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He wanted to be a granpa.
February 11, 2010 9:18 PM   Subscribe

A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids fill in a bit on what the man was like.

(From the Stuckinthe80s blog). Not sure what it is about teenage chroniclers who keep writing (for themselves) after publishing their masterpieces, but they're entitled to it. The blog explains the comments and it's where I first learned of the links so I just linked to it.
posted by skepticallypleased (45 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Umm...?
posted by Anoplura at 9:32 PM on February 11, 2010


It seems really weird to have linked to a blog post summarizing an article when you could just link to the article.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:41 PM on February 11, 2010


Ok, ok I get it....if someone wants to change it, please do so. I only wanted to credit the blog from where I learned about it. I have no affiliation to the writer of the blog, but it's a great 80s blog that has not been linked here so I thought it would be nice to credit it also.
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:42 PM on February 11, 2010


Often what people do when they want to credit someone is to link like so:

A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids fill in a bit on what the man was like. (via)

The first link takes you to the main article, the "via" link shows people where you found it.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2010


ANYHOW, thanks for the article and the blog.
posted by codswallop at 10:06 PM on February 11, 2010


A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids

The mental picture I've got here is of a bunch of kids donning an elaborate rubber disguise in order to masquerade as a single truly gifted adult filmmaker -- only to be unmasked and humiliated by the Scooby Gang.
posted by killdevil at 10:07 PM on February 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


He directed Curly Sue. We'd have been better served if he'd done us this favor in 1989.
posted by clarknova at 10:08 PM on February 11, 2010


The Vanity Fair article is genuinely fascinating. It makes his untimely death sadder to me, but it's good to know that he seemed to be living a fulfilling life on his own terms after he withdrew substantially from the business of making movies.
posted by nanojath at 10:10 PM on February 11, 2010


He directed Curly Sue. We'd have been better served if he'd done us this favor in 1989.

Done us what favor? Died? That's - uh - ridiculous. Your hyperbole is broken.
posted by incessant at 10:13 PM on February 11, 2010


He directed Curly Sue. We'd have been better served if he'd done us this favor in 1989.
posted by clarknova at 12:08 AM on February 12


Wow, you're an asshole.
posted by nanojath at 10:16 PM on February 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


If you're in San Francisco this weekend, get thee down to the Castro Theater for the John Hughes retrospective. They have wisely chosen to conclude the tribute with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, he died from a heart attack on a New York City sidewalk on Aug. 6, 2009, a date that perhaps some of us will remember more than our own birthdays or anniversaries.

That's a weird thing to say.
posted by dhammond at 10:24 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


The thing about conceiving and writing Ferris Bueller in two weeks... just, wow.

You often hear about people writing scripts this fast, but it's usually someone who is relating the approximate story of their life (like Stallone with "Rocky"). Or else it's a coke-fueled mess that has to revised by six more writers before it's suitable for the screen.

That Hughes could pull that great work of fantasy out of thin air is amazing. It takes the rest of us years, if we're lucky.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:24 PM on February 11, 2010


John Hughes' son is the managing editor for Stop Smiling!? Adding that to my cool facts collection.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 10:25 PM on February 11, 2010


Instead, he died from a heart attack on a New York City sidewalk on Aug. 6, 2009, a date that perhaps some of us will remember more than our own birthdays or anniversaries.

That's a weird thing to say


Yeah, it kind of is. I am a huge fan of his, but I have no intent of remembering the date of his death. I guess it was meant as hyperbole, since it's from a website for 80s movie fanatics?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:26 PM on February 11, 2010


Thanks for this, the stuff on his sheer daily writing output is good inspiration for anyone who wastes all that potential writing time on Facebook instead.
posted by thelastenglishmajor at 10:39 PM on February 11, 2010


Ok, am I the only person getting a little weirded out by the description of his relationship with his actors, and especially with Molly Ringwald?

First the intense bonding, Ringwald 15 and Hughes in his mid-thirties, her being described as his "muse", them discussing music, him taking her out to concerts, writing "Pretty in pink" for her after she played him a song with that name.

Then weird possessive behaviour, being really sulky, thinking Ringwald was going to leave him to work with other directors when she spent an extra day in LA to go the gynecologist and being too embarrassed to tell him.

And finally, not even wanting to talk to her or Anthony Michael Hall again after the two started dating, Ringwald describing it as hurtful, and saying he "...had a huge impact on my lifeā€”not just in terms of my career but my development as a person, as a woman."

