to happen if he went to Mexico to make this film. Well, two bad things happened. John Candy died, and this film was made. How's that for bad karma? Wagons East is a stupendously bad film on just about every level. A scarce chuckle or two in almost two hours is about all you can expect. Only a few scenes with Candy are rewarding, mostly because they will remind you of how funny he had been in the past. With this film, we see perhaps an interesting idea for an SNL sketch stretched into an insufferably long film. We see some decent character actors wasted, while the wrong ones get most of the screen time. And worse than anything, we see a John Candy that is painful to watch. He was heavier than ever, and just looks like he'd rather be any place else. How in the world did they find a horse strong enough to carry him?

The story deals with a handful of people ready to give up on life in the old west and start a wagon train heading back to St. Louis where they can give city life another try. There are a couple of cute early gags involving the oft-robbed town banker and a gay bookstore proprietor selling a cowboy a copy of Pride and Prejudice so he can use it for toilet paper. These are interesting observations, but again they cannot be the basis for a feature length film. Once the train gets rolling east, what little laugh well we had dries up rather quickly. How long did they milk the Donner Party angle? This might have been good as a throw-away gag later in the film, but the fact that Candy's character was their wagon master too is brought up again and again and again. Any of the half-dozen subplots involving people on this journey could have been cut and actually would have improved the picture. We just don't care about these people. What has Richard Lewis ever done to be the star of a theoretically mainstream comedy? The guy isn't funny. At all. Never was. Too bad the last film Candy ever did turned out this bad. Its doubtful that Canadian Bacon would be much better, so I just won't even watch that one. 3 of 10 stars.

The Hound.
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Very funny western. I can't believe it.
bloodvampyre2 October 2001
This is a great movie. Not quite as zany as Blazing Saddles, but well worth a watch. John Candy, in my opinion, is a great comic actor. The running gags and one liners are really funny. I am proud to say that I have it in my video library. Long live John Candy, a true comedian.
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John Candy's sad end
Lee Eisenberg29 March 2009
"Wagons East" is widely known as John Candy's last movie, as he died on the set. That's just what makes it so sad: not simply that Candy suffered a fatal heart attack, but that it was on the set of such a crummy movie. Seriously, I don't know what they were thinking when they came up with this piece of crap, but the flick has NO redeeming qualities. It's as if they took every unused script for stupid westerns and just mixed them together and filmed it. No wonder John Candy didn't want to make the movie; maybe his contractual participation was what did him in.

Anyway, the point is that Candy did much better than this throughout his career. To be certain, he had already completed Michael Moore's "Canadian Bacon", in which the United States declares war on Canada. Just stick with that one and you can say that Candy ended his career honorably. As for Richard Lewis - who previous had co-starred with Candy in Eugene Levy's absurd but hilarious "Once Upon a Crime" - he made up for this piece of crap by frequently guest appearing on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" in later years.
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A clever comedy western about settlers who have just had enough.
sunny lovett (dwtaxi)18 November 2010
Wagons East is a well presented western about a group of settlers who have found the glorious west to be more The Land of Barbarism than the promised Land of Opportunity. So they quit and head home.

It is wrong to think of the movie as a spoof and if you watch it expecting a Mel Brooks movie you will only be disappointed. Wagons East is a genuine western comedy, with a wide variety of laughs from family trip clichés to road runner gags and seen as such it is a remarkably good western with clever, though uncomplicated comedy and a good plot image. Although the greedy, but paranoid Rail Mogul is a little weak, most of the clichés fit in neatly and comically with the plot.

Oh and don't watch Wagons East expecting a John Candy film. The main leads are Richard Lewis and Robert Picardo, with strong input from Scrubs star John C. McGinley. Candy makes a good appearance, but his comic performance is considerably muted compared to his more prominent films. This may be due to his unfortunate death towards the end of filming; or it may be that he felt the role deserved a more quiet presentation due to the terrible secret in the characters past.

I enjoyed this film immensely and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a light laugh.
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Head 'em up and try to move 'em back where they came from.
Michael O'Keefe29 November 2000
This movie is silly and very short of being a funny movie. Unhappy 'easterners' are not pleased with being out west; so they hire a drunk wagon master(John Candy)to lead them back east. Sight gags were just not funny enough to carry this one. And Richard Lewis gets on your nerves very quickly; but then I honestly don't like him at anything he does. Ed Lauter is hilarious as the bumbling villain.

The movie was dedicated to Candy. He died from a massive heart attack ten days before the movie was completed. A stand in and digital enhancement enabled Candy's character to be seen in the final scenes. Candy was a very good comedian and gave us some real good knee slapping, belly laughs in his career. This movie was just not the caliber of his best.

Also in the film, you will recognize: William Sanderson, Gailard Sartain, Ethan Phillips, Ellen Greene and Rodney A. Grant.
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Missing John Candy made me Love this Movie
alicecbr13 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Take a look into the sad eyes of this mountain of a man, and you'll know that he was degenerating. This was a hilarious movie for all that, with so many slaps and arrows darted at the traditional western. Ex: "Why do they circle the wagons? If you made a square the Indians would have to go wider to make the circle." I think this suggestion was made by an Indian that goes off with the Western dude who kills the bad guy. Was that a spoiler? I'm never sure.

