It’s been 25 years since the death of John Candy, the comedy legend who was one of many vets of the legendary sketch comedy show SCTV to successfully cross over into a thriving and prolific film career. He was only a staple of movies for about 15 years, but in that time he managed a litany of classic performances — in Splash, in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, in Spaceballs, in Uncle Buck, even in his lone serious (yet still pretty funny) turn in Oliver Stone’s JFK.
The day has seen countless tributes from fans who will never forget him. One of those is Ryan Reynolds, fellow actor and fellow Canadian, who posted a montage tribute on Twitter created by his team (or whoever the ambiguous “we” denotes).
It’s a moving ode from someone who enjoys making internet videos, complete with Paul Young’s weepy “Everytime You Go Away” as accompaniment. Of course, being about John Candy, it’s really a battering ram of joy. Candy was a force of nature — a guaranteed shot of happiness, whether his character himself was happy or in bug-eyed, freaked-out distress.
The video hits all the familiar titles — the aforementioned ones, plus Home Alone, The Blues Brothers, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation. There’s also deeper cuts like Who’s Harry Crumb?, Brewster’s Millions, Summer Rental, The Great Outdoors, Only the Lonely, and Armed and Dangerous, the latter of which paired him with fellow SCTV alum Eugene Levy.
Speaking of which, his SCTV years get but a quick glimpse: of a sketch with him opposite Martin Short’s Ed Grimley, rocking the same waxed pointy-haired ’do. (Alas, there’s no glimpse of Hot to Trot, in which he voiced a talking horse.)
When Candy passed, the news was unexpected: He was on vacation from 1994’s comedy Wagons East! It’s presumed he died of a mycordial infarction, though there was never an autopsy, and it was likely the result of years of weight-related health issues and being a heavy smoker. Wagons East! would be the final movie he filmed, though not the final film released: That would be Michael Moore’s much-delayed war satire Canadian Bacon, which hit theaters in 1995.
The video by Team Reynolds leans heavily on Planes, Trains and Automobiles — one of his more overtly moving performances, in which he plays Del Griffith, a gabby traveling salesman so lovable and decent he even, eventually, thaws the heart of cranky businessman Steve Martin. His “I like me” speech is given prime real estate, and no wonder: The way Candy is first confident and proud of his speech, then suddenly, briefly, hesitant — note that quick stammer — gets at the heart of what made him a screen god.