breakclubjan10If I’m not THE biggest fan of John Hughes’ movies, I’m right up there on the list. Clint Eastwood is a genius in the art of creating fantastic cinematic masterpieces; Hughes was the genius of the 80’s version of teen angst (but even the current generation of teens relate to and quote his movies right along with their parents, granting him one of the most coveted of adjectives for a filmmaker: timeless).

He got it. He was plugged into a remarkable combination of humor, drama, reality, heart, soul, and character.

He also wrote some of the absolute funniest, most-quotable dialogue ever to grace the silver screen.

This blog, however, takes a different spin on my Top Five filmmaker (Eastwood is still my number one go-to guy; I simply love the man and his work and in all fairness, Hughes was primarily a writer, penning 44 and directing only 8, albeit 8 of his best). This post is built around movies I find many people (sometimes including myself) do not, or did not, know were “John Hughes” movies. They are in no particular order amongst the middle of the short list, however the first I feel is the most-known potentially unknown (whew!) Hughes film and that last, well, I wish it were NOT a John Hughes film (in fact, as I’ll discuss later, I am still to this day aghast at it being stamped with his name). Trust me, there’s a story behind that one and I assure you I’ll tell it.

HomeAlone5. Home Alone (and sequels). This was a movie I thought was well-done, hilarious, and totally surprised me (back then, although I thought Macaulay Culkin one of the funniest kids in the industry at the time,  just didn’t expect much from the movie, probably because I’m not a huge slapstick fan—I prefer intellectually funny to a frying pan in the face). I had no idea until years later that Hughes wrote the movie. I should have known because he would be one of few geniuses able to bring together intelligent humor, slapstick, and the trademark heartwarming moments. I’ve seen the first sequel—I’m a big believer in not revisiting movies when the first was either perfectly orchestrated (Silence of the Lambs), mindbendingly original (Memento), or an instant classic, such as the movie we’re on currently. (You will, however find one of my exceptions to this rule within this very list.)

I guess I’ll leave it at this: if anyone could make me enjoy unabashed slapstick, it would be John Hughes (and the originality of some of Kevin’s contraptions, along with the expressions of classic actors Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern really did smack of a JH film).

MaidManhattan4. Maid in Manhattan. Now, lest you think I put this movie here because I am a fan, I’ll tell you I have never seen this movie. I actually just learned today that it was written by Hughes while trying to pick my five “least-known” movies. I am pretty sure this is a pretty popular movie, however, with those who like chick flicks (i.e chicks) although I’m betting there are plenty of guys who secretly throw in the old DVD when no one else around (much the way I do with my Barry Manilow CD) simply because of the effervescent, libido-numbing presence of Jennifer Lopez (an artist, I must say, who completely changed my mind with her warmth, humor, and sincerity on American Idol). And my wife will not kill me for writing this because I know she agrees wholeheartedly: Jennifer may be the most beautiful woman on the planet. Seriously. I’m still stunned, however, that John Hughes wrote this movie. I’m now thinking the combination of Lopez and Hughes warrants an end-to-end screening (plus it stars Ralph Fiennes, who along with his brother Joseph Fiennes, are two of the most underrated actors in the business).

christmas_vacation3. Vacation (and sequels). Here I make an exception to never making one (much less three) sequels to a classically, clear-to-be-a-cult-favorite movie like Vacation. The second (European Vacation) while it had one or two classic Hughes’ lines (“Oink, oink, my good man.”), sucked. However, this is the only series I know where the first was an all-time classic but my favorite, by far, is the THIRD (also why I used that movie poster. The mark of an excellent movie for me? One I will watch any time I am channel-surfing, especially in uncut version. Christmas Vacation is easily in that category. I also judge a movie by how many must-quote lines it contains. Hughes was the master of the quotable movie, dominating that category as commandingly as Gretzky dominated hockey, Jordan dominated hoops, and Tiger dominated the sticks. The entire movie is like a reel of must-quotes (“Shitter’s full!”). The strange phenomenon to me about the Vacation series is that it is almost like two separate great movies that had terrible sequels. So in a weird way it doesn’t break my self-proclaimed rule (thought we’d likely never have gotten Christmas Vacation had we not endured the European version. My saying nothing about Vegas Vacation should really speak volumes.

