Director John Hughes - Don’t You Forget About Him.
There was a time in the world of movies, somewhere between 1984 and 1989 when director John Hughes ruled the screens. With a successful string of theatrical hits like “Sixteen Candles”, “Weird Science”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Planes Trains & Automobiles” and “Uncle Buck”, his films not only addressed and embraced the rather tedious social lives of young people, but also brought a new degree of fun to screen comedy. Several of his films ushered in the era of the “Brat Pack” in the 1980s, which included young stars like Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall.
I was saddened to hear that John Hughes died of a heart attack in New York City last Thursday August 6, 2009 – this following what has seemed like an unfortunate string of celebrity deaths this summer, including Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson (both of them on the same day, no less).
Having recently seen Anthony Michael Hall as a serious, grown-up reporter in “The Dark Knight”, it’s hard to believe that he was “the Geek” who had me in stitches back in 1984 when I first saw “Sixteen Candles”. In 1986, I personally considered a wise-ass, rebellious character like Ferris Bueller a true hero (for a while, anyway).
So long, John. You were good. You were very, very good – and you will be missed.
I was working in a Santa Monica record store in 1986 when I met John Hughes. The Breakfast Club soundtrack was playing when I was ringing up an impressive stack of obscure sixties albums for him. We commented on the coincidence. That was the first and last time I saw him.
I very much enjoyed his films. They were heartwarming stories about youngsters, rather than the juvenile fare we too often see in cinemas today. His films were entertaining and art, too.
I make it an annual Thanksgiving holiday tradition to watch PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES.
Without knowing anything about John Hughes, I, too am sorry to hear about his passing.
John Hughes has been off the radar for over a decade. Despite how prolific he was, his best work, in my opinion, was made during the ‘80s. Sad news, nonetheless.
Hughes' high school-themed movies, initially, did not appeal to me as I was in high school at the time and simply preferred fantasy and action-adventure movies. His early films seemed preachy and soap opera-ish and reminded me of everything I hated about high school. Eventually, though, I came to appreciate Hughes' movies, and a few of them I consider personal favorites and outright classics.
The stuff of his (whether as writer, producer, director or any combination) I can remember seeing (and where) include:
MR. MOM (Barstow Twin, Barstow, CA)
National Lampoon’s VACATION (Movies 7, Victorville, CA)
SIXTEEN CANDLES (Military Theater, Ft. Irwin, CA)
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Movies 7, Victorville, CA)
National Lampoon’s EUROPEAN VACATION (Movies 7, Victorville, CA)
WEIRD SCIENCE (Movies 7, Victorville, CA; Military Theater, Heidelberg, Germany)
PRETTY IN PINK (National, Los Angeles, CA; Military Theater, Heidelberg, Germany)
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (Kuhio Twin, Honolulu, HI; Movies 7, Victorville, CA; AMC Commerce Center 6, San Bernardino, CA)
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (National, Los Angeles, CA)
PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES (Movies 7, Victorville, CA)
SHE’S HAVING A BABY (AMC Victor Valley Mall 10, Victorville, CA)
THE GREAT OUTDOORS (AMC Victor Valley Mall 10, Victorville, CA)
UNCLE BUCK (Barstow Station 4, Barstow, CA)
National Lampoon’s CHRISTMAS VACATION (National, Los Angeles, CA)
HOME ALONE (Cinedome, Orange, CA)
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES (AMC Marina Pacifica 6, Long Beach, CA)
HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (UA Marketplace 6, Long Beach, CA)
DENNIS THE MENACE (Edwards Westminster 10, Westminster, CA)
BABY’S DAY OUT (Wallace Lakeside Cinema 4, South Lake Tahoe, CA)
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (Wallace Barstow Station 4, Barstow, CA)
I remember when the theatres I was working at as a projectionist was going to get any of his movies, the manager would order extra stock and have on extra staff. His movies were in those days boxoffice gold, at least where I worked.
AND…most important, his movies were fun AND entertaining without all the bells and whistles we have today.
Hughes was one of the few people to walk away from Hollywood at the peak of his popularity to be with his family and raise his sons. Seems like he was taken too early.