4 days ago
Friday, August 7, 2009
RIP John Hughes
Writer/director John Hughes passed away this morning at the young age of 59. Over the years, Hughes brought us many great films and had the golden touch between the years of 1984 and 1990. During that time, he wrote and/or directed the following: Sixteen Candles; The Breakfast Club; European Vacation; Pretty in Pink; Weird Science; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Uncle Buck; Christmas Vacation; and Home Alone.
After 1991's Curly Sue, Hughes altogether stopped directing pictures, though he continued to write and produce films that did not ever reach the same level of quality as those listed above.
I think the gross-out comedies with a heart of the last ten years (American Pie, Superbad,etc.) really owe something to Hughes. He created the formula with Sixteen Candles, and for my money, the prototype remains the best example of this subgenre. I have fond memories of this movie, due in no small part to the fact that I was able to see it at a young age because back then the MPAA didn't have a stick up its a-- and gave it a rating of PG, despite the fact there was full front nudity, lots of innuendo, curse words, and adult humor. Ah the good old days.
Sixteen Candles is my favorite Hughes's movie, but Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a very close second. Yes, his comedies are sometimes goofy, but they were always bolstered by a good story with a real plot. They didn't simply move from one comedic set piece to the next. And though I wouldn't attend St. Joe's Prep until 1993, I grew up on these high school 80s flicks and they really informed my teenage years.
Hughes became something of a recluse which only added to his mystique and intrigued his loyal fanbase. According to wiki, he "retired from the public eye and moved to Wisconsin" in 1994, in his later years becoming a farmer. Interestingly, he began penning screenplays under the pseudonym "Edmond Dantes," which we all know was the Count of Monte Cristo's real name. Dumas's best story has a lot going for it, including its exploration of the theme of masks we wear as human beings, both literal and metaphorical. It's quite telling that Hughes would select the name Edmond Dantes to serve as his mask when writing.
RIP John Hughes. You will be missed.