Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

If I have it right, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a deliberate half-step away from the teen angst pictures upon which the bulk of John Hughes’s reputation rested in the mid-’80s (and continues to rest), redefining and to a certain extend refuting the entire worldview of films like The Breakfast Club, and serving in all […]

iIn the heart of every truly creative person who ends up getting pigeonholed as “the guy who does X” is the desire to do absolutely anything at all besides X. I cannot prove this was the case with John Hughes, but it certainly seems that way, for almost as soon as he secured his reputation […]

And now we come to a very exciting moment in our retrospective: the emergence of John Hughes as a brand name. Prior to 1985, Hughes was well-enough established as a screenwriter of popular hits so that his 1984 directorial debut Sixteen Candles could be proudly advertised as “from the man who brought you Mr. Mom […]

With The Breakfast Club, John Hughes solidified his reputation as a chronicler of teenage life in the 1980s – white teenagers in comfortably bourgeois suburbs, at any rate – but that probably isn’t something he was actively thinking about when he began prepping Weird Science, his third film as a director. The new film came […]

In the sequel-mad ’80s (every bit as bad as we have it today, hard as that may be to believe), it was surely not a surprise that something as successful as National Lampoon’s Vacation would generate a quick follow-up, and indeed it took but two years for National Lampoon’s European Vacation to come out. Now […]

The right thing is to first begin with the horrible admission, and it is that I was 29 years and 9 months and 7 days old the very first time that I saw John Hughes’s iconic teensploitation picture The Breakfast Club, which happens to have been the day before writing this review. I bring this […]

“Samantha Baker is turning sixteen and she’s fallen in love for the first time. It should be the best time of her life. “But… her family is so preoccupied with her sister’s wedding they totally forget her birthday, the boy she loves doesn’t know she exists and the class clown is putting the make on […]

In determining which films deserved a slot in the “Hughes as Screenwriter” portion of this blog’s John Hughes retrospective, my initial thought was that Nate and Hayes would be the first title that it made perfect sense to skip over. It was the first Hughes screenplay that was written in collaboration, with David Odell (whose […]

Of the three films John Hughes wrote in 1983, Mr. Mom proved that he could write a big, Zeitgeisty hit, but his next effort (which premiered a whole week later in July of that year) was almost certainly the more impressive achievement. For one thing, it was almost as successful as Mr. Mom – $61 […]

The acrid tang of National Lampoon’s Class Reunion didn’t hang over John Hughes’s career for very long: barely more than a year after that film’s miserable clonk at the box office, the writer already had seen three more of his scripts turned hit the big screen to significantly better results: two of them ended up […]

To later generations, John Hughes is all but indistinguishable from the genre of teen angst comedies that he helped to create in the 1980s, but it was not ever thus. Hughes began his career as a joke writer for stand-up comedians, and an advertising copywriter, and eventually a staffer on the National Lampoon magazine during […]