Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There comes a time when you start to think, “Am I really going to start ranking the Transformers films?”, and the answer turns out to be “apparently”. Because there’s a lot of chatter out there about how Transformers: Age of Extinction is so godalmighty awful, and it’s really not, actually. Now, Transformers: Revenge of the […]

An open question for which I would honestly and none-snarkily beg for an answer: could anybody who likes up-and-coming actress Shailene Woodley – and a quick peek at the internet promises me that there are many of you – please explain why? Is it a The Spectacular Now thing? Because I still haven’t seen that. […]

The Sting is not a great movie because of its ending. Let’s just get that out of the way. It is, undoubtedly a fine ending. It is the exact perfect ending to that movie, in fact, and no movie about con men has ever done such a good job of baking a con against the […]

The superhero sequel is a peculiar beast. It is the nature of the sequel to be a chancy proposition, artistically at least: most stories really actually don’t need the extra space to be told, and cinema history is littered with sequels that can’t do better than feebly retread the same plot and conflicts as the […]

Nicholas Sparks’s first published novel, The Notebook, was introduced to the world in 1996, when the author was 30, and it very quickly became a bestseller; but though it was eventually turned into a reasonably successful and loved-by-some movie, it was not the first of his works to be filmed (nor the second, but let’s […]

A love story in which a deeply affectionate and utterly functional couple is torn apart when one half of the pair has a huge chunk of memory sliced clean away in the blink of an eye, leaving her with a confused but relatively happy with her place in life, while her devoted husband is left […]

Pennies from Heaven was a ridiculous flop upon its initial release in the winter of 1981-’82, grossing considerably less than half of its $22 million budget back at a time when that was real money, and honestly, it makes a lot of sense that it would. It was a musical at a time when virtually […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]