With his iconic movies fading into nostalgia, who is the John Hughes for today’s kids?

September 12, 2011


John Hughes. Don’t you forget about me…

Legendary filmmaker and former adman, John Hughes worked fast, writing scripts for many of his most famous films over feverish, coffee-fueled weekends. Most of these films (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink to name a few) have had a lot longer tail than such brevity would indicate, entertaining and influencing young people years after they were made.

He made other more adult-oriented films, serving as writer and director, before he died in 2009. But it is his young people movies I’d like to talk about. The above-mentioned films totally captured the teen zeitgeist in the late eighties, dramatizing the humor and pain of adolescence. Hughes’ use of music, the actors he cast and the heartfelt stories just nailed it.

My question: Who’s the John Hughes for today’s adolescent moviegoer? I couldn’t think of anyone making films today (writer or director) who makes movies of consequence for young people.

There’s Harry Potter, Twilight and oodles of animated movies. But as wonderful as some (not all) of these are, none are based on anything close to resembling the real world.


Cast from The Breakfast Club. Funny without being cartoons.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad or even if it really matters but I do think it’s sad that kids have only cartoons and fantasies in which to relate to. It’s the same on TV, unless you think iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place or Hannah Montana resembles life around your house.

Why is there such a void? Is it that no one in Hollywood thinks drama-comedies based on real life will sell or that kids in America won’t see them? If so, what does that say about today’s moviemakers…and us?

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3 Responses to “With his iconic movies fading into nostalgia, who is the John Hughes for today’s kids?”

  1. Mark said

    The focus is on big action/concept-type films, and since indy film has died, there are no sources for material, and producing an original script is too risky. I never find anything at Redbox that is worth watching, I can’t believe that it’s because the audience has changed, I just remember there being a better time for film.

  2. brian said

    Pat Piper, my former colleague and still great friend, is a huge fan of John Hughes and all his movies. I hope Pat comes across this article. He would appreciate it.

  3. John Oney said

    There have been some really good teen movies over the past decade or so (“Juno” quickly comes to mind, as does “Superbad”), they just aren’t coming from one person. Rather, they are from a generation of screenwriters most certainly influenced by John Hughes.

    Whether the story takes place in an imaginary world or not, the themes of self-discovery, self-acceptance and growing up that Hughes studied with so much care and humor are just as relevant to today’s audience. They’re just being told in different ways, and that’s a good thing.

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