Closing Credits: John Hughes
According to early reports, John Hughes has died this morning while out walking to Manhattan early this morning.
Hughes was a director famed for a number of films in the eighties which were iconic to those of us in the audiences at the time and have remained in our consciousness ever since. Films that included the great Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
It wasn't just the iconic Ferris Bueller's Day Off though, even though that film has stayed with us since it was first released, no there was Sixteen Candles that started off John Hughes' directing career in 1984, the wonderful coming of age story with Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and some other names that were destined for bigger things, John and Joan Cusack.
Then there was the equally iconic and quote heavy The Breakfast Club, a film that saw a team of actors pile into other roles throughout the eighties, with Paul Gleason playing the school teacher who puts a group of kids into repeat detention, a group of kids who would normally never mingle and in the confines of their time together begin to form bonds that the social pressure around them then breaks again.
It was another great film that really captured a feeling and at the same time had some things to say about us as people, in or out of high school, and that's something I think people often miss about his films, is that there are more messages than the in the face ones you might just be seeing. They do have a lot to say to us, and they are indeed still very relevant.
Hughes could capture that and write about people and relationships with ease.
The Breakfast Club starred Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, bringing his two leads from Sixteen Candles.
Hall wasn't finished though, he was taken in alongside Ilan Mitchell-Smith to head up the excellent Weird Science, another huge hit for the man, which told the story of two geeks who build a machine that manages to bring to life the perfect and all powerful Kelly LeBrock. Oh in that moment John Hughes became a hero of mine and I thank him for bringing this film to me at a very special time!
Again, another film that had some interesting cast members, Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr.
It was then the turn of Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a film that associated Matthew Broderick with a role he would never truly want to shake off. Co-starring alongside him were Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and the excellent Jeffrey Jones, with his sister being played by a dirty dancer, Jennifer Grey. Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson can be seen in there too, as well as a few returning names.
That film is just wonderful to watch and still great fun to this day. There are so many great aspects to the writing and directing, and the comedy still works, even today with that Ferrari I still wince. Let's not even mention the plethora of quotes from the film, or maybe you should as your own little tribute, and again there's the music that seems locked in with the story. Can you sing it?
Then, after a little break, he delivered something rather different, Planes, Trains & Automobiles in 1987, and while you might not class it in the same group as his first coming of age films, you can most definitely say that it is an endearing comedy that has seeped into our subconscious, you just have to think about that pillow joke moment, didn't you talk about that?
That film carried a great cast once again, Steve Martin, John Candy, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker, and on, and he was still doing carrying on with the trait of casting people from his previous films.
Notice that I've mentioned every single film he directed so far, and no duds, and while some think that his next film in 1988 was, I just think it wasn't as strong as the last but was still hugely enjoyable and had tons to offer, She's Having a Baby.
Starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern with Alec Baldwin and a number of other great cast members, including Paul Gleason and others from previous films, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy as Roman and Chet from The Great Outdoors, and a list of names playing themselves including Kirstie Alley, Belinda Carlisle, Stewart Copeland, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Robert Hays, Magic Johnson, Michael Keaton, Elias Koteas, Penny Marshall, Bill Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, John Ratzenberger, Ally Sheedy, Wil Wheaton and Warren Zevon!
That film saw Bacon and McGovern as newly weds who find out that they are going to have a baby, something they are totally unprepared for and it turns their lives upside down and stretches their marriage to breaking point. It's a film I should really watch again because I seem to remember that through the comedy and set-ups were a number of pretty serious moments. Actually the more I think about it, the more I remember how great that film was.
He then directed two films that were the last of his career, Uncle Buck and Curly Sue, neither of which appealed to me, and when I see Uncle Buck on the television I have to turn over because the character is so thoroughly annoying and repulsive.
John Candy led the film with Macaulay Culkin, Amy Madigan and Laurie Metcalf starring too. This was at the tail end of the eighties and his last entered the nineties in Curly Sue, a story about two homeless con artists starring James Belushi and Alisan Porter in the leads with the beautiful Kelly Lynch. Another surprise casting moment was the appearance of Steve Carell.
However I'm more than willing to forget these two films for the immense joy that the others brought me, all of them excellent films that really captured and touched me while still delivering bags of fun in a stylish and imaginative way.
Let's not forget his writing career though, before Ferris Bueller's Day Off came out he wrote Pretty in Pink (again, sing away), another from his high school films that starred Molly Ringwald once again and also starred Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, James Spader and Andrew McCarthy, with Gina Gershon, Dweezil Zappa and the first Buffy Kristy Swanson making an appearance.
Before Planes Trains and Automobiles came Some Kind of Wonderful, the beginning of his departure from high school, directed by Howard Deutch who directed Pretty in Pink, and starring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson.
Didn't he pick some great songs for his films, or maybe the films helped make them great?
He also wrote The Great Outdoors and Home Alone, as well as after that a fair number of films and screenplays such as Beethoven, Miracle on 34th Street and even Maid in Manhattan and Drillbit Taylor, although the later scripts under the name of Edmond Dantès.
After Curly Sue though he never directed again, and I thought that was a terrible shame considering what he gave us in the past. Yet it didn't seem to be a problem for him, producing and writing while he retired to his working farm and his family, he had the right idea, an idea I think we'll let Ferris close the post with.
I have to admit, for the first time writing one of these Closing Credit articles, I really am getting a little emotional, and I never knew the man, yet his films had a big impact on me, my love of cinema, of music, and of Kelly LeBrock.
Our thoughts are with his wife and family, and his films are going to live on.
- Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Writer, Producer, Director