I’m far from being a film buff; I couldn’t tell you the history of the Hollywood system and why it evolved the way it did. Most of the references to classics that Quentin Tarantino lovingly puts in his films fly over my head. Dare I say it, I even enjoy the occasional Adam Sandler movie despite the fact that the second I start thinking about what I saw, I feel the need to write a sincere letter of apology to my brain for forgetting it existed. I only know that there are some movies I like, and if they are old movies I can expect to see some cool cars in them.
The Great Outdoors is the brainchild of the late, great John Hughes, who give us some of the most classic and iconic movies of the eighties. It stars John Candy as family everyman Chet Ripley, who has taken his family out of the hustle and bustle of Chicago (being a John Hughes movie, of course it is Chicago.) to have a relaxing time on the Perk’s Pine Log Resort. For this task, they summoned the help of their Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Before the SUV Boom craze of the early nineties there were really only two off-road vehicles that could pull off doing the job of the current average soft-roader: The Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Range Rover. Of course, now the Range Rover has stopped catering to the people that would take them off road and instead going after the people that want a jet to ride on the way to their jet while the Wagoneer just got its funding cut off and got abandoned just before all the clever money started coming into the market. Used Wagoneer prices and the existence of things such as the Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ tells us that this was a mistake. Such things didn’t Trouble Mr. Ripley’s mind though, as for the moment he cares only for some well-deserved R&R. Alas it’s not to be.
No sooner have they arrived to the Resort we start getting some foreshadowing as a mysterious W126 Mercedes 560SEL is moving closer…
…And Closer to our protagonist’s lodge. The ominous horns accompanying its progress to the lodge don’t leave much wiggle room for guessing the role that the people inside are going to play. The owner of said Mercedes is Roman Craig, Played by the always fun Dan Aykroyd, who seems to be having the time of his life playing the Boisterous Roman as he invites himself and his family to share the Ripley’s Vacation. What follows is ninety minutes of jokes, slapstick, raccoons and hijinks that, while certainly not the best Hughes had ever produced, are still quite funny and can be classified as a good movie overall. Such can’t be said about some of his other work. Home Alone 3, to mention one.
The Mercedes and the Wagoneer get the most screen time but, as we’re in CC Cinema, we have to take a look at the cars that fill up the streets and parking lots of this fair movie. Like this small comparison test waiting to happen. The Continental and the W126 were as far away as you could possibly get while still targeting “Luxury” as a market. You need look no further than the fake continental hump to see that.
Main street also seemed nicely populated, as evidenced by that lovely Two-tone Toyovan with white-lettered tires and…could that be something of the Chrysler group on the left there? I’m far too distracted by what look like an International Travelall on the right. Now if the van can move a little further down the road…
Thank you! A trio of pickup trucks. A Chevrolet C10 and an El Camino hold the American front while a Toyota pickup shows us the future of the Japanese pickup by looking slightly larger than its American brother. At first glance I even confused it with a Toyota T100 before remembering that in 1988 it wasn’t even a glint on a Toyota Designer’s eye.
The movie was a modest success in the box office despite lukewarm to bad reviews, making $43 Million out of its $24 Million budget. To finish it we get the cast of the movie dancing to ‘Land of 1,000 dances’, which it’s so contagious you’ll find yourself wanting to join in. If you need to fill an hour and a half of your time, check it out. I found it enjoyable even if it dragged a bit at times. You still get to see fun performances and plenty of that good ol’ fun.
If I was living in the ’80s, I’d take either the Jeep or S-Class.
Had the Jeep. Would take it over the S-class, even though the latter is much more what I appreciate in a car.
I so wish we got short wheelbase 560SEs here. I can’t reconcile myself with driving a long wheelbase sedan. Overseas versions had the option of four-wheel hydropneumatic suspension, too, and not the rear-only set-up.
The Great Outdoors is one of my favorite John Candy movies.
I always liked Uncle Buck more, though.
Who couldn’t love Buck’s car???
My Grand Marquis drives similar to Bucks.
Had a 79 GMC Caballero the same exact color as the one pictured behind the hot dog cart. Except the tailgate and roof had large batches of primer from where the factory paint flaked off. Agree this movie was pretty funny, always was a John Candy fan. Loved the heap he drove in ‘Uncle Buck’, another good movie.
I remember the “ROMAN 1” tags on the Mercedes and the dealer installed chromed factory wheels were a nice touch. I always liked John Candy, 20 years on and his passing still is still felt.
John Hughes, or someone that worked for him did have some great “car casting” ideas.
It’s interesting to note that a wood-sided vehicle appears in almost every John Hughes movie.
John Candy’s death was over 20 years ago already! I remember I was spending the week at my grandparent’s winter home in Dania FL when they announced it on TV and I thought his death at age 43 was almost normal as he wasn’t too slim… Now I realize that I’m about the same age as he was when he made Uncle Buck and I’m about as fat too… I guess I’ll need to do something about that soon or…!
