Monday, August 10, 2009

John Hughes was Huge

Writer/director John Hughes' death last week qualifies as "untimely", being as he succumbed to a massive heart attack at the age of 59. (The older I get, the more untimely these become. Walter Cronkite...Ed MacMahon...Bea Arthur...not so much.)
Hughes defined the 1980s-a voice second only to Michael Jackson. His films are a virtual time capsule of the era and amazingly age pretty well, if repeat television viewings of his works are any indication. In fact, the John Hughes DVD box set would pretty chock full o' goodies:

SIXTEEN CANDLES

THE BREAKFAST CLUB

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

UNCLE BUCK


That list in itself lies a pretty damn decent body of work, but let's not forget this man was also quite the prolific writer, creating NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, HOME ALONE, PRETTY IN PINK and more. After HOME ALONE, Hughes seemed to have lost interest, really just spinning his wheels in 1990s with sequels, retreads (like BABY'S DAY OUT, DUTCH, CURLY SUE, et al) and remakes like 101 DALMATIANS and DENNIS THE MENACE. Small wonder why he walked away.

One swell little picture he wrote was NATE AND HAYES, a precursor of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, starring Michael O'Keefe and a pre-Oscar Tommy Lee Jones. This is a jim dandy little swashbuckler well worth seeking out.
The legacy of John Hughes looms large in the annals of late 20th century American cinema. He will be missed, but actually has been since the end of the '80s.
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