🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Uncle Buck

AdGridley
7 min readOct 28, 2023

Fifteen-year-old Tia Russell and her six-year-old sister, Maizy, separately arrive at their new, Chicago suburbs home. Eight-year-old Miles was chased home by a sixth-grader. Tia tells Miles it was their parents’ brilliant idea to move there.

The family’s eating Chinese takeaway with chopsticks. Tia’s casually sarcastic to her Mum, Cindy. Cindy says they’re all tired of the act. Tia and Cindy won’t back down.

Chanice Kobolowski asks if Buck Russell will show for work for her in the morning. Buck maintains he values his friends and his freedom. She call it a great formula for loneliness. He says he’ll be there.

In the night, Cindy’s Dad has a heart attack. Cindy wants to visit him in Indianapolis as soon as possible. After considering Marcie and the Nevilles, Bob Russell suggests his brother, Buck could look after the kids.

Bob calls Buck saying Cindy’s father just had a heart attack. They need a babysitter immediately. At 2am, a freezing cold Buck yells at the wrong door, waking neighbours. Bob lives across the street.

Cindy gives Buck blank cheques. It should only be for a few days. Bob ensures Buck has all the phone numbers. They leave and Buck walks through the house, impressed at the décor and breaking a plate.

Next morning, Tia is first downstairs. Buck’s preparing breakfast, singing along and dancing to the radio. Tia switches it off. Buck says Tia.

He says Uncle Buck, arms outstretched. She pours herself coffee. He asks where the other kids are. Tia says she woke them.

Buck asks if Tia’s Mum knows she drinks coffee. She says she’s not doing it to impress him. Buck asks why she’s giving him a hard time. She asks if that’s how it seems.

Miles walks in and Buck greets him. Miles tells Tia Buck’s cooking their garbage. Buck brings Miles food. Miles says he put onions in the eggs.

At Tia’s school, Buck’s car backfires and everyone ducks. He asks when he should collect her after school. If she stands him up, the next day, he’ll drive her to school in his pyjamas and walk her to her first class.

After school, Bug jokes if Buck ever heard of a tune-up. Buck asks if Bug ever heard of a ritual killing. Because if Bug ever gnaws on Tia’s face like that again, Bug will be one.

Buck tells Tia the guy’s a predator and Tia’s his prey. When Buck was that age, he was zooming the girls like Tia. Tia recommends Buck stay out of her personal life.

Cindy calls and Miles answers. Miles says Uncle Buck’s got him busting his hump — hard work will put hair on his chest. Miles is learning a trade.

Miles then leaves to find Buck. A listening-in Tia says Buck’s dismantling her life. She claims he took off and left Miles and Maizy alone, plus, he drinks. Buck picks up and asks after Cindy.

Cindy’s fine and her dad’s getting better. Buck learns he should only feed Percy the dog once a day instead of four times and, that the blue toilet water isn’t good for Percy to drink.

Neighbour, Marcie Dahlgren-Frost, calls out to Cindy. Buck’s frustrated with the washing machine, loudly threatening it and detailing punishments.

Percy makes Marcie scream. Buck runs out and she points pepper spray at him. Buck explains Cindy’s in Indianapolis because her father had a heart attack. They laugh about the earlier misunderstanding.

At the bowling alley, Buck, with personalised ball, gets a strike. He then invites Maizy and Miles to try. Pal approaches Tia. Attempting to impress, he nearly chokes on a toothpick. Pal guesses she’s a cheerleader, adding that she looks firm.

He brags about his brand new Bronco. Maizy’s ball just about touches the distant pins. Buck says if you had to get near the pins without toppling any, she’d be world champion.

Buck sees Tia and makes Pal leave. Then, Buck wants Rog to meet his niece, Tia. Tia ignores him. Buck says he’s been in the suburbs babysitting his brother’s kids. Rog says Buck really should marry Chanice.

Rog says Jimmy Bean called. He’s coming in for the Winter Million at Burlington Park on Friday. It’s a boat race: very easy money. They’ll show up an hour earlier and he’ll give them the tip.

With that score, Buck’s whole year is covered. Tia asks if Chanice is Buck’s girlfriend. Buck makes excuses. Tia asks if Buck’s supposed to marry her. Buck’s dismissive.

Next morning, Buck’s flipping a three-foot pancake with a snow shovel. Maizy and birthday boy, Miles, arrives. There are streamers everywhere and a big mound of pancakes topped with butter.

