50 Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated

Film critic Roger Ebert gives a thumbs-up at the 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California.
Film critic Roger Ebert gives a thumbs-up at the 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California.
Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

When Roger Ebert hated a film, he didn't mince words. Here are 50 movies the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer absolutely loathed (including a couple of surprises that you might very well love), along with his dry assessments of their value (or lack thereof).

1. The Usual Suspects (1995) // 1.5 STARS

Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, and Gabriel Byrne in The Usual Suspects (1995).MGM Home Entertainment

"Once again, my comprehension began to slip, and finally I wrote down: 'To the degree that I do understand, I don't care.' It was, however, somewhat reassuring at the end of the movie to discover that I had, after all, understood everything I was intended to understand. It was just that there was less to understand than the movie at first suggests."

2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) // 1 star

Sean Penn and David Resnik in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982).Universal Studios Home Video

“The whole movie is a failure of taste, tone, and nerve—the waste of a good cast on erratic, offensive material that hasn't been thought through, or maybe even thought about.”

3. Armageddon (1998) // 1 star

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

“The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out. ... Armageddon reportedly used the services of nine writers. Why did it need any? The dialogue is either shouted one-liners or romantic drivel. ‘It’s gonna blow!’ is used so many times, I wonder if every single writer used it once, and then sat back from his word processor with a contented smile on his face, another day’s work done.”

4. Pink Flamingos (1972) // 0 stars

Divine in Pink Flamingos (1972).New Line Cinema

"John Waters' Pink Flamingos has been restored for its 25th anniversary revival, and with any luck at all that means I won't have to see it again for another 25 years. If I haven't retired by then, I will. ... Note: I am not giving a star rating to Pink Flamingos because stars simply seem not to apply. It should be considered not as a film but as a fact, or perhaps as an object."

5. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) // 1/2 star

Steve Dash and John Furey in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).Paramount Home Entertainment

“I remembered the movie fantasies when I was a kid. They involved teenagers who fell in love, made out with each other, customized their cars, listened to rock and roll, and were rebels without causes. Neither the kids in those movies nor the kids watching them would have understood a world view in which the primary function of teenagers is to be hacked to death. *This review will suffice for the Friday the 13th film of your choice.”

6. The Brown Bunny (2003) // 0 stars

Vincent Gallo and Chloë Sevigny in The Brown Bunny (2003).Wellspring Media

"I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny."

When Vincent Gallo, the movie’s director, responded by mocking Ebert’s weight, Ebert said, “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of The Brown Bunny."

7. Spice World (1997) // 1/2 STAR

The Spice Girls star in Spice World (1997).Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"Spice World is obviously intended as a ripoff of A Hard Day's Night, which gave The Beatles to the movies ... the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented—while, let's face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts."

8. Hocus Pocus (1993) // 1 star

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy in Hocus Pocus (1993).Walt Disney Pictures

“Of the film’s many problems, the greatest may be that all three witches are thoroughly unpleasant. They don’t have personalities; they have behavior patterns and decibel levels. A good movie inspires the audience to subconsciously ask, ‘Give me more!’ The witches in this one inspired my silent cry, ‘Get me out of here!’”

(What can we say? Ebert was occasionally wrong.)

9. Tommy Boy (1995) // 1 star

David Spade and Chris Farley in Tommy Boy (1995).Paramount Home Video

"No one is funny in Tommy Boy. There are no memorable lines. None of the characters is interesting, except for the enigmatic figure played by Rob Lowe, who seems to have wandered over from Hamlet. Judging by the evidence on the screen, the movie got a green light before a usable screenplay had been prepared, with everybody reassuring themselves that since they were such funny people, inspiration would overcome them.”

10. The Village (2004) // 1 star

Bryce Dallas Howard in The Village (2004).Touchstone Pictures

“Eventually the secret of Those, etc., is revealed. It’s a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It’s so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don’t know the secret anymore. And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we’re back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.”

11. Mad Dog Time (1996) // 0 stars

Jeff Goldblum in Mad Dog Time (1996).MGM Home Entertainment

"Mad Dog Time is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time. Oh, I've seen bad movies before. But they usually made me care about how bad they were. Watching Mad Dog Time is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line ... Mad Dog Time should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor."

