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The Lookout | October 19, 2021

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For What It’s Worth: John Hughes movies

For What It’s Worth: John Hughes movies
  • On October 7, 2020

By Larry Hook
Adviser of The Lookout

This summer, as a way to fight boredom during the pandemic, I decided to start collecting the movies of renowned filmmaker John Hughes.

Many people know Hughes as the screenwriter of such famous movies as “The Breakfast Club,” “Home Alone” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” But did you know that Hughes was born in Lansing?

Hughes was born in Lansing, Mich. on Feb. 18, 1950. He spent the first 12 year of his life in Grosse Pointe, Mich., before his family moved to Northbrook, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

As a young man, he worked as a writer for National Lampoon Magazine. Several of his early movies were National Lampoon productions.

Late in his life, Hughes went into recluse, and rarely made public appearances or granted interviews. He died Aug. 6, 2009 at age 59, suffering a heart attack while taking a stroll in New York City.

I have always been a big fan of Hughes’ movies. Some characteristics of his movies include great soundtracks, coming-of-age stories, Chicago settings, witty dialogue and plenty of comedy.

Hughes used the pen name Edmond Dantès for many of his movie credits, a homage to the lead character in “The Count of Monte Cristo” (1934). Knowing this pseudonym was important for me as I tried to collect all of Hughes’ films.

By my count, there are 31 movies for which Hughes either wrote or co-wrote the screenplay. He also served as producer, or executive producer, for many of these movies.

Hughes did not write the screenplay, but did serve as executive producer, for the 1991 movie “Only the Lonely,” starring John Candy.

So by my count, there are 32 “John Hughes movies.” By the end of July, I had purchased all 32 of them, mostly on eBay. Most are on DVD format, but I had to get five of them on VHS, due to either availability or cost constraints.

I started my Hughes movie marathon on Aug. 24 and finished it on Sept. 26, watching 32 movies in 34 days. I watched them chronologically, starting with “National Lampoon’s Class Reunion” (1982) and ending with “Drillbit Taylor” (2008).

I rated each movie on a scale of 1 to 10. Only two of them scored less than a 5, and both were very early in Hughes’ movie career: “National Lampoon’s Class Reunion” (2) and 1983’s “Nate and Hayes” (4).

I knew several of the movies were going to score 10s before I even watched them this summer, because I have seen them so many times before. These included: “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983); “Sixteen Candles” (1984); “The Breakfast Club” (1985); and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986).

Two other movies scored 10s for me: “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” (1985); and “Curly Sue” (1991). The latter movie, starring Jim Belushi and a little girl named Alisan Porter, was a big surprised to me, because I had only seen it once before. It is very cute and heartwarming.

Several movies scored 9 for me, including “Home Alone” (1990); “Pretty in Pink” (1986); and a remake of “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994). Many others scored 8 and 7.

Watching John Hughes’ entire collection of movies was a delight for me. Seek them out and watch some of them; even the more obscure ones. I don’t think you will be disappointed.