Friday, August 7, 2009

Today We Mourn a Teen Movie Director

Man, John Hughes, huh? What's funny about this is that I thought he was as proliferate as he was seminal. Yes on the latter; not so much on the former.

I heard about Hughes' death on Twitter, where an acquaintance mentioned the news and supplemented it with his favorite quote: "I want my two dollars!" I crowed about this to my wife who calmly informed me that Better Off Dead was not a John Hughes movie.

I started to argue but we have way too many online resources to let such an insipid debate take place. Thirty seconds later I saw how wrong I was (and the guy who started it, too).

Heathers was not his, either. And he wrote Some Kind of Wonderful but did not direct it.

In fact, out of the eight movies he did direct, I saw and enjoyed only four--the first four. I made a point of avoiding Uncle Buck, She's Having A Baby, and the others. ...Well, I guess I did see Trains, Planes, and Automobiles but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, despite it featuring two of my favorite comedians. There was one quotable line from that movie, but it's inapplicable to most circumstances. You only bring it up to remind people of the movie in which it appeared--unlike, say, something from They Live, Big Trouble in Little China, or The Simpsons which could be applied to any number of situations in perpetuity, ad nauseum.

But the four that I did like, I loved. They were important to me and I'm lucky to have been the generation they were targeted at. Do today's kids have anyone so influential? I think not! Is there any one director who epitomizes the '00s the way Hughes contributed so substantially to the zeitgeist of the '80s? Not in any good way!

Rest in peace, John Hughes. I have nothing profound with which to wrap this up, just... thanks for the awesome first four movies you directed.


Lorraine said...

At 45, I always thought Hughes had nothing to say to me. I mean, I saw all the movies, and have made my kids watch Ferris every.single.summer at the cottage since they were born.

But his death reminded me of something I never realized in real time...he was good. And regardless of how WASPY he's been accused of being, it was the high school hell most of us survived.

Thanks for that, John. And for showcasing that other John, Candy, at his best.

Christian said...

That's true, those movies were not representative of hardened, multicultural inner-city life, but why should that forbid their story being told?

And his movies still stand up, unlike others of the era. It's still possible to watch and enjoy these films even today.