The Irrefutable Life Lessons We've Learned from John Candy Movies

By The Second City | Mar 3, 2019

From Barf to Burton Mercer, the characters John Candy is best remembered for are usually the big-hearted buffoons that captured our hearts, making him one of the best-loved actors of all-time.

25 years after his passing, we're looking back at the irrefutable life lessons we learned from his movies.

Spaceballs as "Barf" = Loyalty


What can a space mog (half-man, half-dog) named Barf teach us? Loyalty. Barf is Bill Pullman's best friend, with him through good times and bad, as they cruise around the galaxies together.

Barf taught us to stand by our friends in times of need--even if that best friend is yourself. And remember, when traveling in an intergalactic Winnebago, always undo the seatbelt before standing up (that’s gonna leave a mark).

Uncle Buck as "Uncle Buck Russell" = Stay Young at Heart


Growing older is inevitable, but you can stay immature forever. Seriously…how many of us still dream about pancakes flipped via snow shovel?

Cool Runnings as "Irv" = Forgiveness


In this 1993 classic, a Jamaican bobsled team competes in the Olympics. What? That’s crazy! They live in Jamaica! Dishonored Coach Irv guides them along their journey, himself a reformed cheater. Despite his checkered past, the team forgives him, and he is able to forgive himself. Although the Jamaicans don’t win a medal, they at least had a bobsled team…and that’s for real.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles as "Del Griffith" = Joie de Vivre


Del’s unbridled love of life is really what we love about all of John Candy’s characters: never cynical, always an optimist, a fierce warrior on the side of good.

Now get your hands out from between those pillows.

Blues Brothers as "Burton Mercer" = Perspective


Even though he's trying to catch The Blues Brothers, Mercer makes time to sit down, enjoy the show, and treat his officers to a refreshing beverage: the orange whip. Actually, make that *three* Orange Whips.

John Candy’s generosity of spirit and immense talent is still felt in the work we do every day at The Second City. We miss you, John.

...And if you haven't seen the tribute fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds recently shared, take two minutes to look back on some of John Candy's most beloved big screen moments:

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