No one mixed the sentimental and the comic better than John Hughes. Before there was Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen movies there was John Hughes, the king of teen comedies which treated like teens like human beings. Many of his films are part of the firmament of my film imagination. I cannot imagine a world wherein there had never been a Ferris Bueller or a Clark Griswald or a Kevin McCallister. And what would have HBO have played ad nauseum during my youth if there were no Pretty In Pink, Breakfast Club, Somet Kind of Wonderful, or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? I shudder to think.
His understanding of the mindset of the rich pre-teen child — total paranoia combined with almost Hitlerian fantasies of power and sadism — was made funny in his Home Alone movies. His thought that family is far more of a combined prison and circus than a heaven was brought to hilarious life by his National Lampoon’s Vacation series.But the insight that will make him immortal came in his teen movies, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and my favorite, the one that changed my life, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This insight was that the modern American white middle class teen combines a Saudi Arabia-sized reservoir of self-obsession and self-pity with a startling gift for exultation and enjoyment of life. No one had ever thought to note that along with James Dean’s sulky self-obsession might also come a shriek of happiness at just being alive. John Hughes — Republican — saw that potential, saw that the individual still had the ability to transcend whatever was weighing him or her down and come out leading a parade down Michigan Avenue.
I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family.
I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes. He was and will always be such an important part of my life. He will be missed — by me and by everyone that he has touched. My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now.”
He took a tremendous chance on me. Like Orson Welles, he was a boy wonder, a director’s director, a writer’s writer, a filmmaker’s filmmaker. He was one of the giants.
I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person. The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man.