Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tribute to John Hughes (1950-2009)

August 6, 2009

Tribute to John Hughes (1950-2009)

Though I was born in 1980, I consider most of my movie-going childhood to have taken place in the early and mid-1990s. Therefore, one might think that John Hughes' influence hit its peak a bit before my time. On the contrary, some of my most treasured early film memories involve such Hughes vehicles as Home Alone, Beethoven, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and most of all The Breakfast Club. I remember watching The Breakfast Club on TBS one Saturday afternoon when I was around 13, and that night, I went to the video store, rented the film and watched it two more times in the same night.

Hughes directed eight audience-pleasing films--Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, Uncle Buck and Curly Sue. He also produced 23 movies, but his real accomplishment remains as a screenwriter of 38 movies, including the eight he directed, as well as such notables as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Pretty in Pink, Home Alone, Beethoven, Maid in Manhattan and Drillbit Taylor.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Hughes grew up near Chicago, and as such, most of his films were set in the Chicago area. He spent the 1970s as a writer for National Lampoon Magazine before influencing the entire pop culture scene of the 1980s. Hughes is often credited for inventing the infamous "Brat Pack," seen prominently in his films Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. Recently, he remained out of the spotlight in order to spend time with his family. He died suddenly while taking a stroll in Manhattan. He was 59.

John Hughes influenced an entire generation of movies and moviegoers, and few filmmakers more consistently dedicated themselves to simply make people laugh and smile. Rest in peace!