Friday, August 14, 2009

‘Sixteen Candles’ director Hughes’ best film

Movie critics and pop culture commentators have written a lot about writer-director John Hughes since his death on Aug. 6. I thought I’d through in my 2 cents.
Having grown up in the north suburbs of Chicago, I felt a close affinity to Hughes’ movies, many of which were filmed there.
I recall seeing “Sixteen Candles” on its opening day in 1984 while I was at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and afterward telling everyone I could that they had to see this movie. It seemed so fresh and spoke to an audience of young people that was being ignored by Hollywood at the time.
I still think it’s his best work. Others point to “The Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986). They’re good, but don’t resonate with me the way “Sixteen Candles” does.
Hughes only directed eight movies, but had a hand in at least 31 movies as a writer. His batting average as a director was very good. He also helmed the underrated “Weird Science” (1985), “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (1987) and “Uncle Buck” (1989).
Among the films he wrote but didn’t direct, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983) and “Christmas Vacation” (1989) are standouts. Even some of the movies he wrote under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes were actually pretty good like “Beethoven” (1992) and “Maid in Manhattan” (2002), but I’m probably in the minority on those.

For the complete John Hughes filmography, consult IMDb.
Film critic Roger Ebert remembers Hughes in a Chicago Sun-Times column.
AP obituary from the Chicago Sun-Times.
See also the Wikipedia entry on John Hughes, which includes a Web link to his unproduced screenplay, “Jaws 3, People 0,” a comedy sequel to the first two “Jaws” movies.
Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips had a nice writeup about Hughes as well.

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