Friday, August 07, 2009
John Hughes, R.I.P.
We've lost one of the best storytellers.
Not only did John Hughes write some of the funniest movies of the 1980's, he might have written some of the most beloved characters in film. Period. I don't know how many times I've watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Or She's Having A Baby. Or The Breakfast Club. And I damn near died laughing...on many occassions...with Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
John Hughes made movies when we last all still went to the movie theatres.
I think he was as good a writer as Charles Dickens. And like Dickens he was able to represent how it felt to be a little too young or a little too oppressed to be quite able to live up to the responsibilities our society imposes on us. While making us laugh at our selves and fall in love with our selves. His movies are absolutely perfect. Only a month ago I happened to crawl under a big blanket on a Sunday afternoon and watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off and enjoy a classic Hughes set of prat falls, conflicted leading characters and a bulls-eye emotional pay off.
A John Hughes movie had it all. And he had it all in the communal setting of a theatre and the enduring memories of generations of us who could quote the best lines and dance like Molly Ringwald for a stunt. I don't know if I had a girl friend who wasn't in love with Judd Nelson.
Not only did Hughes create movie stars out of his casts he made Chicago a movie star. Almost all of his films were set in Chicagoland and it's hard not to spend time in Chicago and not run into a place, a house or location that has been made monumental and timeless by a Hughes mise en scene.
If you're at the rental store in the next few days...pick up Planes Trains and Automobiles and give yourslef a great big belly laugh. It's a genre-bending buddy flick and has a wonderful love story between John Candy and Steve Martin...in many ways foreshadowing the bromances of Judd Apatow.
"Those aren't pillows"
A comedic tribute to John Hughes for an awards show in 1991.