12. Freddy Got Fingered (2001)// 0 stars

Tom Green stars in Freddy Got Fingered (2001).Chris Helcermanas-Benge/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."

13. Thor (2011) // 1 1/2 stars

Chris Hemsworth stars in Thor (2011).Disney/Marvel

“The story might perhaps be adequate for an animated film for children, with Thor, Odin and the others played by piglets. In the arena of movies about comic book superheroes, it is a desolate vastation. Nothing exciting happens, nothing of interest is said, and the special effects evoke not a place or a time but simply special effects.”

14. Charlie's Angels (2000) // 1/2 STAR

Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels (2000).Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

Charlie’s Angels is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie.”

15. Mannequin (1987) // 1/2 STAR

Andrew McCarthy stars in Mannequin (1987).MGM Home Entertainment

“A lot of bad movies are fairly throbbing with life. Mannequin is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater. Halfway through, I was ready for someone to lead us in reciting the rosary.”

16. Exit To Eden (1994) // 1/2 STAR

Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell in Exit to Eden (1994).HBO Home Video

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t get Rosie O’Donnell. I’ve seen her in three or four movies now, and she generally had the same effect on me as fingernails on a blackboard. She’s harsh and abrupt and staccato and doesn’t seem to be having any fun. She looks mean. ... What were your first thoughts the first time Rosie turned up in the leather dominatrix uniform? Did you maybe have slight misgivings that you were presiding over one of the more misguided film projects of recent years?”

17. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) // 0 STARS

Rob Schneider and Eddie Griffin in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

"[The title character] makes a living prostituting himself. How much he charges I'm not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie. Deuce Bigalow is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes ... Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

18. The Love Guru (2008) // 1 star

Justin Timberlake and Mike Myers in The Love Guru (2008).Paramount Home Entertainment

“[Mike] Myers has some funny moments, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents. Every reference to a human sex organ or process of defecation is not automatically funny simply because it is naughty, but Myers seems to labor under that delusion. He acts as if he’s getting away with something, but in fact all he’s getting away with is selling tickets to a dreary experience.”

19. She's Out Of Control (1989) // 0 stars

Tony Danza and Ami Dolenz in She's Out of Control (1989).Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

“What planet did the makers of this film come from? What assumptions do they have about the purpose and quality of life? I ask because She’s Out of Control is simultaneously so bizarre and so banal that it’s a first: the first movie fabricated entirely from sitcom clichés and plastic lifestyles, without reference to any known plane of reality.”

20. Summer School (1987) // 1/2 STAR

Dean Cameron and Gary Riley in Summer School (1987).Paramount Home Video

“You see it, you leave the theater, and then it evaporates, leaving just a slight residue, something like a vaguely unpleasant taste in the memory.”

21. Clifford (1994) // 1/2 STAR

Charles Grodin and Martin Short in Clifford (1994).MGM Home Entertainment

“It’s not bad in any usual way. It’s bad in a new way all its own. There is something extraterrestrial about it, as if it’s based on the sense of humor of an alien race with a completely different relationship to the physical universe. The movie is so odd, it’s almost worth seeing just because we’ll never see anything like it again. I hope.”

22. North (1994) // 0 stars

Elijah Wood stars in North (1994).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

Alan Zweibel wrote this film, and he got a chance to confront Ebert about the review. In a bathroom.

23. 200 Cigarettes (1999)// 1/2 STAR

The cast of 200 Cigarettes (1999).Paramount Home Entertainment

"Maybe another 200 cigarettes would have helped; coughing would be better than some of this dialogue."

24. Death To Smoochy (2002) // 1/2 STAR

Edward Norton in Death to Smoochy (2002).Warner Home Video

"In all the annals of the movies, few films have been this odd, inexplicable, and unpleasant."

25. Corky Romano (2001) // 1/2 STAR

Chris Kattan stars in Corky Romano (2001).Jon Farmer, Touchstone Home Entertainment

Corky Romano is like a dead zone of comedy. The concept is exhausted, the ideas are tired, the physical gags are routine, the story is labored, the actors look like they can barely contain their doubts about the project.”