At a house party, Bug’s pressuring Tia for sex. She’s reluctant. Buck arrives with Maizy and Miles. Tia lied about where she was and curses.

Buck thought Tia might want to come for ice cream. She says she’d be home at ten, and it’s not yet nine. Buck thought they could bury the hatchet.

Buck has one in the car. Perfect if someone’s been drinking and is about to drive a loved one home. Buck says he likes to know he has it, just to maim.

Buck sees Anita Hoargarth, assistant principal of Maizy’s school. She says Buck’s niece is a bad egg: a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and a jabberbox. She says Maizy doesn’t take her career seriously.

Buck says she’s six. He doesn’t want to know a six-year-old who isn’t a dreamer or a silly heart. He sure doesn’t want to know one who takes their career seriously.

Buck tells Hoargarth they’re all good kids until dried-out, brain-dead skags like Hoargarth drag them down. If Hoargarth even scowls at Maizy or any other kid and Buck finds out, he’s coming for her.

Tia answers the phone to Chanice. She says Buck went out with Marcie from across the street and they usually stay out late. Chanice hangs up in shock.

Marcie decides Buck needs adult supervision. She kicks Buck’s legs apart and wraps her legs around him. Chanice appears and figures Marcie’s who Buck was out with the previous night, before storming off.

Tia wants to go out. Buck denies her. She says her parents only came to him because they were desperate. She asks if Buck had a bad day, saying it hurts when someone screws with your life.

Instead of babysitting Miles and Maizy as promised, Tia goes to a weekend-long house party. Buck’s forced to take the young children to the racetrack. At the last minute, he calls Chanice instead.

He tells her Tia’s disappeared. He was supposed to collect her from school, but she wasn’t there. Chanice asks if she ran away. Buck doesn’t know. She’s fifteen. She’s angry. She’s confused.

Chanice agrees to help, but only because of the kids. She soon knocks on the front door. Miles meets Chanice at the letterbox and asks to see her driver’s licence, once it’s removed from the holder.

Buck finds the packed party and repeatedly asks after Tia and Bug. Bug’s heavy-petting upstairs and warns that the room’s taken. The door handle’s rattled, then is drilled right through. Bug’s terrified and Buck grins.

Buck pulls up alongside Tia, who left the party early. Having been crying, she says Buck was right. He just wants to get her home. But, he could use her advice vis-a-vis Chanice.

Tia asks if Buck did anything to Bug. She laughs when she sees Bug’s tied and gagged in the trunk. Buck wants Bug to apologise to the lady. Bug yells a sarcastic sorry as loud as he can.

With power drill, Buck mentions he’s an amateur dentist. Tia agrees. Bug grows quieter. Tia tells Buck to get him out. Bug apologises more convincingly. Buck and Tia drive off, leaving Bug to grow hostile again.

Buck prepares a five-wood and gets a golf ball. From a hundred yards away, the ball hits Bug in the head. Bug complains and threatens to sue Buck, who lines up another ball. Bug soon disappears.

Chanice appreciates Tia’s confession, but her problems with Buck go deeper. Buck’s a charming man, who wants to remain a boy forever. Even so, Tia thinks Buck would make a wonderful husband and father.

Tia’s sister and brother adore him. Buck’s changed in his time at the house. He’s responsible, caring, loving and enthusiastic, energetic and decent, kind and humble and honest and forthright.

Behind a door, Buck quietly suggests sense of humour. Tia adds he’s got a great sense of humour. Chanice asks if Buck’s behind this. Tia says these are her own observations.

Chanice kicks open the adjoining door. After kicking a second time, Buck’s knocked off his feet. He sits up and asks if he’s told Chanice that he loves her.

Later, Buck and Chanice check on Miles and Maizy. Buck’s gonna miss them like crazy. Chanice says it isn’t so bad: the house, the family, the kids. Buck says they should’ve done it a long time ago.

Next day, Buck says Miles’s mother and Tia have things to work out, so everyone else is gonna be very quiet. Cindy arrives and Tia’s waiting. They watch each other, then Tia throws her arms around Cindy, saying she loves her.

Everybody exchanges pleasant goodbyes. Buck tells Tia next time she’s downtown, maybe they can go for a coffee. She smiles. She’d love to.

Starring John Candy. Macaulay Culkin. Jean Louisa Kelly. Rated 12. Dir John Hughes. Released in the UK 1989. Runtime 1hr 40mins

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AdGridley

Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)