Thursday, August 6, 2009

"He's gonna be a fry cook on Venus!" RIP John Hughes


NOOOOOO!!! One of the greats, I mean honest to God GREATS passed away today. John Hughes died of a heart attack earlier this morning.

I’m not heartless but a lot of these Hollywood deaths have very little impact on me. People die all the time; it’s that pesky thing that goes along with life. It also helps that a lot of these people have been a bit before my time. I understand the impact they made in the world of film, they may have even influenced some of my artistic tastes but I didn’t grow up with them. I grew up with John Hughes!

If you’re my age it is close to impossible for you not to have been inundated with his work. If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you watched his movies, it’s as simple as that. Almost each and every one is a classic, films that people from my generation can quote almost verbatim. This is the man that showed us the vacation trials of the Griswolds, introduced us to Long Duk Dong, the most amusing foreign exchange student in the history of cinema, proved Joe Pesci had a funny bone and gave us the one and only Ferris Bueller, THE fun loving, slacker anti-hero of our time!

As a screenwriter Hughes is almost without equal. I dare ANYONE not to laugh uproariously at any of the over dozen screenplays he authored. The man knew how to bring the funny whether it be through absurd and outlandish situations or small, relatable moments that reminded us of our own lives as kids, high schoolers or just very silly people.

Above all else every single thing Hughes touched had heart. While almost every movie he ever made was a comedy each and every single one of them had a sweet center to it that tugged at the heart strings as well. Hughes knew what made people tick, whether it be the desperate family man or horny, rebellious teenagers. He treated each one with equal amounts of respect and good natured ribbing. His movies ALWAYS made you laugh, yet at the same time you knew by the end of them they would touch you in a much more emotionally powerful way as well. Sitting here writing this I can’t help but flash back on the inspired hilarity that is PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES and how by the end of it you may have to question your humanity if you don’t have a lump in your throat when John Candy’s Del Griffith joins Steve Martin’s family for Thanksgiving dinner.

In trying to writing this piece I’ve been trying to come up with my favorite John Hughes movie and I just don’t know if I can. There’s too many great movies with too many great moments. To this day I think Steve Martin’s expletive filled rant at the rental car counter in PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Or there’s the joy of all the terrible things that happen to the cat in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION. Of course then there’s pretty much every moment of FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. It’s too much. There’s just too many brilliant gems to sift through in the treasure chest of John Hughes’s filmography. The guy was too good; one of the best and the sadly the world is a little less funny from this point forward. Don’t believe me? I leave you with just some of his best known works and I rest my case.

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION
SIXTEEN CANDLES
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
WEIRD SCIENCE
PRETTY IN PINK
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
SHE’S HAVING A BABY
PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
UNCLE BUCK
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACTATION
HOME ALONE 1 & 2

1 comment:

Senor Granto said...

I'm not sure what happened to him towards the end of his career but the first half was one of the greatest winning streaks of the 80's.