26. Saving Silverman (2001) // 1/2 STAR

Steve Zahn and Jack Black in Saving Silverman (2001).Joseph Lederer, Columbia Pictures

"Saving Silverman is so bad in so many different ways that perhaps you should see it, as an example of the lowest slopes of the bell-shaped curve."

He included a critique of Neil Diamond, who makes a guest appearance in the movie: "As for Neil Diamond, Saving Silverman is his first appearance in a fiction film since The Jazz Singer (1980), and one can only marvel that he waited 20 years to appear in a second film, and found one even worse than his first one."

27. The Jazz Singer (1980) // 1 star

Keystone/Getty Images

Speaking of Neil Diamond and The Jazz Singer: From rogerebert.com:

"Diamond's whole presence in this movie is offensively narcissistic. His songs are melodramatic, interchangeable, self-aggrandizing groans and anguished shouts, backed protectively by expensive and cloying instrumentation. His dramatic presence also looks over-protected, as if nobody was willing to risk offending him by asking him to seem involved, caring, and engaged.

"Diamond plays the whole movie looking at people's third shirt buttons, as if he can't be bothered to meet their eyes and relate with them. It's strange about the Diamond performance: It's not just that he can't act. It's that he sends out creepy vibes. He seems self-absorbed, closed off, grandiose, out of touch with his immediate surroundings."

28. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) // 1 star

Jim Carrey stars in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

"Most of the people look as if they would rather be in other movies. The movie basically has one joke, which is Ace Ventura's weird nerdy strangeness. If you laugh at this joke, chances are you laugh at Jerry Lewis, too, and I can sympathize with you even if I can't understand you. I found the movie a long, unfunny slog through an impenetrable plot. Kids might like it. Real little kids."

29. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) // 1/2 STAR

Estelle Getty in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992).Universal Studios Home Video

"Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief. It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened."

It should be noted that Stallone pretty much agreed with Ebert's assessment. "I made some truly awful movies," he once stated. "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

30. The Dukes Of Hazzard (2005) // 1 star

Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, and Seann William Scott in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005).Warner Home Video

"Of course you don't have to be smart to get into The Dukes of Hazzard. But people like Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds should have been smart enough to stay out of it. Here is a lame-brained, outdated wheeze about a couple of good ol' boys who roar around the back roads of the South in the General Lee, their beloved 1969 Dodge Charger. As it happens, I also drove a 1969 Dodge Charger. You could have told them apart because mine did not have a Confederate flag painted on the roof."

31. Godzilla (1998) // 1.5 STARS

Matthew Broderick in Godzilla (1998).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

"Going to see Godzilla at the Palais of the Cannes Film Festival is like attending a satanic ritual in St. Peter's Basilica. It's a rebuke to the faith that the building represents. Cannes touchingly adheres to a belief that film can be intelligent, moving and grand. Godzilla is a big, ugly, ungainly device to give teenagers the impression they are seeing a movie."

32. The Bucket List (2007) // 1 star

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List (2007).Warner Home Video

"The Bucket List is a movie about two old codgers who are nothing like people, both suffering from cancer that is nothing like cancer, and setting off on adventures that are nothing like possible. I urgently advise hospitals: Do not make the DVD available to your patients; there may be an outbreak of bedpans thrown at TV screens."

33. Dirty Love (2005) // 0 STARs

Jenny McCarthy in Dirty Love (2005).First Look International

"I would like to say more, but—no, I wouldn't. I would not like to say more. I would like to say less. On the basis of Dirty Love, I am not certain that anyone involved has ever seen a movie, or knows what one is."

34. Battlefield Earth (2000) // 1/2 STAR

John Travolta stars in Battlefield Earth (2000)Warner Bros.

"This movie is awful in so many different ways. Even the opening titles are cheesy. Sci-fi epics usually begin with a stab at impressive titles, but this one just displays green letters on the screen in a type font that came with my Macintosh. Then the movie's subtitle unscrolls from left to right in the kind of 'effect' you see in home movies."

