Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
  • The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before

Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…

Wagons East (1994)

There are two very simple reasons as to why I have never watched Wagons East.

  • Reason one: I don’t much care for Westerns.
  • Reason two: By all accounts, Wagons East is a terrible movie.

So, why am I watching it?

Well, when compiling a list of 90 movies from the ’90s (that I’ve never seen before), I thought I should try out a good mix, including films that are notoriously bad. The only real way to know for sure if a film is as bad as people say is to give it a watch; so this is me giving Wagons East a watch.

As for what I know about the movie, well I know a fair bit actually.

My understanding is that actor John Candy – the star of the movie – died before the film was completed. In order to finish production, the director had to rewrite some of Candy’s scenes and employ a stand-in to cover his absence.

Wagons East was the last project that Candy worked on, but it wasn’t the last of his movies to be released. As such, it’s referred to as ‘one of his last movies’ rather than ‘his last movie’.

When Wagons East was released in cinemas, it flopped big time and was critically panned. As such, it’s barely remembered… except during discussions about really bad movies.

I’m a fan of John Candy – I ADORE Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Uncle Buck (1989), and Cool Runnings (1993) – so I hope this isn’t quite as bad as people make out. But I must admit, I have a bad feeling about this.

*Clicks the play button*

9mins – This film has been on for nine minutes. NINE MINUTES and I’m struggling. John Candy hasn’t turned up yet, the jokes are so poor I’m not even sure they’re jokes, and the whole thing looks like it’s being made up on the spot. Don’t even get me started on the fact that co-lead, Richard Lewis is boring. This is going to be a long movie. At least Robert Picardo is in this.

13mins – John Candy has finally made his debut – hurrah! Although… this scene could have been shot after his death, so this could be a stand-in – it’s really hard to tell.

16mins – So, as far as I can make out, John Candy is playing a drunk, washed-up waggon master, who is being hired to navigate a group of people who are travelling east. Seems simple enough.

23mins 30secs – John Candy has just been knocked off a horse. I’m not sure if this is a joke or an action sequence?!

26mins – Robert Picardo (to Richard Lewis): “It’s been two hours, for God’s sake.” Er… has it? Bloody hell – it feels like it’s been two hours too. This must mean the movie is almost over. *Checks watch* Ugh… it’s been 26 minutes. There’s still another hour and 20 minutes to go!

29mins – Various members of the camp are lighting their farts on fire. If this doesn’t give you an indication of how truly bad this movie is, then nothing will. I’m currently considering setting myself on fire. Not my farts – just myself. I think it’s my only option.

33mins – John Candy has just fallen into some water. This scene must have been added after Candy’s death, because that isn’t Candy in the water.

35mins 30secs – I’ve just realised that Little Shop of Horrors star, Ellen Greene is in this movie. She’s waaaaay to good to be in this crap.

44mins – Ellen Greene is playing a prostitute. Jeez, there are somethings you simply shouldn’t do for money. This movie is one of those things.

55mins 30secs – Time check: I’ve just gone past the halfway point. Just to be clear, that’s the halfway point of the movie – not my patience. My patience ran out a while ago.

56mins – As you can guess, I’m not enjoying this movie. Thing is, it’s really difficult to watch. Even without the tragic context of this movie, the film is simply not funny and is devoid of any redeemable features. I don’t get the point of hiring John Candy to be in your movie and then you give him nothing to work with.

1hr – John Candy: “Well, we’ve all done things in the past we’re not proud of.” I’m saying nothing.

1hr 15mins – I’m simply lost for words. John Candy turns up, has nothing to do, walks off. This scene wasn’t added after his death, that was John Candy! Why the heck does he not have anything to do?

1hr 30mins – I’m trying my best to get through this film, so apologies for the infrequent comments. If you were watching this film at the same time as me (and I don’t recommend you ever watch this film), you’d understand how much of a chore this has become.

1hr 32mins – Robert Picardo (to Richard Lewis) “How long do these things usually last?” Well, it’s been 1hr 32mins, Robert, so hopefully not much longer.

1hr 34mins – For the last couple of minutes, there’s been a running joke about a fight scene being dragged out for far longer than it needs to be. This whole scene is a metaphor for Wagons East.

1hr 41mins – ‘The End’. The film is finally over, yet there’s still at least six minutes of end credits. The team involved with this film really know how to pad out a pile of crap.

*Clicks stop*

Oh jeez, that was truly awful. Truly, truly awful. Wagons East is a huge mess. A big, fat, boring mess.

Without knowing a little more about the movie, it’s difficult to determine how much of the film was originally written to include John Candy. There are times when he’s clearly meant to be on screen and it isn’t him; yet there are times where he’s in a scene, but he has nothing to do. I’m really confused about what he shot and what was added.

Of all the films I’ve watched so far as part of my ’90 films of the ’90s’ challenge, Wagons East is easily the most painful film that I’ve sat through. I will never watch this again. Never ever.

Avoid at all costs.

14 down; 76 to go.

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993) Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).