And those of you who love Scrubs will love this movie, cause the tyrannical doc plays a homosexual cowboy!!!! Great number of site gags, as well as Candy playing dual roles. Watching him play with his electric train (as the train magnate) was unforgettable. Then he calls out the U.S. Calvary, as any patriot knows can be done by the corporate maggots who control our government today. Quite a few sly digs at our history and political figures. "I confiscated the horses of the Donner Wagon Train, which caused them to cannibalize themselves as they died. And only Candy (his character) knows I did it", the general says to the aide. "But I know", says the aide. "Then either you agree to be in my Cabinet when I'm president or if I have to kill you right now."....reminiscent of the present crack-head-in-chief and the deals he made to get into office.

Check the movie out. Will remind you of a kinder, gentler time, both 10 years and 100 years ago.
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Last appearance of good John Candy.
jfcoglezr20 February 2011
OK. First of all, I liked very much. It is a revelation the character of John C. McGinley as "Julian" but the leads portrayed by Richard Lewis and Robert Picardo were pretty much hilarious and John Candy himself brings warm presence to the screen. Maybe I totally support this film because was filmed on location of my land: Durango, Mexico, but I can say that I enjoyed the film and I laughed a lot while I was first watching it, because that time in the same day I also watched Cable Guy(1994) and I was disappointed of this film. But when I saw Wagon's East(1994), I was transported to the far west, with a fantastic idea behind it: What happens if some West residents decide to go back to the East? But in a comedy tone and really good acting, a good ensemble of performers, and a good story.
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It reminds me of Catbalou
Gary Morris8 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I liked the movie, one reason why is because it was proportional. I would love to know more about the horse John Candy was riding. I would like to know the horses real name, and just how big it really was. I think john Candy's character reminds me of Lee Marvin in the movie Cat Balou, and if memory serves me right, Lee Marvin won the Best Actor award at the Academy Awards that year. GREAT JOB! INOW HE IS SMILING DOWN FROM HEAVEN, HE WAS ONLY WITH US A SHORT TIME, BUT HE IS SADLY MISSED. I have seen just about everything that he has done, and i have never been disappointed. I would love to see someone do a biography movie on his life, I would be interested in finding out what others think as to who should play him in a movie, I can not think of anyone off hand that would do him justice.
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Could have been a lot funnier
TC-411 March 1999
John Candy has made several very funny films. Too bad that this last film that he did was not one of them. We know that he had a fatal heart attack during this production, yet he is in almost every scene. Either the movie had just "wrapped" or it was a pretty clever editing job. Either way, it was no better than a weekly F Troup episode.
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Not as bad as its reputation
s_pike7 May 2011
This is a light weight movie but really quite entertaining and better than many recent offering at the theater. It could have been better in many ways. A few cast changes and a little more over the top release of the talent and you have a Rustler's Rhapsody level comedy.

The play off of corporate corruption is quite relevant to current issues and provides a nice opportunity to display the use of the military in the service of corruption.

The film is good for popcorn.

Why they restrained such talent as Candy and Lewis is confusing. Why get them if you're not going to let them play. Too much focus on the script and not enough play of the characters.
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This Wagon Breaks Down on Candy.
Python Hyena10 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
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
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John Candy's Best Film... And His Last
gavin69424 November 2007
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.
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Wagos East! A pathetic film about cowards turning back east after not making it out west.
gleetroy27 February 2007
My favorite comedian John Candy went out of life on a terrible note. This film did nothing but MAR his brilliant career with a stinker at the end. He died while filming this pathetic Western spoof that is not funny nor is it a taste of any West that ever existed.

I still feel sad when I see him on TV and realize that there will be no more of that Candy warmth and Candy brilliance in this world. I just saw "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" tonight. This is a great film. Watch the way he interacts with Steve Martin. Touching and sidesplitingly funny at the same time. I can not think of one funny bit from Wagons East. He looked bloated on this picture and was ill-suited on a horse. Go, Candy go! But please don't ask anyone to remember you from this film.
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Sad Finale to John Candy's Career
tfrizzell28 October 2000
"Wagons East" is a sorry film that will only be remembered for John Candy's final performance. He stars as a wagon-train master who tries to lead a group of stupid settlers back to the East Coast. None of the jokes come through and none of the characters are funny or interesting. A sorry screenplay and a lack of direction sends "Wagons East" down a path of obscurity that few films ever experience. Turkey (0 out of 5 stars).
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Better not made !
Ron-18128 September 2000
It is truly unfortunate that one of John Candy's last movies was this supposed spoof of the old west. With the exception of two or three humorous scenes the movie is just one big mistake. You have to wonder what Mel Brooks could have done with the script. When you remember John Candy, think of "Trains, Planes & Automobiles" or "Uncle Buck" or "Cool Running". John Candy was a great comedian, this was not one of his better efforts.
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