Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

John Hughes, writer and director of many '80s teen movies, died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 59. He got out of film making to spend time with his family, and in some revealing letters to a girl who pen palled with him, he claimed Hollywood worked his friend John Candy to death, and wanted to get out before it happened to him. I gave Mr. Hughes a lot of crap for the varying quality of his work, but he was so prolific that it's easy to see that he was overworked as well. Rest in Peace, John.

My favorite movie of his will always be the first National Lampoon's Vacation, and as for teen movies, I'll go with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Or should I pick 16 Candles? He did make quite a few good ones, even if they were silly ones like Weird Science. How could I forget Planes, Trains and Automobiles, probably John Candy's best role, and one of Steve Martin's? Roger Ebert always gave John a little boost for his Chicago locations, but he never really made crap. Sure, some of his teen romances were flimsy. I've always found The Breakfast Club overrated, but it meant well, and it's hardly a bad film.

I've reviewed a lot of his movies under the 80's Trash of the Week feature, but none except Weird Science really deserve that moniker. And that was good trash. He continued writing under the pseudonym Edmond Dantès, the protagonist of The Count of Monte Cristo, perhaps a poke at the Hollywood system- Dantès was imprisoned unfairly for decades and meted out a measured vengeance. He did probably feel trapped into producing more and more "John Hughes films," for the money machine. If you read some of the letters he wrote, you can get an idea of how stressful it was to keep up such a run of movies. I hope he got the time he wanted, to spend with his sons. R.I.P., John, and thanks for the memories.


Mercurie said...

I can't say I was a huge fan of John Hughes--in fact some of his films I actively dislike--but he did make some good ones. Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles will always remain two of my favourite comedies from the Eighties.

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