Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: with Maleficent, Disney updates a great cartoon from their Silver Age with a dubious live-action update that feels like […]

The fatigue that had settled on John Hughes at the turn of the 1990s oozed into its cruelest form with Beethoven, a family comedy about a wacky & destructive St. Bernard that is totally without any merit whatsoever. It is not, in the main, a film of tremendous importance in cinema generally, nor in Hughes’s […]

The film that closed out John Hughes’s directorial career, Curly Sue, has a certain reputation for awfulness that it does not deserve. Which is not remotely the same as claiming that it’s really very good at all, for that is plainly not true – the film has a desperately cutesy-pie charm that drips with flop […]

Sort of like Cinderella at midnight, John Hughes just sort of… stopped, at the end of the 1980s – the broken but interesting Uncle Buck and the utterly appealing trifle Christmas Vacation in 1989, and then he immediately started in with the alternately treacly and cruel Home Alone in 1990, and a sharp skid through […]

The 1991 Hughes Entertainment production Only the Lonely was not directed by, nor written by, producer John Hughes, which on the face of it makes it a poor candidate for a John Hughes retrospective, but I had my reasons. For one, it was the last time that Hughes worked in any capacity with actor John […]

It is said to be the case that following the huge success of Home Alone at the end of 1990, John Hughes was asked by Universal to hurry up and get his next project out as soon as humanly possible, please, so that they could capitalise on the earlier film’s golden glow. This strikes me […]

Lovers of John Hughes frequently point to their childhood memories of seeing the writer-director-producer’s classics as a huge part of their adult response to the same films; people from the commenters on this very blog to latter-day Neohughesian filmmakers like Judd Apatow. I have not thus far expressed much in the way of having such […]

In the sequel-mad ’80s, the shock is not that a second follow-up to National Lampoon’s Vacation should exist; the shock is instead that it took four years from the release of National Lampoon’s European Vacation in 1985 for that second sequel to materialise. The years 1985-1988 were awfully busy ones for screenwriter John Hughes, it […]

What was then longest gap in between Hughes Entertainment productions – from June, 1988, to August, 1989 – ended with Uncle Buck, a movie that does not necessarily benefit from having been so long in the hopper, nor from what we can presumably refer to as John Hughes’s creative exhaustion at the close of the […]

Three John Hughes productions were being put together roughly at the same time – though, of course, he didn’t direct all three, that would have been insane – and were released in a scant eight month period, from November, 1987, through June, 1988. The first of these was Planes, Trains & Automobiles, a sweet-and-sarcastic travel […]

Categories: comedies, john hughes

I imagine that it’s become fairly clear over the course of this retrospective that I don’t necessarily have a great deal of affection for the films of John Hughes; certainly nothing like the “ZOMG he defined my adolescence!” love that his name tends to kick off in a lot of people. Which is certainly not […]

The fifth film John Hughes directed, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, is privileged in a number of ways: the first movie he directed that wasn’t about suburban teenagers, the only film he directed that was rated R (and, in point of fact, the last film he was involved with in any way that was rated R […]