15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Uncle Buck

1. John Candy wasn’t the first choice to star.

Danny DeVito was originally considered for the role of Uncle Buck.

2. Candy appeared in more movies written or directed by John Hughes than any other actor.

Including Uncle Buck, Candy appeared in National Lampoon’s Vacation; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; The Great Outdoors; She’s Having a Baby; Home Alone; and Career Opportunities.

3. A scene in Uncle Buck inspired Home Alone.

Uncle Buck is only the third theatrically released film starring Macaulay Culkin, who shot to stardom a year later thanks to his role in Home Alone—which, like Uncle Buck, was also written and produced John Hughes. The idea for Home Alone first came to Hughes while Culkin was shooting the scene in Uncle Buck where he interrogates Chanice through the mail slot. (Candy also appears in Home Alone, but he and Culkin don’t have any scenes together.)

4. Amy Madigan and Gaby Hoffmann were family in a previous movie.

Madigan, who plays Chanice, and Hoffmann, who plays Maizy, appeared as mother and daughter in the film Field of Dreams, which was released the same year as Uncle Buck.

5. It was shot and released in the same year.

Uncle Buck began filming, was released in theaters, and was released on home video all within 1989.

6. The film was originally supposed to take place in St. Louis.

It was changed to the Chicago area because unusually warm weather in Missouri that year forced the production to move to a more wintry climate.

7. You can visit the Russells’ house—and Buck’s apartment.

The exteriors of the Russells’ house were shot on location at 2602 Lincoln Street in Evanston, Illinois. Buck’s apartment, across the street from Wrigley Field, is located at 3708 N. Sheffield Avenue in Chicago.

8. You might recognize the high school from other John Hughes films.

The high school scenes were shot at New Trier West High School in Winnetka, Illinois, which wasn’t a functioning school at the time of filming. The location was also used in other Hughes films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles. The elementary school scenes were shot at Romona Elementary School in Wilmette, Illinois.

9. If you look closely, you’ll spot a familiar face.

The classmate sitting next to Maizy in her school scene is actress Anna Chlumsky, who would later star in My Girl with Macaulay Culkin, and who can be currently seen on HBO’s Veep.

10. Buck’s car is a 1977 Mercury Marquis Brougham.

He calls it “The Beast.” Filmmakers used a combination of a gunshot and a firecracker to create its backfiring noise.

11. Pooter-the-Clown is played by character actor Mike Starr.

Among his more recognizable roles are Frankie from Miller’s Crossing, Frenchy from Goodfellas, and Mental from Dumb & Dumber.

12. Uncle Buck’s theme might sound familiar.

It’s a beat from rapper Tone Lōc’s “Wild Thing.”

13. The film spawned two short-lived TV shows of the same name.

The first ran from 1990-1991 and was created without the input of John Hughes or any of the film’s cast. In fact, Hughes didn’t even know the show existed until its producers asked to use exterior footage the director shot for the movie. James Lesure starred in a 2016 version, which was canceled after one season.

14. There was an Indian Uncle Buck remake.

Uncle Bun was released in 1991.

15. You can make Buck’s huge pancakes.

But you’ll need a pretty big mixing bowl. A chef estimated that you’d need 300g of plain flour, 200g of caster sugar, 450ml of milk, 9 medium free range eggs, 100g of melted unsalted butter, and 15g of vegetable oil to make the stack of gigantic pancakes that Buck makes Miles for his birthday.

The Psychology Behind Kids' L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Obsession

Jack Taylor, Getty Images
Jack Taylor, Getty Images

Isaac Larian, the founder and CEO of toymaker MGA Entertainment, is an insomniac. Fortunately for him, that inability to sleep forced him to get up out of bed one night—a move that ended up being worth $4 billion.

Larian’s company is the architect of L.O.L. Surprise!, a line of dolls with a clever conceit. The product, which retails for about $10 to $20, is encased in a ball-shaped plastic shell and buried under layers of packaging, forcing children to tear through a gauntlet of wrapping before they’re able to see it. The inspiration came on that highly profitable sleepless night, which Larian spent watching unboxing videos on YouTube. It resulted in the first toy made for a generation wired for delayed gratification.

The dolls first went on sale in test markets at select Target stores in late 2016. MGA shipped out 500,000 of them, all of which sold out within two months. A Cabbage Patch Kid-esque frenzy came the following year. By late 2018, L.O.L. Surprise! (the acronym stands for the fancifully redundant Little Outrageous Little) had moved 800 million units, accounted for seven of the top 10 toys sold in the U.S., and was named Toy of the Year by the Toy Association. Videos of kids and adults unboxing them garner millions of views on YouTube, which is precisely where Larian knew his marketing would be most effective.

A woman holds a L.O.L. Surprise doll and packaging in her hand
Cindy Ord, Getty Images for MGA Entertainment

The dolls themselves are nothing revolutionary. Once freed from their plastic prisons, they stare at their owner with doe-eyed expressions. Some “tinkle,” while others change color in water. They can be dressed in accessories found in the balls or paired with tiny pets (which also must be "unboxed"). Larger bundles, like last year’s $89.99 L.O.L. Bigger Surprise! capsule, feature a plethora of items, each individually wrapped. It took a writer from The New York Times 59 minutes to uncover everything inside.

This methodical excavation is what makes L.O.L. Surprise! so appealing to its pint-sized target audience. Though MGA was advised that kids wouldn’t want to buy something they couldn’t see, Larian and his executives had an instinctual understanding of what child development experts already knew: Kids like looking forward to things.

Dr. Rachel Barr, director of Georgetown University’s Early Learning Project, told The Atlantic that unboxing videos tickle the part of a child’s brain that enjoys anticipation. By age 4 or 5, they have a concept of “the future,” or events that will unfold somewhere other than the present. However, Barr said, they’re also wary of being scared by an unforeseen outcome. In an unboxing video, they know the payoff will be positive and not, say, a live tarantula.

L.O.L. Surprise! is engineered to prolong that anticipatory joy, with kids peeling away wrapping like an onion for up to 20 minutes at a time. The effect is not entirely novel—baseball card collectors have been buying and unwrapping card packs without knowing exactly what’s inside for decades—but paired with social media, MGA was able to strike oil. The dolls now have 350 licensees making everything from bed sheets to apparel. Collectors—or their parents—can buy a $199.99 doll house. So-called “boy toys” are now lurking inside the wrappers, with one, the mohawk-sporting Punk Boi, causing a mild stir for being what MGA calls “anatomically correct.” His tiny plastic genital area facilitates a peeing function.

Whether L.O.L. Surprise! bucks conventional toy trends and continues its popularity beyond a handful of holiday seasons remains to be seen. Already, MGA is pushing alternative products like Poopsie Slime Surprise, a unicorn that can be fed glitter and poops a viscous green slime. An official unboxing video has been viewed 4.2 million times and counting.

The 8 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2019

Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Michele K. Short, Universal Pictures

Between Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and Halloween, 2018 was a killer year for horror moviesand 2019 is shaping up to be just as impressive. While remakes seem to be dominating the schedule in the coming months, there are plenty of sequels, adaptations, and even a few promising original titles coming out as well. Here are some of the scary movies we're most looking forward to seeing this year.

1. Us

In 2017, Jordan Peele revolutionized the horror genre with Get Out. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker plans to do the same again with Us, which features a predominantly black cast—a rarity for a horror movie. "I dedicated a lot of myself to creating a new horror mythology and a new monster," Peele said of the film. "I think that monsters and stories about monsters are our best ways of getting at deeper truths and facing our fears as a society ... It’s also important to note that this movie, unlike Get Out, is not about race. It is instead about something I feel has become an undeniable truth. That is the simple fact that we are our own worst enemies." Us, which stars Elisabeth Moss and Lupita Nyong'o, arrives in theaters on March 22, 2019.

2. IT: Chapter 2

Stephen King fans were thrilled with 2017's IT, the second adaptation of the horror master's beloved 1986 novel. Andy Muschietti is sitting in the director's chair again for the second chapter, which will follow the Losers Club as they return to Derry, Maine in their adult years. While Bill Skarsgård will reprise his role as Pennywise, impressive new additions to the cast include Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy. The film debuts on September 6, 2019.

3. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

If you’ve been a horror fiend since childhood, you’ll no doubt remember Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. The books included memorable illustrations by Stephen Gammell, some of which no doubt haunted many children’s nightmares. The film adaptation will be released on August 9, 2019.

4. Zombieland 2

Venom director Ruben Fleischer's feature debut, 2009's Zombieland, was an instant hit with both horror and comedy fans. And they've been waiting 10 years for a sequel. Finally, we’ll be getting a second film this year with Fleischer directing and Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and even Bill Murray all confirmed to return. Zombieland 2 is set to hit theaters on October 11, 2019.

5. Happy Death Day 2U

The hilariously bad-but-fun Happy Death Day (2017) surprised audiences with how flat-out entertaining it was, so much so that fans were thrilled to hear there were plans for a sequel. Much like the original movie, the second film will follow protagonist Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) as she’s killed every single day. But this time, the killer is coming for her friends, too. Happy Death Day 2U premieres on February 14, 2019.

6. Pet Sematary

Though Mary Lambert's original Pet Sematary (1989) was not met with much critical acclaim, fans of the Stephen King novel were pleased with the adaptation, and are excited to see the story come to life again. The remake, which is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and stars John Lithgow and Jason Clarke, debuts on April 5, 2019.

7. Child’s Play

When rumors began swirling that there was going to be another Chucky movie, and that it would be a remake of the original Child’s Play at that, people—including the original series creator Don Mancini—didn't initially seem too excited.

But as more details—including a cast list that includes Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry—were made public, interest in the project seemed to grow. Child’s Play hits theaters June 21, 2019.

8. The Prodigy

Creepy kids will never fail to make terrifying horror movie villains. In The Prodigy, Taylor Schilling’s character discovers something supernatural might be happening to her son when he starts acting as if he’s possessed. (Spoiler alert: He probably is). The film will be released on February 8, 2019.

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