Sixteen Candles. The Breakfast Club. Weird Science. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Twenty-five years ago, John Hughes pretty much defined the cinematic high-school experience for Gen-X-ers. --- It was unique enough that he generally told those stories with actual teenagers as his lead actors, and it was downright revolutionary that he used as his two muses -- Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald -- a pair of kids who weren't exactly what you'd call "conventionally attractive."
Hughes died yesterday of a heart attack at the age of 59, and it's telling that his passing has garnered this much attention despite the fact that he hasn't directed a film in 18 years. Even when he shifted from teen stories to his sentimental paeans to family (Planes, Trains & Automobiles; She's Having a Baby; writing and producing Home Alone), Hughes remained locked in an entire generation's mind as a guy who seemed interested in telling the stories of teen angst in a recognizable voice. Maybe as a filmmaker he never grew out of that gawky adolescent phase, but he was one of the few filmmakers whose name became a kind of shorthand adjective, easily defining a point of view.
"Don't you forget about me?" We won't, John. We won't.