This might all be more innocent than it seems, but it's definitely ringing my "weird relationship" bells.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:00 PM on February 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm not trying to piss on a dead guy's legacy here, by the way. I liked his movies quite a bit, and he seems like he was a brilliant, multifaceted and fascinating individual. The stuff I mention above just seemed to stick out in the article as concentrated weirdness.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:08 PM on February 11, 2010


Am I misunderstanding or does "A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids fill in a bit on what the man was like." not actually make any sense?
posted by Justinian at 12:12 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The documentary film, "Don't You Forget About Me" (2009), may be worth checking out (I haven't seen it yet). It was filmed in 2008/2009 and was in post-production when Hughes passed away, so it only mentions his passing in an epilogue. Thanks for the article skepticallypleased, now excuse me while I find my "Shermer Highschool" T-shirt, queue up a nostalgic playlist and dive into the rest of that article.
posted by ecco at 12:16 AM on February 12, 2010


John Hughes's movies occupy this weird uncanny valley for me. Don't hate me, but I never quite thought they were quite funny enough to great comedies. At the same time I felt they never seemed thoughtful enough to have bite.

I never hated them, but I never loved them either.

After twenty or so years, I am still undecided on John Hughes.
posted by thisperon at 12:19 AM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I recommend reading all the way to the end of the article. There's some pretty weird stuff about Hughes' falling out with Molly Ringwald.
posted by meadowlark lime at 3:00 AM on February 12, 2010


Personal recollections from a fan who became a penpal:

I was babysitting for my mom's friend Kathleen's daughter the night I wrote that first fan letter to John Hughes. I can literally remember the yellow grid paper, the blue ball point pen and sitting alone in the dim light in the living room, the baby having gone to bed...
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 3:20 AM on February 12, 2010


Holy shit, John Hughes died? Seriously, I had no idea.

Instead, he died from a heart attack on a New York City sidewalk on Aug. 6, 2009, a date that perhaps some of us will remember more than our own birthdays or anniversaries.

Maybe now I will.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:16 AM on February 12, 2010


Am I misunderstanding or does "A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids fill in a bit on what the man was like." not actually make any sense?

It's a textbook misplaced modifier.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:20 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joakim Ziegler: No, you aren't the only one. The falling out with Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall was definitely odd, bordering on a little creepy. I almost wish I hadn't read that.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:35 AM on February 12, 2010


The article "Big Baby" from January 1993's Spy gives a rather unflattering portrait of the man.
posted by jtron at 6:12 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the one movie that gets overlooked all too often is Uncle Buck.

A very introspective piece, and now that I have learned about the whole Molly Ringwald deal through this FPP, I understand a bit more about that Buck/niece plotline.

Part of the reason why Uncle Buck isn't analyzed and discussed at the same level of... say, Alphaville, or something... has less to do with the movie and more to do with TNT airing it every 5 hours for 2 years, and that whole fiasco with the failed sitcom based upon it.

If any John Hughes movie deserves a second look, Uncle Buck is it, IMO.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:54 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hughes' short stories, sampled here, show a brilliant depth and understanding of the short short genre.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:56 AM on February 12, 2010


Reading the VF article now, and this stuck out a bit:
He wanted to be at liberty to spend as much time with his family as he pleased, to work the farm he owned 75 miles northwest of Chicago, and to exult in the resolutely uncoastal ethos of his beloved Midwest.
I've lived in the Midwest (Chicago, but with semi-frequent trips to surrounding states and southern IL) since 2003. I've lived on both coasts, in populous areas as well as more rural. What is this distinct Midwest ethos the author mentions? Is it flavor text he wouldn't actually be able to explicate? Is it something related to hot fruit, or the Jews? Seriously, I'd like to know.

all I care about in this goddamn life is me, my drums, and you

posted by jtron at 6:58 AM on February 12, 2010


'Filmaker' is a convenient shortcut.
posted by kingbenny at 7:08 AM on February 12, 2010


Here's Molly Ringwald herself on the subject.
posted by goodglovin77 at 7:09 AM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is this distinct Midwest ethos the author mentions? Is it flavor text he wouldn't actually be able to explicate?

