With the death of John Hughes on August 6, 2009, Cinema lost one of its modern masters. Hughes was the architect behind a canon of memorable films that have passed into the social lexicon. Having launched the careers of countless young stars, Hughes’ contribution to the world of cinema cannot be understated.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, Hughes’ early career was in copywriting and advertising. He later wrote and sold jokes for various comedians and established himself as a gag writer of some note. He landed a job at the National Lampoon after crafting a chaotic vacation story that would later earn cinematic gold as National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983. During the National Lampoon years, Hughes began to craft the ideas that would inform his most famous works in years to come. come over.
As Generation Me and its new disposable income hit theaters, John Hughes responded as the creative force behind films that portrayed an adolescent wasteland unlike any seen before. Problems like acne and lack of access to the family car were still present, but now they were accompanied by frank discussions of sex and popularity, adjustment and maladjustment. The America of Beaver Cleaver was still there, now tempered with a darker side that many saw as a more realistic take on the problems of modern teenagers.
And yet, the competent writer and director always managed to find the bright side of life and kept us laughing along the way. Whether at its most surreal (Weird Science) or its most serious (Some Kind of Wonderful), the realistic undercurrent, speech patterns, and ever-present Murphy’s Law spoke to the masses in new and exciting ways. Hughes’ contributions sparked a flurry of movie knockoffs designed to capitalize on this loyal new teen megamarket. While many were smart (Real Genius), none could match the charm of classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles.
In the late 1980s, Hughes began to move away from his decidedly teen-oriented roots and created new films that dealt with younger protagonists (Home Alone) and cynical older adults (Planes, Trains and Automobiles). He proved that his movies can be just as entertaining without being restricted to a single genre. While Hughes’ work was definitely derivative of himself, he always managed to bring something new to the table with each outing. In the early 1990s, Hughes gradually retired from the public eye, letting his filmography speak for itself.