1983-mr-mom-poster12. Mr. Mom. Come on. Raise your hands. How many of you did NOT know Mr. Mom was a John Hughes classic? I didn’t until a couple years back when watching it for the umpteenth time I paid attention to the writing credits. Wow. What a timeless comedy with great quotes (“Yeah. 220, 221, whatever it takes.”). Not my favorite JH movie—a little cheesy, but still a movie I think most would agree is pretty darn watchable. Michael Keaton has always been a partial go-to actor for me. You throw in Martin Mull, Jeffrey Tambor, and Ann “Ooh La La” Jillian in her absolute PRIME? Please. Give me that cast and JH writing and one of my Aussies could make you a movie worth watching.

Which brings us to number one. There are two types of “movies worth watching—movies so good you must see them and movies so hideously awful you’ve simply got to witness it for yourself. This last movie definitely leads the list in the latter.

BabysDayOut1. Baby’s Day Out. Please, John, tell me as I typed its title you rolled in your grave. I mean, the man wrote 44 movies. I get it; they aren’t all classics. But the man who wrote Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors, She’s Having a Baby, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Weird Science wrote (story only, at least) this unforgivably cheese-ball, humorless, ridiculous, ghastly, scurrilously beyond what we used to call “movie magic” (that’s when someone, say, jumps not only thirty feet between two buildings but also a twelve foot drop in height, rolls, and is back up running without so much as a tear in his Armani suite, you look to your friend and he shrugs his shoulders and says matter-of-factly “movie magic?”).

The story behind me even discovering this used diaper of a movie was in John Hughes’ canon begins with a group talk about all the JH greats listed above and one person finally saying “You’ve seen his all-time best movie, though, right?” I mean this buddy of mine was dead serious. He brought it in the next day, I was home a couple hours before my wife and decided after perusing the DVD cover I’d better do a private screening before subjecting my wife to what might be dreck on a truly profound level.

tumblr_lrkq7rmnJv1r2g7mto1_500The only reason I watched it all the way through was akin to turning and looking at a traffic accident. Had you secretly filmed me watching the movie, I would not be surprised if my mouth never closed and my jaw not once left the floor. I honestly believe this movie would insult the intelligence of a young child. This movie is “Barney” material (i.e. only for toddlers with no full concept of anything real in the world and who laugh because something moves and make a relatively strange sound). Once old enough to remotely understand the world outside their home and even the simplest of plots, no child should be subjected to this film.

The friend who recommended it (graciously) took the most disbelieving, outraged, shaming tongue-lashing I’ve ever doled to a friend. He cowered and eventually claimed he did watch it (the first time) with his young children and then mumbled something mostly incoherent. He and I are still good friends but it will be decades (if ever) before I accept a movie recommendation from him.

If I ever REALLY make it—I mean Bill Gates/Richard Branson kind of “make it”—I may spend a year or two tracking down every copy ever made, having a cease and desist injunction put in place against ever making any more copies of any kind, and destroying all as a final homage to Mr. Hughes.

My guess is he’d be waiting for me with a case of Guinness at the Pearly Gates.


The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.


Author known to use spontaneous satire, sarcasm, and unannounced injections of pith or witticisms which may not be suitable for humorless or otherwise jest-challenged individuals. (Witticisms not guaranteed to be witty, funny, comical, hilarious, clever, scintillating, whimsical, wise, endearing, keen, savvy, sagacious, penetrating, fanciful, or otherwise enjoyable. The Surgeon General has determined through laboratory testing that sarcasm can be dangerous, even in small amounts, and should not be ingested by those who are serious, somber, pensive, weighty, funereal, unsmiling, poker-faced, sober, or pregnant.)


4 Responses to Did You Know? (John Hughes)

  1. lmao. Epic list, Rob. You had me rolling with the way you described your horror at the last one. Did you know they made a sequel? Baby Goes To China. Just kidding. It was cancelled. 🙂

  2. Jon says:

    Yep John hughes was the best.

  3. Arlee Bird says:

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen any John Hughes films, though when my daughters were growing up and still living at home we probably went to see just about all of his movies. He knows the craft of commercial viability. I probably wouldn’t go back to watch most of these though.

    • admin says:

      From your reply I wanted to make sure you (and the world) realized that I wasn’t endorsing any of these as movies I’ve either seen, liked, or would watch again (almost the opposite, being I didn’t even know they were Hughes movies). 🙂

      However if you’re saying you’d never watch (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors, She’s Having a Baby, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Weird Science) again, I must politely suggest you’ve lost your mind! 😉

      Thanks for the read and response; much appreciated, Arlee!


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