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Saturday, August 08, 2009

John Hughes

I am certainly aware of the iconic nature of the John Hughes ouevre of the 1980s. Yet I am not all that well versed in it. Which is to say that I've never seen Molly Ringwald in a movie: no Sixteen Candles (1984), no The Breakfast Club (1985), no Pretty in Pink (1986). I've also managed to miss most of Hughes' other work.

So what HAVE I seen?

Delta House (1979), a short-lived TV show based on the movie National Lampoon's Animal House. Hughes as a writer. It was the most authentic of the Animal House derivatives, but none of them lasted for very long.

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). Hughes as writer. Actually saw this in the theater, and recall enjoying it, though I probably haven't seen it since.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). Hughes as writer/director/producer. I'm pretty sure I saw it only on commercial TV. I think I need to see it on video/DVD, because I see the clips and I'm not remembering them.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). Hughes as writer/producer. Seem to see this on TV a lot during the holidays, though I don't know if I've ever watched it from beginning to end.

Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). Hughes as writer/producer. Both on commercial TV. The first one was mildly interesting, but the second one felt as though it was a retread.

Which brings me to my very favorite of the limited number of John Hughes movies I've seen, the only one besides Vacation I actually saw in the movie theater. A film I didn't know, or forgot, was a Hughes film:

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

If you've not seen it, it is the story of two unlikely traveling companions, played by Steve Martin as a tightly wound man and the late John Candy as a too chummy guy who seems oblivious to the Martin character's boundaries. It's very funny, yet quite poignant. Anyone who's ever had transportation difficulties will definitely relate. I haven't made my Top 100 movie list yet, but I suspect it will contain this film.

Now, I'll have to add some John Hughes to my Netflix list.



Roger Owen Green said...

Just read, Sincerely, John Hughes (thanks, Thom Wade). Very moving.

Greg said...

If you're looking for suggestions, I'd go with Some Kind of Wonderful. It's very much a teen flick (like most of Hughes's 1980s stuff), but it's very well done. Eric Stolz is a poor dude whose father (John Ashton) has worked hard all his life so his son can go to college. Stolz, however, is obsessed with Lea Thompson (who perhaps have never looked and acted better), and he enlists the help of his best friend, Mary Stuart Masterson, to get a date with her. You can see where it's going, but it's a very mature look at high school and how people make choices about their lives. Definitely worth a look. Much better than Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club (although it doesn't star Anthony Michael Hall, so that's a demerit).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Greg's assessment, but I would say Breakfast Club is worth watching. There is the entertaining performance by Paul Gleason as Principal Vernon, and each of the students gets a nice turn of coming to terms with themselves.

I love Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I watch it every Thanksgiving, in it hits me every time. I blogged once about how I relate to both Neil Page and Del Griffith, in different ways.

I may have to repost that with some more thoughts...