Thursday, August 6, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

I've only done this once before for Kurt Vonnegut, generally preferring to give my RIP mini-tributes in the scrolling text above, but when somebody like John Hughes dies, someone with a profound effect on my life (like Vonnegut), they deserve a little bit more.

Hughes died earlier today of a heart attack at the age of 59. In tribute, here are the 10 best John Hughes movies:

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
One of the few perfect movies ever made, an absolute top fiver of all-time, all genres. Cameron and Ferris are both still iconic characters, as is Mr. Rooney. The sad thing is that Ferris turned half gay and married a hobgoblin, Mr. Rooney turned out to be a child molester, and neither Sloan nor Cameron ended up having much of a career. Such is the price when you sell your soul to make such an incredible movie as this. Still eminently quotable

"What's the score?"
"Nothin' Nothing'"
"Who's winning?"
"The Bears."

Fun Fact: The actor and actress who played Mr and Mrs. Bueller ended up getting married after the movie had finished shooting.

2. The Breakfast Club
This is also damn near a perfect movie, and would be the best of almost any other director. Not as funny as Bueller, but not meant to be, this movie had incredible heart and really resonated with me growing up - and still does today. Like Bueller, if I'm flipping channels and come across this, I'm watching it. Not to mention, this movie has absolutely the most iconic movie song ever.

"Are you guys like boyfriend-girlfriend? Steady dates? Lovers? Come on, sporto, level with me. Do you slip her the hot beef injection?"

Fun Fact: John Cusack was originally cast as Bender, but Hughes made the decision to replace him right before filming began.

3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Nothing else can touch Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller, which are absolutely iconic, life-changing level movies, but Planes & Trains is still completely awesome, and one of the funniest movies of all-time. Both John Candy and Steve Martin hit every note picture perfect in this one, and play off each other like an old school comedy team like Abbott and Costello. Throw in the litte bit of heart tugging you get at the end and a killer opening scene which involves a little Kevin Bacon, and you're getting one of the better comedies ever.

"Potato Chips! They're everywhere!"

Fun Fact: The scene at the car rental agency where Steve Martin uses the F word 17 times was added by Hughes for the sole purpose of bumping the rating from PG to R, because he wanted to make sure this was an adult comedy.

4. Vacation

Also known as National Lampoon's Vacation, if you watch this, Caddyshack, and Fletch it's hard to believe Chevy Chase every became sort of a joke. He's absolutely perfect in his role as the trying-to-do-it-all dad, as are Anthony Michael Hall, Beverly De'Angelo, and whoever the chick is that played Audrey. The Christie Brinkley scene is iconic, and there are several that are even better.

"Know what the penalty is for animal cruelty in this state?"
"No, I don't."
"'s probably pretty stiff."

Fun Fact: This movie was written with the theme park supposed to be Disneyland. Disney spazzed, saying they are always open 365 days a year, so Walley World was invented and filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.

5. Uncle Buck

The second of three John Candy movies to make this list, this might actually be his best role. The movie is basically Candy, Candy, Candy, with other actors playing off of him, but he does such a great job you don't get sick of him. The conflict between Uncle Buck and Tia, the eldest daughter, is very realistic, and brings in the heart/comedy combo that Hughes was so good at.

"Ever hear of a tune up? Eh hee hee hee."
"Ever hear of a ritual killing? Eh hee hee hee."
"I don't get it."
"Gnaw on her face like that again in public and you'll be one. Eh hee hee hee."

Fun Fact: One night during filming, Candy went out drinking with the dude in charge of the musical score and got so wasted that Hughes had to cancel shooting the next day.

6. Home Alone
You love this movie, just admit it. Everybody does. It's sort of become a joke these days, partially because of Macauley Culkin's completely derailed career (although he was awesome in Saved!, which itself is awesome and you should rent it) and partly because they ended up making four more of these, the last three without Culkin. The rest of the flicks in this "series" don't hold up, but this movie is still an all-time classic. A good heart and a lot of legit laughs, more than you remember, thanks to Pesci and Stern. For a very long time, Mrs. W absolutely required that we watch this movie every Thanksgiving. I never once complained, and now that we don't watch it anymore, I kind of miss it.

"Kids are scared of the dark."
"You're scared of the dark too, Marv."

Fun Fact: This movie was written by Hughes for Culkin, based on the kitchen interrogation scene from Uncle Buck with Culkin and Candy.