35. The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (2000) // 1/2 STAR

Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

"This is an ideal first movie for infants, who can enjoy the bright colors on the screen and wave their tiny hands to the music."

36. The Hot Chick (2002) // 1/2 star

Rob Schneider and Anna Faris in The Hot Chick (2002).Touchstone Home Video

“Through superhuman effort of the will, I did not walk out of The Hot Chick, but reader, I confess I could not sit through the credits. The MPAA rates this PG-13. It is too vulgar for anyone under 13, and too dumb for anyone over 13.”

37. V/H/S (2012) // 1/2 star

Hannah Fierman in V/H/S (2012).Magnolia Home Entertainment

"Not ready for d/i/g/i/t/a/l/," Ebert titled this review. "What's the point? None of the segments is particularly compelling. Strung together, it's way too much of a muchness. These ambitious young artists might be better advised to make what I naively call a 'real movie.'"

38. Darling Companion (2012) // 1 star

Diane Keaton in Darling Companion (2012).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“It is depressing to reflect on the wealth of talent that conspired to make this inert and listless movie. I walked in knowing it was directed by Lawrence Kasdan (Grand Canyon, The Big Chill). And that its cast included Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest, and Sam Shepard. How could it fail to be good? Lacking that, how could it fail to be fair? How could it be so appallingly pointless? How could it be such thin soup?”

39. New Year’s Eve (2011) // 1/2 star

Robert De Niro and Halle Berry in New Year's Eve (2011).Warner Home Video

New Year's Eve is a dreary plod through the sands of time until finally the last grain has trickled through the hourglass of cinematic sludge. How is it possible to assemble more than two dozen stars in a movie and find nothing interesting for any of them to do? What sins did poor Hilary Swank commit, that after winning two Oscars, she has to play the role of the woman in charge of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square? ... I'm not even going to begin to summarize the paltry series of subplots the all-star cast is trapped in. I like you too much.”

40. The Human Centipede (2010) // 0 stars

Dieter Laser stars in The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009).© 2009 sixentertainment/An IFC Films Release

“I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine.”

41. Old Dogs (2009) // 1 star

Seth Green and Tom Woodruff Jr. in Old Dogs (2009).Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

"Old Dogs is stupefyingly dimwitted. What were John Travolta and Robin Williams thinking of? Apparently their agents weren't perceptive enough to smell the screenplay in its advanced state of decomposition, but wasn't there a loyal young intern in the office to catch them at the elevator and whisper, ‘You've paid too many dues to get involved with such crap at this stage in your careers.'"

42. The Back-Up Plan (2010) // 1 star

Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin in The Back-up Plan (2010).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Some movies are no better than second-rate sitcoms. Other movies are no better than third-rate sitcoms. The Back-up Plan doesn't deserve comparison with sitcoms. It plays like an unendurable TV commercial about beautiful people with great lifestyles and not a thought in their empty little heads.”

43. Good Luck Chuck (2007) // 1 star

Jessica Alba and Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck (2007).Lionsgate Home Entertainment

"There is a word for this movie, and that word is: Ick."

44. The Change-Up (2011) // 1.5 stars

Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in The Change-Up (2011).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

“The film, in fact, seems to go out of its way to be vulgar and offensive, as if ‘adult’ audiences crave such an assault. Anyone who enjoys this film cannot fairly be considered an adult. Pity about the R rating. It will keep out those callow enough to enjoy it.”

45. Atlas Shrugged: PART I (2011) // 1 star

Matthew Marsden and Taylor Schilling in Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011).20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

“I feel like my arm is all warmed up and I don’t have a game to pitch. I was primed to review Atlas Shrugged. I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that I could discuss ... And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault. I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand’s 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it.”

46. Mr. Magoo (1997) // 1/2 STAR

Leslie Nielsen in Mr. Magoo (1997).Buena Vista Home Entertainment

“Magoo drives a red Studebaker convertible in Mr. Magoo, a fact I report because I love Studebakers and his was the only thing I liked in the film. Mr. Magoo is transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly.”

