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John Hughes 
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Post John Hughes
Recently I found myself re-watching the John Hughes written/produced "Some Kind Of Wonderful" and found myself noting that it does not hold up very well at all. I then got to considering Hughes output as a whole.

To me, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off still hold up. Those two are just as entertaining and enjoyable as they were in the 80s.

However Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and the aforementioned Wonderful have aged pretty poorly. Sixteen Candles is generally closer to the Club/Bueller category.

Of his more adult oriented films (that he directed himself), only Planes Trains And Automobiles really holds up. Uncle Buck is entertaining but pretty slight. She's Having A Baby has major tone problems. And his final film was the abomination that was the terminally cutesy Curly Sue.

When looked at from this perspective, an observation can be made that many people would consider heresy. But is somewhat true: Hughes after a point got exposed as a one-trick pony of sorts.

When he tried to branch out of teen films, he discovered that he wasn't as successful with more mature subject matter and that audiences weren't that interested. So he went in a different direction. He wrote and produced Home Alone. That became a smash and he more or less followed that formula to diminishing artistic returns for the remainder of his career,

I compare him with Cameron Crowe, who broke through in the same era and also got his start in teen films. But he was able to successfully transition out of the teen tropes, maintain more of his artistic integrity than Hughes and still make good to great movies (Almost Famous). Vanilla Sky, while problematic, showed that he could branch out in some regards. I wasn't a huge fan of Elizabethtown or We Bought A Zoo. But I would argue that Crowe has proved himself to be more diverse than Hughes and his overall body of work holds up better.

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Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:38 am
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Post Re: John Hughes
I haven't seen Some Kind of Wonderful in a looooong time, but I remember liking it a lot as a teen. I do watch The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off frequently, and agree with you in how well they hold up.

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Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:43 am
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Post Re: John Hughes
Jeff Wilder wrote:
To me, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off still hold up.


Indeed they are. Two of my most favorites, with The Breakfast Club in my top 10. Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles have some weak or misguided elements in them, but the emotion cores are recognizably Hughes', and that still makes them resonant. Haven't seen others of his teen films though.

Those two seminal works of his resonate through most of my teenage years. That may be why his death is the first and only celebrity death so far that really shook me up.


Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:08 am
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Post Re: John Hughes
I think Some Kind Of Wonderful is one of his more overlooked and underrated films.

Also, what about the films Hughes wrote but did not direct like The Great Outdoors, Just Visiting, Career Opportunities, Maid In Manhattan, Drillbit Taylor, etc.?

His death was sad but didn't shake me up the same way Heath Ledger's, Brittany Murphy's or Paul Walker's deaths did.


Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:32 pm
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Post Re: John Hughes
Jeff, I'm surprised that in this thread about John Hughes you made no mention of Home Alone, probably among his more successful commercial film ventures (personally, this film is really nothing more than a brand of slapstick comedy -- amusing for the moment, but without much lasting value).

Going back to the point of the original thread, I consider John Hughes' teen films as a kind of time warp showcasing public perception of teens and teen attitudes in the 80s. Out of these, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Some Kind of Wonderful are probably his best films, where the viewer are able to form a bond of sorts with the main teen characters who are portrayed with a modicum of realism (I say with a modicum, because Hughes has certainly not been above resorting to stereotypes -- note the utterly offensive character of Long Duk in Sixteen Candles, for example). Ferris Bueller's Day Off was a very different film -- a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy of a super-clever, super-hip teen who can and does beat "the system", and enjoyable for that very reason.

I do agree over all that Cameron Crowe is the better filmmaker in that he was able to grow and develop past the teen film genre, and even within the teen film genre he displayed an apt maturity in his approach to the film (e.g. films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything).


Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:10 pm
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Post Re: John Hughes
Frankly, I thought Hughes was terribly over-rated, even during his heyday of teen films.


Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:17 pm
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Post Re: John Hughes
I'm really fond of Sixteen Candles, particularly the wedding scene at the end. I have a sentimental attachment to Uncle Buck because I watched it in the waiting room at the hospital when I desperately needed a distraction and it's a pleasant one. (John Candy was a fine actor.) And I like quite a bit of Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I'm not sure what I think of The Breakfast Club. Let's say it wasn't aimed at me and I had the hots for Ally Sheedy.

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Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:23 pm
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