Thursday, August 6, 2009

John Hughes


If you were a teen ager in the 80s, you are feeling the loss of Hughes, who chronicled post-adolescent angst in a string of successful films. I was (ahem) not a teen-ager in the 80s, so I saw only one or two of his hits. He was responsible for boosting the careers of several "Brat Packers" in films such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.

John was originally a writer, and it was his work with the satirical magazine National Lampoon which lead to his film career. He provided the screenplays for several of the Lampoon films, including ...Vacation and ...Christmas Vacation, before stepping behind the camera with his teen comedies. Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off , in addition to his Molly Ringwald trilogy mentioned above, cemented his reputation as a writer who could recreate the rhythm and language of the Gen X teen-ager. Here's a fun clip which perhaps I should have saved for the Weekly Dance Party, but what the hell. I might consider this a John Hughes Signature Clip, as music and dance were always central elements of his teen flicks:

Hughes had some success writing for grown-ups too, providing Steve Martin and John Candy with Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, and working with Candy again in Uncle Buck.

Home Alone, which he wrote and produced, dwarfed his previous successes and is his biggest commercial hit. In his later career, he occasionally wrote under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes (a name he swiped from French literature: Dantes is the fictional hero known better as The Count of Monte Cristo); he provided the stories for Beethoven and Maid in Manhattan under that moniker. He wrote other familiar film scripts such as Mr. Mom, Dennis the Menace, and the remakes of 101 Dalmatians and Flubber.

Hughes has largely absented himself from the public eye since 1994. He died today from a heart attack at the age of 59.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

NOOO!!!! These were totally my movies, especially "Breakfast Club." So sad! I actually teared up...