No, you're right, jtron, there's absolutely nothing unique about the American Midwest.
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:14 AM on February 12, 2010


I didn't say that, meadowlark lime. I was just wondering what, specifically, the author was trying to get across; I don't trust my experiences to be representative of the general consensus on things, so to speak, but if there's a defined "Midwestern Ethos" I'd love to hear about it (wouldn't wanna make a native uncomfortable, after all).
posted by jtron at 7:31 AM on February 12, 2010


I think that I would have titled this "Don't You Forget About Me," personally.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:34 AM on February 12, 2010


>The article "Big Baby" from January 1993's Spy gives a rather unflattering portrait of the man.

Well, that's what Spy did, month in and month out, and often not nearly as well as it seemed to think that it did. I enjoyed it at first, but after a while the degree to which they forced the snark became wearisome. (There was one article that was written after Twin Peaks crashed and burned that made a snide comment wondering how anyone could have gotten into a series about a lady with a log. I'm sorry, but anyone who suggests that Twin Peaks was about the Log Lady, even as a joke, is kind of a fucking idiot.)

And even when they were right, they milked it until the cow started passing blood; the fact that a successful Hollywood writer-director kept weird hours, was very demanding of his staffers, and left behind a lot of disgruntled, burnt-out ex-staffers who were more than willing to talk to a scandal rag is hardly stop-the-presses news, but this article goes on for seven pages. Even as someone who doesn't think that Hughes' work stands up very well in general, I don't have the patience to plow through this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:49 AM on February 12, 2010


Anthony Michael Hall was offered the lead in Full Metal Jacket before Matthew Modine? Nutty.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2010


A truly gifted filmaker, John Hughes's kids fill in a bit on what the man was like.

AAAAH! DANGLING MODIFIER! HULK SMASH!!!!!!

/grammar nazi
posted by chara at 9:13 AM on February 12, 2010


What really impressed me about this article was just how decent and creative and productive a life John Hughes led. He seems to have had an excellent marriage, to have raised two children well, and been a wonderful devoted grandfather. He made movies that, while their actual artistic merits may be questionable, became cultural touchstones. And even after he stopped doing movies, he kept right on doing what he loved to do and left behind something tangible.

If, in addition to these good things, the worst that can be said of him was that he never quite grew up on some indefinable level, that he was sometimes oversensitive, and that he hurt a couple of his actors by ending their relationships abruptly... then he's someone to be respected.
posted by orange swan at 10:23 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


What impressed me most was that he seemed to have a sense of perspective. Once the fun of making movies had turned into a job that he didn't seem to enjoy much, he looked at what he really wanted in life, found he had the resources to do it, and did that instead. He ignored the pressure to continue his career, to be successful, to keep producing, and instead he decided to take care of his family, and be happy.

I always knew there was someone wise behind those movies.
posted by MrVisible at 12:30 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, John Hughes died? Seriously, I had no idea.

Don't you forget about me...
posted by crossoverman at 7:05 PM on February 12, 2010


jtron, the writer isn't positing a distinct ethos of the Midwest, he's saying Hughes preferred life on the farm to life in New York or Los Angeles.
posted by Lazlo at 12:58 AM on February 13, 2010


If, in addition to these good things, the worst that can be said of him was that he never quite grew up on some indefinable level, that he was sometimes oversensitive, and that he hurt a couple of his actors by ending their relationships abruptly... then he's someone to be respected.

It can be so hard in any working situation to understand what the protocol is for level of personal involvement. Not many of us have jobs where we're socially required to even speak to our co-workers outside of a work context, much less play a continual role in their personal lives long after we've worked with them. Add onto that weirdness the fact that the relevant co-workers were 16 at the time, and you start to see the level of awkwardness or misunderstanding that might result. The article suggests that Hughes remained friends with John Candy, someone with whom he shared a lot more in common: they were both the same age, had families, etc. We've also had evidence upthread that Hughes had a deep empathy for fans impacted by his movies. Maybe he wanted to give Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald a chance to grow up on their own, without being his surrogate children.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:58 AM on February 13, 2010


Also, the racist imagery in Sixteen Candles for some cheap laughs?

Ugh.
posted by thisperon at 9:39 PM on February 13, 2010


I came across some old National Lampoon magazines recently ... stuff that was passed around in eighth grade for shits'n'giggles amongst the boys. But there were two articles that deeply disturbed us and made us feel funny in strange almost good but also bad ways. It was also one of my first clues that maybe I was a little "different" than other boys. Nevertheless ... MINDS WERE BLOWN.

Imagine my shock (MY MIND WAS BLOWN AGAIN) when I realized these two articles were written by John Hughes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you National Lamppon's:

My Penis
and
My Vagina
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:47 AM on February 21, 2010


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