47. Jason X (2001) // 1/2 STAR

Kane Hodder in Jason X (2001).Scream Factory

"'This sucks on so many levels.' Dialogue from Jason X; rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. Jason X sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness, and aptness of thought."

48. Sorority Boys (2002) // 1/2 star

Barry Watson, Harland Williams, and Michael Rosenbaum in Sorority Boys (2002).Buena Vista Home Entertainment

“Because the intelligence level of the characters must be low, very low, very very low, for the masquerade to work, the movie contains no wit, only labored gags involving falsies, lipstick, unruly erections, and straight guys who don't realize they're trying to pick up a man. (I imagine yokels in the audience responding with the Gradually Gathering Guffaw as they catch on. ‘Hey, Jethro! He don't know she's a guy! Haw! Haw! Haw!’) ... Sorority Boys will be the worst movie playing in any multiplex in America this weekend, and, yes, I realize Crossroads is still out there.”

49. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) // 1/2 star

Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996).Paramount Home Entertainment

“Many scenes are so inept as to beggar description. Some of the lion attacks seem to have been staged by telling the actors to scream while a lion rug was waved in front of the camera ... Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas never for a second look like anything other than thoroughly unhappy movie stars stuck in a humid climate and a doomed production. I hope someone made a documentary about the making of The Ghost and the Darkness. Now that would be a movie worth seeing.”

50. Christmas with the Kranks (2004) // 1 star

Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis in Christmas with the Kranks (2004).Zade Rosenthal, Revolution Studios

"It's a holiday movie of stunning awfulness that gets even worse when it turns gooey at the end. And what is it finally so happy about? Why, that the Kranks' neighbors succeed in enforcing their lockstep conformity upon them. They form a herd mentality, without the mentality. The movie is not funny, ever, in any way, beginning to end.”

Reviews via RogerEbert.com.

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

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- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

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Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

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- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Video games

Nintendo

- Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

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- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

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Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

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- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

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Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

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15 Moving Facts About Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987).
Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987).
Paramount Pictures

Steve Martin and John Candy starred in the holiday movie classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles, writer/director John Hughes’s first big foray away from writing about teenage angst. Martin played Neal Page, a marketing executive who is desperate to get back home to Chicago to see his wife and kids for Thanksgiving, but along the way is thoroughly aggravated by shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (Candy) and the many, many, many mishaps that befall the two throughout their travels. Here are some facts about the film that are not pillows.

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was inspired by John Hughes’s own hellish trip trying to get from New York City To Chicago.

Before he became a screenwriter, Hughes used to work as a copywriter for the Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago. One day he had an 11 a.m. presentation scheduled in New York City on a Wednesday, and planned to return home on a 5 p.m. flight. Winter winds forced all flights to Chicago to be canceled that night, so he stayed in a hotel. A snowstorm in Chicago the next day continued the delays. The plane he eventually got on ended up being diverted to Denver. Then Phoenix. Hughes didn’t make it back until Monday. Experiencing such a hellish trip might explain how Hughes managed to write the first 60 pages of Planes, Trains and Automobiles in just six hours.

2. Howard Deutch was originally supposed to direct Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Deutch directed Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful for Hughes. Hughes decided to direct himself after Steve Martin signed on. Deutch got to direct The Great Outdoors instead.

3. Steve Martin thought the script for Planes, Trains and Automobiles was too long.

The comedian, who had written his own screenplays, thought the 145-page length of the script was a lot for a comedy. When Martin asked Hughes where he thought they might cut scenes, Hughes was confused by the question. Martin later claimed that the first cut of Planes, Trains and Automobiles was four and a half hours long.

4. John Hughes acted out the entire movie to a publicist hoping to work on Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Reid Rosefelt went in to meet Hughes for the unit publicist position. Rosefelt recalled in his blog that he found it strange, but admirable, that Hughes did not allow Rosefelt to see the script to the movie he would potentially work on and promote beforehand. After the two grew more comfortable with one another at their meeting, Rosefelt asked what the movie was about—he only knew Steve Martin and John Candy were starring and it was called Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Hughes then performed the entire movie for him. Rosefelt didn’t get the job.