7. Christmas Vacation
Sometimes I think I like this movie more than the original vacation, but that's pretty much only from Thanksgiving to New Year's. It's a good movie any time, and a great movie during the holidays (behind only Scrooged as my favorite Christmas movie). Elaine and her douchebag husband are great, as is Brian Doyle-Murray as the boss, and Chase is perfect as he always was until like 1990 (Vegas Vacation is his only good movie since then). The scene where the douchebags stereo is destroyed by an icicle, which then melts, is brilliant, and when the christmas lights finally work, well, if you don't get a little bit of chills you're a souless bastard.

"Hey Griswold, where do you think you're going to put a tree that big?"
"Bend over and I'll show you."
"You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that, Griswold."
"I wasn't talking to you."

Fun Fact: The Griswold's house in this movie was the same house used by Danny Glover's character's family in the Lethal Weapon movies.

8. The Great Outdoors

I think a lot of people hate this movie, but a lot of people like blood sausage too. A lot of people are morons. Growing up, my aunt and uncle had a cabin on a lake we would come visit fairly often. In the evenings, the adults would get wasted, and if the kids weren't playing Ghost in the Graveyard, we needed something to do. They had a VCR and about four movies, three of which were god awful claptrap, but the fourth was The Great Outdoors. Perhaps it is this association that makes me love this movie, or perhaps I am Burt and this movie is my Sheelana.

"Bear.....bear.....big bear.....big bear chase meeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Fun Fact: The last movie those scary ass twin girls were ever in, probably because after this one they descended back into hell to be with their master.

9. Sixteen Candles
I know I've mentioned that Hughes' movies have heart, and I'm sorry to mention it yet again, but it's what sets him apart from so many other teen comedy/drama film makers. This one has it all: an unknown girl looking to be noticed, a nerd looking to be cool (and get some ass), a popular guy just wanting to be normal, and a hot girl looking to get passed out drunk and molested. Plus, Mollie Ringwald's underpants and a horny asian dude! What more could you ask for?

"Just answer me one question."
"Yes, you're a total fag."
"Ha ha ha. That's not the question."

Fun Fact: Jim Carrey auditioned for the role of the Geek, but was beaten out by Anthony Michael Hall.

10. Weird Science
A lot of people like this movie way more than I do, but I just think there aren't very many likable characters here. That being said, this is still a classic. Anthony Michael Hall and that other guy are believable enough as social outcasts, and Bill Paxton (yes Bill Paxton) does a good job as the douchey brother. Plus, who can forget this (please don't google Kelly Lebrock. The years have not been kind).

"You're stewed, buttwad!"

Fun Fact: The second movie, after The Breakfast Club, where Anthony Michael Hall's character makes up a fake Canadian girlfriend.

There you go kids, ten of the most iconic movies ever made, and all written and/or directed by the same dude, who is no longer around. Although he hadn't really done anything good since 1991 (Curly Sue), why would he have to? Any three of those movies above would be a hell of an accomplishment for a writer, and he had all ten. Shermer, IL will live on. RIP John Hughes.


Anonymous said...

Well said, but you forgot to major movies.

What about Mr. Mom?
"I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they're great... and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn't enough. You're out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you're strung out on bedspreads Ken. That's serious. "


Pretty in Pink = awesome 80's teen drama with an insanely ugly prom dress.

WWWWWW said...

Pretty in Pink was solid, and almost made the list instead of Weird Science but I just couldn't leave WS out.

I actually never saw Mr. Mom. For reals.

Dawg said...

Drillbit Taylor was his last movie which was pretty solid.

Pretty in Pink? Did you dress up in your mom's clothes and makeup before you watched that one?

catapult said...

weird science wasn't good until the tv show. and by good I mean it was great to watch because vanessa angel was smoking hot in the show.

alot of people don't like the great outdoors? how is that possible? the steak/prime rib (don't remember which) contest is one of the greatest scenes of all time.

I take it he didn't do vegas vacation? (i.e., the greatest of all the vacation movies)

Anonymous said...

Best post ever, Dubs I will personally bring you a copy of Mr. Mom. "220, 221 whatever it takes". Man was a frickin genius, if the Acadamy doesnt give him a lifetime achievement award sometime soon it should be a crime punishable by death.

ssf said...

This blog is a crime punishable by death.