I was not a teen-ager in the 1980s, when John Hughes was either writing or directing (or doing both) just about every teen movie being released.
But even though I was definitely not his target audience in the mid 1980s, Hughes' films made me realize that the concerns, fears and goals of adolescents don't really change all that much from generation to generation: Keeping friends, finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, dealing with parents, getting jobs. The clothes and the music changes, sure, but the basic drill stays the same.
After writing the screenplays for the hit movies "Vacation" and "Mr. Mom" in 1983, Hughes grabbed the director's chair and brought out "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club" and became the 1980s teen mouthpiece.
In 1986, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" widened Hughes' appeal to the 20- and 30-something crowd. The following year, he made what is arguably his best film, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" which remains as one of the most skillful blends of flat-out funny and genuinely touching moments in contemporary filmmaking.
There will be places that take deeper looks at Hughes' work over the years. Let's let this space be one to remember and enjoy some of the best Hughes-directed characters and quotes:
-- Oh Sam, let me take a look at you. Fred, she's gotten her boobies. (Grandma Helen/Carole Cook, "Sixteen Candles")
-- "No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food. (Long Duk Dong/Gedde Watanabe, "Sixteen Candles")
-- "Can I borrow your underpants for 10 minutes? (The Geek/Anthony Michael Hall, "Sixteen Candles")
-- "Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns." (Richard Vernon/Paul Gleason, "The Breakfast Club")
-- " I think violating fire codes and endangering the lives of children would be unwise at this juncture in your career, sir." (John Bender/Judd Nelson, "The Breakfast Club")
-- "So ... so when you're feeling real low and ... and dirty, and your heart is splattered all over hell, don't look to me to pump you back up 'cause, 'cause, 'cause maybe for the first time in your life I WON'T BE THERE! (Duckie/Jon Cryer, "Pretty in Pink")
-- "Listen, it's after 7:00. Don't waste good lip gloss. (Iona/Annie Potts, "Pretty in Pink")
-- "Nothing? What do you mean nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas! (Ferris/Matthew Broderick, "Ferris Bueler's Day Off")
-- "Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude. (Grace/Edie McClurg, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off")
-- "Simple. There's no way on earth we're going to get out of here tonight. We'd have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak. (Del/John Candy, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles")
-- "And by the way, you know, when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea - have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener! (Neal/Steve Martin, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles")
-- " Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. (Del, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles")
Your weekly capsule of local news, life advice, trivia and humor from Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Holleman.