John Cusack, Anthony Michael Hall and Darren Harris in SIXTEEN CANDLES.
If you went to high school in the 1980s (like me), there’s a good chance you were a fan of the films of John Hughes. SIXTEEN CANDLES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB and FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF — what I like to think of as his High School Trilogy* — are comedies than manage to be serious, teen movies that manage to be grown up and artifacts of the 1980s that manage to look pretty good today.
If you’re wondering what ever happened to Hughes, The Los Angeles Times has your answer: He’s living just down the road in the suburbs north of Chicago, where most of his movies were set. He doesn’t talk to the press, he doesn’t hang out in Hollywood, and aside from coming up with the original premise for DRILLBIT TAYLOR years ago, he doesn’t make movies.
Of course, his movies are still a big influence today, mostly because the people making movies grew up on SIXTEEN CANDLES and other Hughes epics. As producer Judd Apatow says in the LA Times article, “You see Hughes’ influence on all TV comedy, especially the stylized single-camera comedy. His great film characters, starting with Anthony Michael Hall in ‘Sixteen Candles,’ were big inspirations. When we were growing up, we were all like Hall — the goofy skinny kid who thinks he’s cool, even if nobody else does. ‘Superbad’ has that same attitude, that mix of total cockiness and insecurity.”
Since those mid-80s high school glory days, Hughes wrote and/or directed at least one grown-up classic (PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES), two underrated gems (SHE’S HAVING A BABY and UNCLE BUCK) and a lot of crap (BEETHOVEN’S 4TH, CURLY SUE, MAID IN MANHATTAN and others). He also wrote HOME ALONE, which guaranteed he’d never have to worry about writing or directing anything again. Financially, the guy is set.
But it’s too bad he never returned to that high school setting. I’m as sick of sequels as the next guy, but I’d kill to see a follow-up to THE BREAKFAST CLUB with the same cast, set in the present and stuck in a single room — maybe even that same library. Or a FERRIS BUELLER sequel, with Ferris, Sloan and Cameron as world-weary adults spending the day in Chicago. (In a way, Alexander Payne’s ELECTION is a twisted sequel of FERRIS, with Broderick playing a version of the principal he tormented way back when.)
C’mon, John. It’s time for a reunion.
* No, I’m not counting Hughes’ 1985 movie WEIRD SCIENCE or 1986 movie PRETTY IN PINK. Sorry.