John Hughes, the acclaimed film writer, director and producer, would have turned 66 today. His quiet, yet comical personality showed through in his films, in which he was able to find a voice that spoke to America’s teenagers.
Although he died in 2009, Hughes’ legacy is still prevalent in moviemaking today. There might be times when teenagers feel as if no one understands them or their problems, it’s reassuring to know that a famous writer and director once did.
For fans who feel a bit nostalgic today and perhaps want to watch one or two of his movies, here is my ranking of Hughes’ top 10 films:
10. “Weird Science” (1985). Anthony Michael Hall and lan Mitchell-Smith star in this zany fantasy-comedy about two geeks who succeed in bringing a Barbie doll to life in order to have the perfect girlfriend. Eventually she turns out to be more than they bargained for, but the story still manages to pull on some heartstrings. The film served as Hughes’ way to have a little fun with plot and characters, since his previous teen movie (“The Breakfast Club”) was more on the serious side. After watching it, viewers are reminded that Hughes had a playful side, not to mention a deep understanding of teens. Directed by John Hughes.
9. “Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987). Hughes was displeased with having to change the ending of “Pretty in Pink” from Pro-Duckie to Pro-Blane; Thus the script for this film was born. Watts (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) helps her best friend and secret crush attempt to woo and score a date with Amanda Jones (played by Lea Thompson). Although the film hammers the final nail into the coffin of the Brat Pack era, it provides a gratifying love triangle between Keith (played by Eric Stoltz), Watts and Amanda. Directed by Howard Deutch.
8. “Uncle Buck” (1989). John Candy portrays the immature bachelor in this Hughes comedy that was something of a revision of “Mr. Mom.” When Buck stands in as a last-minute nanny, some mischief occurs, as the kids are not used to his baby-sitting style. Macaulay Culkin’s character is one of the children Buck must baby-sit, and he provides an extra amount of comedic relief for the audience. After a bit of trouble from Buck’s rebellious niece, the film concludes with a happy ending (as most Hughes films do). Hughes and Candy were close friends, and this movie is one of their six collaborations. Directed by John Hughes.
7. “National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983). “Vacation ’58,” a short story written by Hughes, was the inspiration for this nightmare road trip film. Chevy Chase plays the infamous Clark Griswold, a father desperately trying to give his family an enjoyable (and surely unforgettable) getaway vacation. Beverly D’Angelo’s role as the concerned and sensible mother grounds at least some of the madness. As the plot unfolds, with its many mishaps – an unwanted car passenger, a dog killer, and a blonde in a convertible (Christie Brinkley) – Hughes captures the apprehension and aggravation that goes along with family vacations. Directed by Harold Ramis.
6. “Pretty in Pink” (1986). This melodrama, starring Brat Packers Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, easily finds its way into audiences’ hearts. The story is about Andie, a high school girl from the poor side of town who falls for Blane, a “Richie.” Without a doubt, Jon Cryer steals the show as Duckie, Andie’s flamboyant best friend and one of Hughes’ most memorable characters. Despite the fact that many fans are still upset over Duckie essentially being kicked to the curb, the kiss between Andie and Blane during “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s” sentimental ballad “If You Leave” is too precious not to adore. Directed by Howard Deutch.
5. “Home Alone” (1990). This film is aired every year at Christmas time, and it seems viewers never tire of watching Kevin McCallister outsmart the Wet Bandits, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Macaulay Culkin, though fairly young at the time, plays the role of Kevin exceptionally well. This slapstick comedy with a kid-friendly approach brought Hughes a whole new audience, and spawned four sequels, two of which were written by Hughes. Directed by Chris Columbus.
4. “Sixteen Candles” (1984). The first of Hughes’ three collaborations with Molly Ringwald, this VHS hit was written with Ringwald’s portrait hanging over Hughes’ desk. The movie’s lighthearted wit allowed Hughes to attract his teen audience, and was also his directorial debut. The plot focuses on sophomore Samantha Baker, who is longing for her family to remember her 16th birthday amid the chaos of her sister’s upcoming wedding. She happens to be crushing on heartthrob Jake Ryan, played by Michael Schoeffling (who retired from acting around 1991). Meanwhile, Anthony Michael Hall’s geeky character tries to win the heart of Samantha in order to earn some respect from his friends. Directed by John Hughes.
3. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” (1987). Forced together for an impetuous excursion from Kansas to Chicago, uptight Neal Page and easygoing Del Griffith (played by Steve Martin and John Candy, respectively) serve up comedic gold. The two complement each other very well, and practically have the audience wrapped around their fingers for the entire film. From its quotable lines to memorable scenes (one of which was filmed just south of Buffalo), Hughes has the audience crying from both laughter and sadness – an ability only truly exceptional writers and directors possess. Directed by John Hughes.
2. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986). This movie is a perfect example of something that you can watch countless times without tiring of it. Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara are the perfect trio to venture out into the beautiful city of Chicago together. Regardless of whether you’re more like Ferris or Cameron, you can’t help but adore every second of this charming tale about a group of friends who play hooky from high school and get away with it. Besides, who can forget this quote from Ferris, which definitely rings true: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Directed by John Hughes.
1. “The Breakfast Club” (1985). “Don’t you forget about me” is what viewers are told through the catchy Simple Minds tune as Judd Nelson’s character pumps his fist into the air. It certainly seems that after 31 years, nobody has forgotten the famous Saturday morning detention squad. Hughes was way ahead of his time when he wrote and directed this now-classic film, which dealt with such important issues as neglect, depression, peer pressure and suicide. With an all-star cast (Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall) and the ability to captivate the audience though filmed in virtually one room, this movie continues to dominate the teen film genre. Directed by John Hughes.
Brianna Propis is a freshman at St. Mary’s High School.