It was a pleasure to be a part of the John Hughes Blogathon over at Cinema Parrot Disco. I missed out on the chance to review some of Hughes’ best movies, but even some of his less known work deserves credit to. Here is my first of two reviews for the JHB, Only the Lonley.
run time: 104 mins
considered: Comedy, Romance
starring: John Candy, Maureen O’Hara, Ally Sheedy, Kevin Dunn, James Belushi, Macaulay Culkin, Anthony Quinn
movie summary: John Candy is Danny Muldoon, a 38-year-old Chicago cop who stills lives at home with his mom Rose (Maureen O’Hara). The pair do almost everything together from eating breakfast, going to the bingo, and going out to the local pub for a drink. One night when Danny is off duty he breaks up a fight in the bar between two old guys, who dragged their dead best friend out for one more drink, and the funeral parlor director. The director’s daughter Theresa (Ally Sheedy) tags along to make sure nothing happened to the body since she is responsible for his appearance during the funeral. Danny is instantly attracted to her despite his mother’s disapproval.
The next day, dressed in his cop uniform, he stops by the funeral parlor and introduces himself. He stumbles and mumbles his way through asking her out which she happily accepts. Their first date is in centerfield of Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox play. Danny likes to mention “sometimes pays to be a cop” while telling inappropriate stories the whole night while Theresa quietly sits there. When walking her back home he appears depressed thinking he messed the whole night up, she stops him to explain how shy she is and that she is working on and wants to see him again. The blossoming couple begin to go out on more dates to fancy dinners and the ballet.
Danny gets help from him his brother Patrick (Kevin Dunn) to get Rose out of the house for the weekend so Theresa can come over for a nice home-made dinner and spend the night. After reluctantly agreeing to go away, she asks Nick (Anthony Quinn) the next door neighbor to keep an eye on the house and to let her know what time Danny’s girlfriend leaves. After a wonderful night together, Danny makes Theresa breakfast in bed when Rose comes home early. Danny has to think and act quickly to get Theresa out without his mom finding out. In one of the movie’s best scenes, Theresa makes it out safe and sound while Rose continues to unpack unaware of what just happened.
Within a few days the three of them go out for dinner when Rose uses the opportunity to bash Theresa so bad that she gets up and leaves. Danny, who sat there and let his mom put down his girlfriend, rushes out to smooth everything over only to get dumped for not being man enough to stand up for his girlfriend. Rose is very happy she has pushed Danny’s girlfriend away and life can go back to the way things used to be before she came into the picture. When they return home Danny flips on his mom and says he’s going to buy a ring and proposal to Theresa because she is the best thing to ever happen to him.
Theresa says yes and they begin to plan a wedding. Rose finally comes around and accepts Theresa into the family, even though she still doesn’t like the whole wedding idea. Patrick tries to convince Danny he is making a huge mistake and should move with his mom to Florida to help her settle into retirement. Soon everything falls apart for Danny because he loves his mom and doesn’t want to disappoint her, but doesn’t quite know how to separate himself and be happy with his own life. The wedding gets called off when neither the bride or groom show up, and weeks go by before Danny begins to help his mom pack for Florida.
On the day the moving trucks show up, Rose has convinced Danny that this is the best thing for him, that he needs to move on and forget all about his ex-girlfriend. Danny, still visibly heartbroken, decides to finally put his foot down and stand up for himself. He tells his mom he is not moving with her, that he loves her but she has prevented from the one other girl he has ever loved in his life. Rose is furious at first but knows the time has come for her to move and let Danny have a life. She encourages him to run back to her, fix their relationship, and get married. Danny gets the keys to a police cruiser and rushes to the funeral parlor only to find out Theresa has left for New York. He must call in all his favors as a cop to track down Theresa’s train before it is too late and he doesn’t get the chance to apologize.
my thoughts: One or two people may find this crazy but I actually remember renting this movie when I was a kid. (Yes, I have loved rom-coms for a very long time) During the holiday season I was watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for the first time and decided to read John Candy’s biography on IMDb when I released he was in this movie. I wanted to watch this again and see if I remembered anything about it, so when I saw the John Hughes blogathon on Cinema Parrot Disco I jumped at the opportunity to re watch this after all these years.
John Candy is at his best again as the loveable fat guy who has never had any luck with the ladies despite being the ultimate nice guy. Just like in many of his famous roles, Candy is funny, caring, and charming as Danny who manages to win the heart of the super shy extroverted Theresa. Ally Sheedy is a very pretty women who has a very sad depressing job but dreams of being more. She has always scared the guys away until Danny comes into the picture. She wants to do whatever she can to keep him, that is until he messes everything up and she realizes that she can never win against Rose. She is the ideal partner for Danny even though he is 38 and living at home with his mom played perfectly by Maureen O’Hara. O’Hara is rude, arrogant, and tells it like how it is, she refuses to lose her son to any girl let alone the perfect one for Danny. She goes to great lengths to keep them apart but true love will prevail for both her and Danny.
This movie came out in 1991 and was probably a great rom-com for that timeframe but since then I have been spoiled with much more romantic and passionate movies since then I can’t say this is a great movie. It is funny, charming and worth a one time watch, but nothing more.
my star rating: 6 out 10