Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

"I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car."

Ferris Bueller - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Yesterday as I was chatting with friends, I discovered with a fair bit of sadness, that director/writer John Hughes had passed away.

While this may not mean much to a good chunk of you, but kids of the 80's remember Hughes's name as a mark of quality comedy and family films. From National Lampoon's Vacation to the recent Drillbit Taylor ( he wrote the story under the name Edmund Dantes), Hughes had made a great name for himself as not only a good writer, but a commercially viable writer.

His dialogue was funny and hip. Much like current writers like Kevin Smith and Wes Anderson (who are the film offspring of Hughes in many ways), Hughes had a way of writing teen characters like Ferris or Judd Nelson's bad ass with a heart of gold, John Bender in The Breakfast Club where the dialogue was quick witty and you believed it. And it's quotable. Anyone who has ever seen Ferris Buller's Day Off has at least said the basic line of "Bueller?...Bueller?" from Ben Stein's economics class.

He was also a decent director starting with Sixteen Candles and continuing with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off amongst others. Even today, the last shot of the Breakfast Club with Judd Nelson walking off into the sunset on the football field, arm raised triumphantly, is still often copied and parodied.

The hallmark of a great many of the John Hughes films was the fact they were kind of in a shared universe. Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink nad National Lampoon's Vacation all feature the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois. I always had an idea that I would one day do a crossover comic where all the characters would meet one another. A gang of nerdy Anthony Micheal Halls!

The sad part is that due to his passing and lack of being in the public eye for the past few years, John Hughes will be unfairly categorized as "that 80's movie guy". The truth of the matter is, yes the clothes and the music (which was awesome) are now dated but the themes still ring true. Teens have problems, not all teenagers are idiots and cars can be the gateways to great stories.

R.I.P. John Hughes.

No comments: