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Film Appreciation... John Hughes


John Hughes, born February 18, 1950, in Lansing, Michigan, is one of the best directors, writers, and producers of our time. Hughes is best known for his dipictions of teenage predilections and peccadillos in such films as Uncle Buck and Beethoven. He marveled audiences with his ability to aptly describe the teenage angst of the 1980s. In his review of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Roger Ebert referred to him as a "philosopher of adolescence." Many members of Generation X grew up on Hughes' movies, namely Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club. Instead of talking down to his audience, Hughes has strived to create a thoughtful teenage movie. His films continue to amaze the current generation, having been firmly established as cult classics. He now resides in Chicago.

Other Suggested Films of John Hughes...

"National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983)
Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo star in this film that explores the worst summer vacation a family could ever have. Highlights include outstanding one-liners.

"Sixteen Candles" (1984)
The first of several Hughes films in which Molly Ringwald would star, this film follows the ups and downs of a girl's sixteenth birthday. Ringwald does an incredible job, whether it's dealing with the freshmen nerds or attracting the attention of her senior crush. Watch for John Cusack to make a cameo as a nerdy freshman.

"The Breakfast Club" (1985)
Molly Ringwald, along with Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Jud Nelson, and Anthony Michael Hall (all members of the Brat Pack) discover that there is more than what meets the eye when the five of them are stuck together during an all-day detention. This film, employing the Ship of Fools device, wonderfully illustrates how labels can damage.

"National Lampoon's European Vacation" (1985)
The second in the Vacation trilogy, Chevy Chase stars again as the head of the Griswold family. Especially delightful moments are when the tape of a nude Mrs. Griswold is stolen in Paris and when the family sings "The Sound of Music" on a Swiss hillside.

"Pretty in Pink" (1986)
The last of the Hughes' films starring Molly Ringwald, this chronicles the life of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and her attempts to obtain the coolest guy in school. Jon Cyer makes an appearance as the sidekick who tries to steal his best friend's heart. Contributing to this film is a killer soundtrack, stuffed with those wonderful '80 s.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986)
Still a favorite among the younger generation, this film features Matthew Broderick (as the title character) and his schemes to have one day off from school. Adding to his fun are his devious way of getting his best bud and girlfriend out of school, too. High schools are continually filled with quotes from this film.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles" (1987)
Steve Martin and John Candy star in this film about a guy (Martin) who is just trying to get home to his family, but who just can't quite make it. Catherine O'Hara also makes an appearance. This is one of those films that you can watch over and over again because it is just so funny.

"Uncle Buck" (1989)
When their parents have to go away on a trip, Uncle Buck comes to the rescue to take care of the three kids, often with hilarious results. This marks Macaulay Culkin's first film appearance.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989)
The last, and often considered the best, of the Vacation films, this one still has Chase and D'Angelo as the parents, but this time the kids are different. Look for Randy Quaid as the crazy cousin who comes in his RV for the holidays. Because of its great lines, this film can be quoted again and again.

"Home Alone" (1990)
Macaulay Culkin stars in this film, the best of the Home Alone films, about a 10-year old who is accidentally left at home during the holidays. A pair of robbers thwart his plans to live it up while the rest of the family, who often drown him out, are away.

"Beethoven" (1992)
A comedy about a family and their dog, this film is children's programming at its finest. Charles Groding stars as the father, the only family member opposed to the animal, while Bonnie Hunt plays the sane mom, balancing home and work. Nicolle Tom plays the oldest daughter.

"Reach the Rock" (1998)
A relatively dark film, this follows the typical high school rebel not at age 18, but at age 22. It has everything but a happy ending. Fueled by a strong soundtrack, this film comes out in video in April 1999.


1999 Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved. TERMS OF USE