I imagine you’re asking yourself why, in the blue hell, is this list on your favorite “horror” website, right? Well, the answer is that no matter how much we may think we crave it, the world can’t be all gore-all the time. So, with that in mind, on what would have been the man’s 66th birthday, we celebrate some of John Hughes’ best works and some of my favorite movies of all time.
I’ll start by saying that while it is easy to put together a list of great films that John Hughes wrote/directed/produced, it is not easy to try and put them in any sort of order since they’re all so amazing in their own way. It took me a while to do and it and there was a lot of back and forth but I think I finally have it right, in my opinion anyway. So…here we go.
My Top 15 John Hughes Movies
15. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)
While not as funny as the original or Christmas Vacation, definitely still a good movie. I loathed the Rusty and Audrey in this one but the film was saved by Chevy, Beverly and a few really funny scenes (like the Oktoberfest brawl and the scenes with Eric Idle from Monty Python.)
14. Dutch (1991)
Such an overlooked gem. Ed O’Neill is perfect as the “every-man’s man” who takes a trip to pick up and attempt to bond with his new girlfriends kid who is quite the little prep school prick (played by a young Ethan Embry).
13. The Great Outdoors (1988)
The first of three John Hughes/John Candy classics on this list (four if you count his cameo in Vacation). The world really misses John Candy and his performances like this. And I’d like to have a go at the Old 96er.
12. Home Alone (1990)
Probably the most commercially successful on this list. Still an amazing watch to this day and one of those films that I will always leave on the tube no matter what part it’s on when I’m flipping through the channels.
11. Weird Science (1985)
The crazy thing about a list like this is that a true classic like Weird Science ends up at number eleven just because of the amount of amazing films in the entire list. The bar scene is among my favorites scenes in any movie.
10. Uncle Buck (1989)
How can I put Uncle Buck ahead of movies like Home Alone and Weird Science, you ask? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s my affection for John Candy but I really love this movie. The scene in the principal’s office sealed it for me. Every time he sees the mole and introduces himself as “Buck Melanoma, Moley Russel’s Wart”, I lose it.
9. Mr. Mom (1983)
Michael Keaton and Teri Garr absolutely slay in this film that pretty accurately depicts how most men would fail at being a stay-at-home “mom”.”220, 221…whatever it takes.”
8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This has become one of those holiday classics that you will always see on TV at Christmas-time. Some people (not me) even say that it’s better than the first Vacation. Cousin Eddie is classic in this one.
7. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
John Candy again but this time with the equally incredible Steve Martin. Rumor was that John Hughes wrote this to quiet all the folks who said that he could only write teenager movies. I agonized over whether this or Christmas Vacation should come first and I went with Planes, Trains & Automobiles because of the fantastic heart that the movie has. Christmas Vacation is more iconic but I feel that Planes is a better movie.
6. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…I’ll bet that you said that in Ben Stein’s voice in your head. What an absolutely perfect film. This is every kid’s dream of what skipping school should be like. For me, skipping unfortunately never amounted to more than a few friends, a case of warm beer and avoiding parents.
5. Sixteen Candles (1984)
The movie that made Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall stars. Jake Ryan was probably every 80’s girl’s perfect dream. “Can I borrow your underpants for ten minutes?”
4. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation will always be somewhere on every sane person’s list of the best comedies of all time. Chock full of laugh out loud scenes and amazing performances, this will be a classic for many years to come.
3. Pretty in Pink (1986)
There is so much amazing going on in this movie that it’s almost hard to watch. Between Duckie’s dancing to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” to Steff’s fucking perfect douchebaggery, Pretty in Pink is a true masterpiece. It is a perfect depiction of the pressures kids put on themselves to remain “cool” in the eyes of their so-called friends.
2. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
I have always adored the heart of Some Kind of Wonderful. Hughes took what he did not like about the ending of Pretty in Pink (he wanted Andy and Duckie to end up together) and he fixed it by having the “outcasts” end up together. The combo of Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson was great and Elias Koteas as Duncan is easily one of my favorite movie bad-asses. “This must be a hen-house because all I smell is chicken shit.”
1. The Breakfast Club (1985)
The tops. Number one. The best. I spent the summer between sixth and seventh grades watching this sometimes two to three times a day. I still know every word. I wanted to be John Bender and I wanted to go to Shermer High School. The Breakfast Club is the most important teen movie ever made and it always will be.
Just Missed the List!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
A good follow-up but a little loopy (the bird-lady for instance). That aside, Tim Curry was spectacular as the hotel manager and it’s an over-all good film but just missed my top 15.
She’s Having a Baby (1988)
Another one that I really like but couldn’t fit in to the top 15. Alec Baldwin is terrific as Kevin Bacon’s asshole friend Davis and the part at the end with all of the celebrities giving their suggestions for baby names is classic.
There you have it folks. My top 15 (with two more thrown in) is hereby complete. Please feel free to argue, discuss, hem and haw. I will say that compiling and numbering these was very painful as I love them all so much. When I was done, I definitely did one of these: