Eighties writer/director mastermind John Hughes died early today of a heart attack while taking a morning walk. A National Lampoon writer from the rag's glory days, his work on the screnplay for National Lampoon's Vacation brought him his first screen success and soon after he was directing his own script, the coming-of-age classic Sixteen Candles. The movie was a success and set down what it meant to be a Hughes film, filled with contemporary alt rock, teenage angst, and a stunning clarity for what it felt like to grow up in America.
Following his first success, Hughes continued in the same pattern with Pretty In Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, and his masterpiece Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Though he skipped between writing, directing, and producing, his films still felt like Hughes regardless of what role he was playing in their production.
In the late 80s Hughes broke out of his comfort zone, with Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, and She's Having a Baby. Though the movies weren't the unqualified successes of his earlier works, there was still clearly an artist at work in the background. Hughes slowed his prodigious work rate down, but still had box office success with the Beethoven and Home Alone series during the 90s before oddly dropping out of Hollywood.
Even with only a few years of work, Hughes became one of the most popular directors of his generation. Though his works are steeped in the age they were made in, they're still timeless and have remained touchstones for teenagers ever since their release. He will be missed. Posted 08.06.09 by reelz