If you came of age in the 1980s, chances are you’ll be flooded with sadness at the sudden death of John Hughes. The director/screenwriter was 59 years old, and though he kept working up until the end (receiving credit under a pseudonym last year for his script for the abysmal Drillbit Taylor), he was some decades removed from the movies that made him a cultural icon. He ruled the landscape in the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean he was a great filmmaker. There was an unpleasant reactionary strain in The Breakfast Club, and the casual racism in Sixteen Candles doesn’t play well at all today. Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling made better, more perceptive movies about teenagers in Hughes’ time. Still, Hughes’ influence on his generation and on the teen movies that came after him is enormous, and he will be missed. If you’re looking for a way to pay tribute to him, you can simply use the word “geek,” which Hughes popularized in Sixteen Candles. Otherwise, go rent Some Kind of Wonderful (his best movie, in my estimation, with a luminescent performance by Mary Stuart Masterson) and reflect that his legacy lives on.


  1. I don’t think Hughes was innovative at all with the many of the concepts used in his movies — he simply used a lot of what worked in the 70’s: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, “Meatballs”, “Caddyshack” (made in 1980 but a 70’s movie for a all practical purposes), “Bad News Bears”, “Escape to Witch Mountain” all presented adults as semi-irrelevant goofballs with the teenagers struggling with real meaningful problems. Where Hughes succeeded was in accurately portraying / picking up on the trends of the day…the clothes, the cars, the music…along with the use of imperfect teenage characters (Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, etc.) and their issues that other teens of the day could relate to in a mass-market kind of way. Remember, the 80’s was also an era where most new trends kids picked up on came only from movies and the FM radio dial (no internet, digital cable, iTunes, Sirius satellite radio, etc) – and Hughes played this to his advantage brilliantly…I would argue that Hughes would never be able to make the same kinds of movies & be as successful today because of the heavily diversified media. As for Mr. Schneider’s opinions, they are obviously not the prevailing ones, since virtually all of Hughes movies continue to be played on cable television over and over again.