John Hughes, a director who gave moviegoers some of the best comedies of the 1980s and 1990s, has died at the age of 59.
With films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles (watch videos) Hughes practically defined ‘80s teen culture all by himself.
Hughes so perfectly tapped into the emotional characteristics about high school and teen life it’s as if he stopped by your house and wanted to hear all about your life as a teen.
As big a director in the ‘80s as there was, the book on teen comedy starts with John Hughes. His films are like a travelogue for so many that grew up in the ‘80s, filled with cultural touchstones that remain just as important, and appreciated, today.
Surely many people will be perusing their local TV channel for one of the many great Hughes comedies that have aged like fine wine over the years. And years are an apt description. Hughes’ last film, Curly Sue, was released eighteen years ago.
Hughes has 38 film writing credits to his name and 23 producer credits — he only directed 8 of these films himself.
If you were a young, curious, anxious and most likely in love with somebody as a teenager in the ‘80s then there was a John Hughes movie ready to define that experience – and you’d laugh, cry and laugh some more before you could (totally) understand.
And that template has more or less been followed ever since. The sexiness has been ramped up, the bad language more utilized and maybe it’s all just a Hughes film after a weekend bender in Vegas, but still, teen comedies today happily bow to the master. Teen comedies today might not have the perfect innocence of a Pretty In Pink (a film Hughes wrote, but did not direct), but the foundation of friendships, having fun, enjoying your youth and everything having to do with love and sex pretty much remains.
No doubt Judd Apatow is somewhere thanking Hughes for leading the way.
Hughes did have a career outside teen angst. There were Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck and Home Alone – where he tapped a young Chris Columbus to direct.
Though Hughes retreated from the public long ago his legacy had long since been secured. His directorial debut was in 1984 with the film Sixteen Candles – from there he gave us the “Brat Pack,” “Bueller…Bueller…,” “Eat my shorts,” “You’re stewed, buttwad!” and about 600 more memorable quotes and cultural memories sure to be reminisced about in the weeks ahead.
John Hughes was the voice of a generation, but a voice that is as loud and true as ever.
Hughes lived in Illinois. Many of his films were set in the fictional town of Shermer.
Hughes is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, their two adult sons John and James, and four grandchildren.
He will be missed.