John Hughes (1950-2009) was an American filmmaker best known for the teen comedies he wrote and directed in the mid 1980s: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science and Ferris Buellers Day Off.
He started as a writer for National Lampoon Magazine, and was one of the key developers of Delta House, the TV spinoff of Animal House. His first big successes as a screenwriter (the year before Sixteen Candles) were National Lampoon's Vacation and Mr. Mom. After Ferris Bueller, he directed Planes, Trains and Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, Uncle Buck, and Curly Sue, and wrote and produced Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, the Lampoon's Vacation sequel entitled Christmas Vacation, and the first three Home Alone movies. (He also produced Only The Lonely for writer-director (and Home Alone (and its sequel) director) Chris Columbus, one of only two films he produced that he didn't write - the other was New Port South, written and directed by his son James.)
During the 1990s, he somehow ended up writing and producing a string of more family-oriented comedies, including the live-action versions of One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Dennis the Menace, and the remake of Miracle On Thirty Fourth Street. In the following decade he would become a recluse, and the rest of his screenplays would be written under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes. His last film was the Owen Wilson comedy Drillbit Taylor.
Films he directed include:
- Sixteen Candles (1984)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- Weird Science (1985)
- Ferris Buellers Day Off (1986)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
- She's Having A Baby (1988)
- Uncle Buck (1989)
- Curly Sue (1991) - this was his final film as a director.
His films (those few that don't already have pages of their own) provide examples of:
- Adults Are Useless
- In a couple of his movies, the bad guys are people who take "just doing their job" too far.
- All There in the Manual: Hughes apparently spent several years putting together a detailed history for the Shermer universe of his films (see below), but his stories and notes have never been released.
- Author Appeal: Fine art and indie music.
- The Eighties: Most of his best-known and best-liked films were made this decade.
- Monochrome Casting: Virtually none of his movies had a non-white lead.
- The Stinger
- The Verse: In a 1999 Premiere article, Hughes himself declared that Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Buellers Day Off, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles are all a part of the same universe. Sadly, the crossover possibilities were never explored in film.
John Hughes: When I started making movies, I thought I would just invent a town where everything happened. Everybody, in all of my movies, is from Shermer, Illinois. Del Griffith from Planes, Trains & Automobiles lives two doors down from John Bender. Ferris Bueller knew Samantha Baker from Sixteen Candles. For 15 years I've written my Shermer stories in prose, collecting its history.
- It's long been speculated that Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Home Alone also take place in the Shermerverse, since those movies were written (but not directed) by Hughes and feature similar themes.
- Weird Science explicitly takes place in Shermer (Lisa is seen teaching the Shermer High gym class at the end), though it has its own Speculative Fiction internal logic that is inconsistent with the other canon Shermerverse movies.
- She's Having A Baby does NOT take place in the Shermerverse, since Neal Page's wife is seen watching that movie on television in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
- The Windy City: The suburbs of Chicago, actually.
His life provides examples of:
- Artist Disillusionment: Hughes left the Hollywood scene out of fear that it would have a negative impact on his kids. Plus, he felt that the film industry overworked his friend John Candy to the point that it killed the actor.
- Reclusive Artist