Thank You, John Hughes
I just heard the news of John Hughes passing a few minutes ago. I'm surprised, mostly because he was so young, but also because he's been out of the public consciousness for a while. I mean, he can't ever really leave the public consciousness, his footprint will always be there even if his films aren't topically at the forefront of any discussions. Why? Because his movies were so unique in tone.
Hughes' movies were so refreshingly unpretentious. They were about relatable characters. They looked believable. They spoke realistically. He wrote most of what he directed as well, which is doubly admirable to me, because it meant he was determined to see his own vision through to the end of the process. A very brave choice and a risky one at that. As a filmmaker, it means that if you succeed, you do so on your own two feet. But if you fail, you're extremely vulnerable, and there's nobody to blame but yourself. I love risk-takers.
His films for and about teenagers didn't patronize anyone. They didn't paint a picturesque version of those sometimes terrible, and always tumultuous, years. But they didn't exploit them either. And just like in real life, sometimes life as a teen is funny or sad or heartbreaking or confusing.
He was also a prolific writer, responsible for several endearing domestic comedies that also told the tale of family life, like, "Mr. Mom".
"Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" and "Home Alone" had all of the same qualities.
Hughes was always emphasizing becoming a better person by staying attached and committed to your community, usually your family, but not always. He made so many movies about how getting closer to those around you is beneficial, even when it makes you uncomfortable. Especially when it makes you uncomfortable. There was also almost always a "standing up for the little guy" theme. He was sort of like a modern day Frank Capra.
Thank You John Hughes! For your iconic additions to so many of our childhoods and teen years, for attempting to translate between kids and adults, for all the laughs, and for making films in your very own backyard. You were an excellent diplomat.