The John Hughes Top 10
Hollywood lost a great filmmaker today when John Hughes died at the age of 59. Even though he hasn’t made a movie in years, he leaves behind a legacy of great movies. Many of which you and I grew up with. In honor of Hughes, I have assembled the ten greatest films by Hughes. Be sure to tell me yours.
10. Uncle Buck (1989). The battle for this spot came down between “Uncle Buck” and “Pretty in Pink.” Molly Ringwald was pretty awesome, but she was no John Candy. Candy stars as Buck, who has been tapped to watch his nieces and nephew while his brother and his wife go out of town. Buck has no experience with children or much else in life, it seems. Candy’s charisma is what makes the movie. If it were anyone else, I’m not sure it would’ve worked.
Best quote: “Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam.”
9. Home Alone (1990). Surprisingly, Hughes’ greatest single success wasn’t even in the 1980s. He nailed it with “Home Alone” because it was kid-friendly and set during Christmas. Of course it’s about a kid, Kevin, (Macaulay Culkin) accidentally left home alone. Not only is he left to fend for himself, he has to fend off robbers. What makes this movie stretch beyond a kid’s holiday movie are the stunts. The booby traps Kevin sets for the would-be robbers are what bring in most of the laughs.
Best quote: “I wouldn’t let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass.”
8. Mr. Mom (1983). “Mr. Mom” follows Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) as he takes over household duties when his wife (Teri Garr) goes back to work. Everything one could imagine going wrong does go wrong. Of course a man not knowing how to do the laundry or use a vacuum cleaner sound ridiculous but if it makes you laugh, that‘s all the matters. The best scene is Jack’s soap-opera-like dream sequence. It’s fully equipped with the theme from “The Young & The Restless.”
Best quote: “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.”
7. Weird Science (1985). The premise is completely ridiculous, but after seeing Bill Paxton turn into a pile of poo, and add in one smoking hot Kelly LeBrock, you’ve got a winner. Major geeks Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) use their very ’80s computer to create a real-life woman (LeBrock). She’s got the brain of Einstein and the magic of Houdini. Kind of a R-rated Mary Poppins, Lisa, transforms the boys from geek to chic and is on her merry way.
Best quote: “You know, there’s going to be sex, drugs, rock ‘n‘roll … chips, dips, chains, whips … You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing.”
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989). It was hard to not put this one at the No. 1 spot, because, well, it’s awesome. The Griswold family decides to spend Christmas at home for a good old-fashioned family Christmas. Clark (Chevy Chase) decks the halls in only the way Clark can. By the time the holiday arrives, you’ve got a fried pussycat, a squirrel attack and an abducted boss. Oh, and a bulging blue leisure suit. Christmas never looked more fun.
Best quote: “Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.”
5. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987). Just hearing Edie McClurg tell Steve Martin “You’re f***ed” is worth a watch alone. But John Candy, in his greatest role, makes the movie a classic. Candy plays Del Griffith (Director of sales, American Light & Fixture, shower curtain ring division). He runs into Neal Page (Martin) when they’re both stranded at the airport. In order to get home in time for Thanksgiving, they decide to share a rental car.
Best quote: “Larry Bird doesn’t do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!”
4. The Breakfast Club (1985). “A brain … and an athlete … and a basket case … a princess… and a criminal.” Minus a few other stereotypes, that pretty much sums up high school. Who knew five teens stuck in detention would end up being such a popular movie? It’s a movie about nothing, but it works. It’s one of the more dramatic movies made by Hughes, but it’s still billed as a comedy and funny enough to appeal to its target audience.
Best quote: “Claire, you wanna see a picture of a guy with elephantitis of the nuts? It’s pretty tasty.”
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Ferris is one of those guys you want to be. He’s got the girl. He’s got the charm. And he’s got everyone eating out of his hand. I often imagine this guy grew up to be a total ass. He probably became that guy in the office everyone hates and after three divorces is dating a 19-year-old. But hey, he was a fun teenager.
Best quote: “You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she’s a whore.”
2. Sixteen Candles (1984). The beginning of the teen-movie craze, Sixteen Candles begins on the morning of Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday. But her entire family forgets because they’re too consumed with her sister Jenny’s upcoming wedding. But at least there’s a dance to go to. Samantha is pining for hunky Jake Ryan, but all she can get is Farmer Fred (actually, it’s Farmer Ted, but he isn’t a farmer at all).
Best quote: “She’s got her period. Should make for an interesting honeymoon, huh?”
1. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983). Our first introduction to the Griswolds was the best. The family embarks on a cross-country trip to Wally World amusement park and hilarity ensues . And its set to the song “Holiday Road“ by Lindsey Buckingham. “Vacation” is what real comedy is. It mixes slapstick with uncomfortable humor. No one makes movies like this anymore. Hughes wasn’t afraid to be bold. He wasn’t afraid to kill aunt Edna or her dog. The movie even hints at incest and infidelity. If you can make those things funny, then you’re a genius. And John Hughes was.
Best quote: Vicki: “I’m going steady, and I French kiss.”
Audrey: “So? Everybody does that.”
Vicki: Yeah, but Daddy says I’m the best at it.”