I also like the car casting in most of John Hughes movies, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, the Grand Detroit Turbo E car convertible, the smoking Marquis in Uncle Buck (that has to be my favorite movie car!), the “E” and “K” cars in Ferris Bueller. I just wish his movies had featured more GM cars too as they are the ones I prefer!
Well, there was a 1990 Estate Wagon (beside a 1990 LeSabre) parked in the McCalister’s garage in Home Alone but this one didn’t get a great role!
I wonder if he got sponsorship for some of the cars used in his movies. For example, Uncle Buck featured a beat-up Marquis (which John Candy said was good for another 100,000 miles!), a Mercury Sable wagon and a Amy Madigan’s Bronco II (and there was also that guy with the toothpick at the bowling alley saying had a brand new Bronco which we didn’t see!).
ROMAN 1! I always loved those plates. Probably the funniest part of an otherwise weak film that I felt wasted the talents of both Ackroyd and Candy.
CC EFFECT ! Monday evening my son popped this movie in the DVD player , he didn’t recognize Roman’s wife…….
Who here does ? .
The DVD had this and Uncle Buck on it , another good John Candy (R.I.P. we miss you) movie .
I need to find a copy of Planes , ‘ Trains and Automobiles ‘ on DVD as I no longer have a working Video Tape Player .
The IHC is a Scout .
Without looking it up, its Annette Benning no?
I’m thinking that Scout is a 1st generation Bronco- Check out the white wheel arch extensions, squared off rear window glass, and off-set license plate mount.
SERIOUS brain farts here ! you’re right and I have no excuse for writing Scout when I was looking at and thinking ‘ cool Ford Bronco ‘ .
Can I claim ‘ Senior Moment ‘ ? .
Is it an Elco or a GMC Caballero? Those cars look so much like each other. I saw a Caballero Amarillo the other day. Until I got up close and saw the GMC badge on it I thought it was a Chevy EL Camino.
I’d take the Jeep Wagoneer. 🙂
I don’t think it’s a Bronco or a Scout. The taillights are wrong: Scout I had round ones, Scout II and Bronco were both narrower/taller. I think it’s actually a Jeepster.
I don’t think it’s a Jeepster.
This is a Jeepster:
I think it’s a Bronco. This is the rear end of a Bronco:
I LOVED this movie, remember Mom taking us kids to see it when it first ran.
“A bald-headed bear!”
I miss John Candy. John Hughes, too.
I remember the Grand Wagoner… THIS is the ultimate Off-Roader SUV!!! 🙂
Wow, I forgot about this, and I`m an Ackroyd and Candy fan. Gotta try to get a copy on DVD or VHS. And speaking about John Candy, who can forget the LeBaron convertible he accidently set on fire with a cigarette in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” or “Old Smokey” the Grand Marquis from “Uncle Buck”? Ackroyd was hysterical in many roles, with his Tom Snyder impersonation his funniest,I still LMAO when I see it.A shame about John Candys early death. A fine talent that was wasted in too many bad movies,but he really shined in “Planes” ,”Uncle Buck”,”Only the Lonely”, and the hilarious “The Last Polka”, a dead-on “mocumentary” featuring the retiring Polka Princes the Shmenge Brothers, also with Eugene Levy.Try to see it,a true gem I guarantee it.
Candy could act, most movies never really gave him a chance to shine much beyond his usual “big oaf” character, but you do get a glimpse of Candy’s talent when he plays crooked jive talking attorney Dean Andrews in 1991’s JFK. Candy plays it so well, he eats up the scene and out acts Costner, you want the scene to go on longer.
As Costner’s best acting job is playing the stiff in “Big Chill” it’s not hard to out act him.
Are you mocking Spaceballs!?
I thought it was a hilarious movie.
Now, I’m off to comb the desert.
Speaking of Dan Ackroyd, he also deliver a good performance in “Tommy Boy” as Ray Zalinsky in company of David Spade and Chris Farley, another who left us too soon 🙁 .. along with the 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX being tortured during the lengh of the movie.
WHAT’D YOU DO??
One could have added GM’s Suburban and International’s Travelall to the vehicles which could have pulled off the kind of job done by the Jeep, even if on a less refined level…
or a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60/62 wagon, which I still use for the same purpose today
The “Chrysler group something” looks like a Cordoba.
Though not a car, a special mention should have been given to “Suck My Wake”
Can someone identify the burgundy sedan at the far right in the last pic? Is it a pre ’83 626? An ’81-’85 323? An 810 Maxima? I can’t quite make it out.
And why’s Jody sitting in the lake?
GLC sedan. I was googling the image for it to check and found one that made it clear, when I clicked on it it turned out to be from a CC Outtake titled Mazda Not-so-great little car!…funny how all roads are starting to head back here to CC.
I always heard that John Candy gave alot of his money away to those in need and no one knew about it til after he died.
The truly great ones are the quiet ones if you ask me.
Don’t forget he was Jake’s parole officer in Blues Brothers. My personal favorite but forgot about the JFK movie, he was great in that.