With the sad news that director John Hughes passed away from a heart attack in New York City Thursday morning, the writers of Biff Bam Pop are sharing their favourite Hughes films:
Scotty G on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:
I think it’s pretty safe to say that John Hughes was one of the most influential filmmakers of the 80’s. You look at the body of work that he produced in that decade, and it is still amazing how well the films hold up, even if they don’t age well. I don’t mean those last six words to be interpreted with any hostility. In fact, it is a compliment. The John Hughes films have a definite 80’s feel to them, especially his teenage films. They are usually set in an Illinois suburb, and deal with teenage problems. There was an innocence and sense of fun in his films that the teenage comedies of today cannot come close to matching. If you need any proof, just watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
While Hughes will be remembered for his teenage comedies, there is one film that is a true standout for me from everything else he did. It was one of his few adult films, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. John Candy and Steve Martin give their finest performances on film. Nothing they did before or after this came close to the magic and chemistry they had together. It made you laugh [just watch Steve Martin’s rental car scene], and just as quickly make you go serious. While Planes, Trains, and Automobiles remains one of my favourite movies to this day, I would argue the scene below, is one of the finest moments on film.
John Hughes was respected in the industry. Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow were among his biggest fans, and to a degree you can see a little bit of him in their films. I wish John Hughes had a resurgence before he died. One last hurrah to go out on a high, but unfortunately that will not come to be. Instead, he has left us too soon, but to many people like myself, he will not be forgotten.
Andy Burns on The Breakfast Club:
I’ve never been a comedy guy. I’ve seen my fair share but it’s rare that I’ll go out to the theatre to see a movie for laughs. All my John Hughes experiences have been at home on television. On VHS, more specifically. Uncle Buck. Home Alone (which he wrote). Pretty In Pink. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Weird Science. I rented them or watched them on WUTV out of Buffalo.
Out of all them, the one that resonated the most, the one that still does, is The Breakfast Club. It’s so easy to sum it – 5 high school students serve detention on a Saturday and discover things about themselves and each other that they didn’t know. Still, I think it’s Hughes’ most sophisticated film, a teen movie that goes deeper than most. Great performances, a stellar soundtrack (did you know Billy Idol was offered “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” but passed on it) – The Breakfast Club had it all. With that film, and his other 80’s classics, John Hughes singlehandedly created the 80’s Brat Pack. Whatever notoriety Molly, Judd, Andrew, Anthony, Ally, and Emilio had back then, it was because of their work with him.
Ian Rogers on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:
It would be too hard to name my favourite John Hughes film, simply because I loved them all. Movies were a big part of my childhood, and those written and directed by John Hughes pretty much defined the ’80s for me. He showed us that the geek can get the girl, as we saw in Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, and he showed us that the geeks can also make the girl, as they did in Weird Science. But if I had to pick a standout film, the one that not only made me laugh but also made me — okay, I can admit it — cry, I’d have to say it was Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
John Hughes’ Thanksgiving road trip starring Steve Martin and John Candy was a dream come true for me. It not only combined the talents of three of the funniest men in Hollywood, but went beyond the material and ended up being more than a wacky comedy about lost luggage and crappy hotel rooms. It actually turned out to be a very touching film about loneliness, not just around the holidays but every day of our lives. I always thought John Candy’s travelling shower-ring salesman was for adults what Anthony Michael Hall’s Farmer Ted was for kids. A warm, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, look at the outsider.
And who can forget that cameo by Kevin Bacon as the guy who steals Steve Martin’s cab?
John Hughes was definitely some kind of wonderful.
Ogmios On Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
Jeffrey Jones + Yello + chewing gum = amazing.
JP On Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
Who hasn’t taken a day off from high school?
For the most part, I was a few years off the target market for all those 1980’s teen angst John Hughes films but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off left an indelible impression upon my life both then and now. I distinctly remember skipping school on a few occasions with friends, driving out into the city on a beautiful spring day with our parent’s Ford or Chevy or Honda. We’d hang out at Goldtip Billiards and spend an hour playing arcade games. We’d go to an afternoon Toronto Blue Jay’s baseball game and catch foul balls. We’d visit the art gallery and stare intently at a Monet painting. We’d stop at a hot dog kiosk acting like the Sausage Kings of Hog Town. If there was a parade, we’d join in the festivities. If there was a pool, we’d dive in the deep end.
John Hughes, reminded us of that which we always knew: Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in while, you could miss it. To this day, whenever I’m sick at home, I pop in my Ferris Bueller DVD. After watching that film, I feel better every time.
Rest in peace, John Hughes and thanks for all the movie memories made real.
Pdawg on The Vacation films:
In a thousand years when anthropologists study North American culture of the 1980’s they will sit back, turn on their Super-HD-10.1 surround-sound laser TVs, make some popcorn and watch John Hughes’ impressive body of work which accurately summarized and captured the mind, soul and spirit of an entire generation. It’s tough to pick one Hughes film as my favourite, because the man that brought us Mr. Mom, Ferris Bueller and Planes Trains & Automobiles put characters on the screen that we could all relate to over and over again…I am never tired of watching any of his films which I can’t say about too many filmmakers. A couple of films that always make me laugh are the two Vacation films he wrote (the original and my holiday favourite, Christmas Vacation). Every time my family sees a house with a tacky display of Christmas lights we measure their tackiness against Clark Griswold’s unforgettable display.
RIP John Hughes…your stories will live on forever.