1. He makes you drop the remote. On a rainy afternoon, flipping through channels, which of these movies make you put down the remote until the movie is over?
Sixteen Candles? check
Breakfast Club? check
Weird Science? check
Vacation? European Vacation? Christmas Vacation? check, check and check
Pretty in Pink? yep
Ferris Bueller? check
She's Having a Baby? maybe it's just me, but check
The John Candy is Brilliant Trilogy? (Uncle Buck, Great Outdoors and Planes, Trains) Hell yes - in fact stumbling across one of these is akin to find a $20.00 bill in the pocket of a pair of pants you haven't worn in a while or finding a beer buried in the back of the fridge on a Sunday afternoon
Home Alone? absolutely and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Name me one other director who can even come close to this many "drop the remote" titles.
2. He made me long for and love Chicago without ever having been there. Nobody has ever been better at showcasing the thrill of the big city from the view point of upper middle class suburbia. Even if he never gave us a glimpse of Chicago, we knew we were there. I wanted to live in a John Hughes movie.
3. If I don't watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles sometime over the four day Thanksgiving weekend, I feel empty inside. It's as important as turkey, stuffing and getting shit-faced drunk. The only other movie that holds close to this kind of tradition for me is Christmas Vacation. John Hughes, you are two-for-two.
4. He appreciated the value a good soundtrack can add to a movie. Granted, my musical tastes have a heavy '80s slant, but come on - Holiday Road, Blitzkrieg Bop, True, Turning Japanese, Don't You Forget About Me - the list is endless
5. By the time they are 12 years old, every kid in America quotes John Hughes movies whether or not they have seen them. For example:
"Those aren't pillows!!!"
"He says we're going the wrong way...Oh, he's drunk. How would he know where we're going?"
"Ted, we're dying, what happened? "
"No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food. "
"Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns. "
"I don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself, huh?"
etc, etc, etc
6. He knew when to say when. If you check out his bio, he hadn't written a movie since 1998 (other movies had been made using his stories, but he didn't write them). He knew the movie world had passed him by. Instead of subjecting us to drivel which just made us sad because he was John Freakin' Hughes so we should like this, he just kind of faded away. There are so many people who could and should learn from this.