5. John Candy arrived to shoot Planes, Trains and Automobiles with exercise equipment in tow.

On the first day of shooting, the crew brought in treadmills, weights, and other exercise equipment for Candy to use in his hotel suite. Martin said Candy didn’t use any of it.

6. The entirety of Planes, Trains and Automobiles was meant to be shot in Chicago, but there wasn’t enough snow.

Some exterior scenes were filmed in Buffalo, New York. Martin said that the cast and crew pretty much lived the plot of the movie. “As we would shoot, we were hopping planes, trains, and automobiles, trying to find snow.”

7. The constant delays on production on Planes, Trains and Automobiles were very beneficial to one actor.

In John Hughes: A Life in Film, Kirk Honeycutt wrote that one actor, who played a truck driver, was only supposed to have one line and work for one day. Hughes chose to keep him on standby. The actor ended up working enough days while the crew waited for the snow to come that he was able to make a down payment on a house. It’s very possible this was Troy Evans, who was uncredited, as the shy truck driver in the movie. He went on to appear, credited, on ER for the show’s final five seasons as Frank Martin.

8. Edie Mcclurg’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles improvisations impressed John Hughes.

McClurg, probably best known as Grace, Principal Rooney’s secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, played the St. Louis car rental employee upon whom Neal dropped 18 F-bombs. For the first few takes, McClurg simply raised her finger and had a standard phone conversation with a customer. Then Hughes told her to improvise talking on the phone about Thanksgiving. She then came up with the stuff about needing roasted marshmallows and taking care of the crescent rolls because she can’t cook based on her own life. When she finished, Hughes asked her how she came up with those details so quickly. When McClurg explained she just got it from her own life just like he does with his scripts, he said, “Oh yeah!” She claims people to this day ask her to tell them they’re f*cked.

9. Steve Martin and Edie McClurg's F-bomb-filled exchange earned Planes, Trains and Automobiles an R rating.

That sweary tirade between Martin and McClurg is reportedly one of the scenes that made Martin want to make the movie. Its overuse of the word f*ck is also apparently what pushed the movie's rating from PG-13 to R.

10. In one scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Susan Page is watching She’s Having A Baby—another John Hughes movie.

In the scene that goes back and forth between Neal trying to sleep next to Del clearing his sinuses and Neal’s wife (Laila Robins) watching TV alone in their bed, she is somehow watching She’s Having a Baby, which wouldn’t be released in theaters until February of the following year. Kevin Bacon stars in that movie, and made a cameo in Planes as the guy who out-hustles Neal in getting a cab. Some people believe Bacon—who was officially listed in the credits as “Taxi Racer”—was playing his She’s Having a Baby character, Jake, in that scene.

11. A scene in a strip club was cut from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

After their car blew up, Neal and Del went inside a strip club to use a phone, where Del got distracted by the dancers. Actress Debra Lamb didn’t know that her scene was cut until she went to a screening.

12. Jeri Ryan was cut from Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but her scene wasn’t.

It was the actress’s first role. She was one of the passengers on the bus ride and couldn’t help but laugh at Martin and Candy’s antics. They re-shot the scenes without her.

13. Elton John wrote a song for Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Carlo Allegri, Getty Images

Elton John and lyricist Gary Osborne were almost finished writing the theme song when Paramount insisted on ownership of the recording master, which John’s record company would not allow. The song has never been released.

14. In the original ending of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Del followed Neal all the way home.

Hughes decided during the editing process that instead, John Candy’s character would be “a noble person” and finally take the hint from Martin’s character, and let Neal return home alone, before Neal has a change of heart and finds Del again.

15. In the scene where Neal thinks about Del on the train in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin didn’t know the camera was on.

In order to get the new ending he wanted, Hughes and editor Paul Hirsch went back to look for footage they previously didn’t think would be used. Hughes had kept the cameras rolling in between takes on the Chicago train, without his lead’s knowledge, while Martin was thinking about his next lines. Hughes thought Martin had a “beautiful expression” on his face in that unguarded moment.