philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

For those who missed the first two instalments...

Part one is here!

Part two here!


It's been a long time coming and oddly enough because I needed to rewatch "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" before finishing. Now that is a little strange seeing as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was the one film I was sure I loved when I started this, but after seeing John Hughes other films and hating so many of them, it felt tainted somehow. Still, I gave it another watch. I cannot say I was enormously into it this time around, but "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is still good.

John Hughes' debut movie "Sixteen Candles" on the other hand....


Sixteen Candles (1984)

Ugh, I did not want to write this review.

Basically I was given the impression that John Hughes career was better in the beginning and then became cheesier and more about people being hit in the end in slapstick towards the end. So I worked backwards through his films so I could finish on a high note.



Well that backfired spectacularly. The previous film I checked out was the legedary John Hughes film "The Breakfast Club". I was surprised to find myself hating practically everyone else, particularly the 'hero' of the film, who decides early on to propose a gang-rape.



So imagine my surprise when I discovered that "Sixteen Candles" is even worse.



Anthony Michael Hall who was absolutely great in "Weird Science" and probably the most sympathetic character in "Breakfast Club", this time plays an obnoxious pick-up artist. Now that's sort of okay, because clearly we're supposed to think he's obnoxious and pathetic. Except that he is later given a passed-out girl to molest, is pressured to drive her home while drunk and takes her to his friends house so they can provide photographic proof that he had sex with her. After all that, it seems that the film expects us to find him a sympathetic character because, just like the girl, he cannot remember their evening in the morning.


BTW Caroline (above) is played by Haviland Morris who was Marla in "Gremlins 2: The New Batch". Watch that instead.

Meanwhile there's another guy who actually encourages Anthony Michael Hall to have sex with the passed-out drunk girl in the first place. He boasts that he could easily have his way with passed-out drunk girls, but the only girl who he wants is the protagonist. So he suggests that Anthony Michael Hall take his ex-girlfriend away and have his way with her. This is passed off as romantic.
Click here for the rest of the review... )



Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

When the John Hughes' retrospective was going down hill, I purposefully left Ferris Bueller's Day Off til the end. Unlike "Weird Science" I'd rewatched it relatively recently and I had still felt very positive towards it.



Sadly, the context of a John Hughes' retrospective rather dampened my excitement this time around. Hughes' filmography features a category of unpleasant protagonists:
John Hughes' horrible protagonists under the cut... )
So, this is a review of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", so we better discuss the protagonist here: Ferris Bueller. It should be noted that Ferris Bueller is not a nice guy. He starts off manipulating his parents into letting him stay home and then immediately goes on to manipulate his friend (who may possibly be a hyperchondriac) to help him. Now, I'm not saying that this isn't effective comedy. It is. Ferris Bueller, in spite of being a bit of a prick, is admittedly funny. A great deal is owed to Matthew Broderick for milking as much comedy about of the role as is humanly possible. Similar praise must go to Alan Ruck who plays Ferris's friend Cameron.



What is rather less funny is ANY of the scenes involving the 'evil teacher'. (Thankfully this time the teacher isn't threatening to punch anyone, like in "The Breakfast Club". He's more just an uber-bureaucrat.) He's just not funny. It's like the Ferris Bueller scenes weren't slapsticky enough, so Hughes felt the need to throw it all into the scenes with this guy. The final scene with the teacher getting onto a schoolbus has always fallen flat for me, but it never occurred to me before that this is a point where finally all the humour has to come from this teacher character, the plot surrounding Ferris Bueller having completely come to an end.


Click here for the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
Three more films in my John Hughes retrospective. I've been working backwards from John Hughes' final directing credit "Curly Sue" to his directorial début "Sixteen Candles". So far I reviewed "Curly Sue", "Uncle Buck" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" in the first instalment which you can find here. Below I review "She's Having A Baby", "Weird Science" and "The Breakfast Club".



In my reverse retrospective, "She's Having A Baby" should have come after "Uncle Buck". However, in desperation I jumped straight into "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" - with unfortunate results. So having received my worst John Hughes experience of all time from the movie enjoyed by 47 out of 50 reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes (94%), I figured that "She's Having A Baby", with a score of 48% was unlikely to be any worse.


She's Having A Baby (1988)

There was brief ray of hope in the opening scenes of this movie when it had a sort of Coen Brothers, black comedy feel to it. Our central protagonists are about to get married and their extended families on either side of the Church are utterly unimpressed by the pairing and often badmouthing the other family.


Read more... )

I was trepidatious about revisiting this one. This retrospective hasn't been fantastic, I didn't remember this film being the best thing ever and had every expectation that, in the light of Hughes other films, it would turn out to be awful. But I decided to trust my 14 year old self that this would be a lot more fun than the last few John Hughes films.


Weird Science (1985)

The premise of this movie initially sounds appalling. A couple of teenage losers who cannot seem to get a girlfriend decide to use their computer and make themselves a woman. But you have to realise that it is very much an accident that they are successful. It's more of a computer-centred ritual rather than an engineering job, with cultish behaviour like wearing bras on their heads playing a part. The woman they create appears to have magic powers and in the end of the end this is like a modern story about a genie granting wishes.
Read more... )

So, with my faith in Hughes mostly restored, it was now time to check out his most highly acclaimed film: "The Breakfast Club". I knew nothing about what to expect. All I knew was that it was supposed to be the big highlight of this retrospective.


The Breakfast Club (1985)

It did not take long for me to start hating this film. It doesn't seem like a great decision to put your moral in voiceover narration at the title credits, but I suppose the point was that we were supposed to recognise the clichés that are listed in the characters. The initial narration tells the teacher not to judge his pupils in simple pigeon-holed stereotypes which are listed as: a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.
Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)


Anyone remember ages back when I suggested I might do a John Hughes retrospective? Well I've been working my way through the movies he directed.

I've come to realise with this sort of thing that it's a bad idea to start with the earlier films. Directors need a big break when they get started or they'd never make it big, so they are more likely to have high quality films towards the start of their careers than towards the end. In the case of movie series it is harder to mix things up, but saving the Platinum Dunes reboot til last tends to finish things on a pretty sour note (as I discovered when reviewing the Friday the 13th movies).

So with this series of movies I decided to work my way backwards, starting with "Curly Sue".


Curly Sue (1991)

Jim Belushi isn't the best comedian ever, but he does a pretty good job here in his team up with a young girl. The two are living on the streets and working together on scams to keep themselves out of poverty.



However, when they scam one particular rich lawyer who works out what is really going on, she decides that she is going to help to ensure that Curly has a real childhood.
Click here to read on... )


Uncle Buck (1989)

The suggestion of the premise is that the eponymous Buck (played by John Candy) is going to cause havoc when he enters a typical home. My concern was rather more with how I was going to keep my sanity when forced to spend time with the whiney children.


Click here to read on... )

At this point I decided to skip "She's Having A Baby". I mean just look at the title! I didn't miss out the film. I saw it later. But at this stage I desperately needed a REALLY good John Hughes film to put things into perspective.

So at this stage I skipped straight to "Planes, Trains And Automobiles" which has over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now finally I could see what a really good quality John Hughes movie was like....


Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

What... the hell... was this?

The main roles here are played by Steve Martin and John Candy. I've not seen much with John Candy, but I've seen several films with Steve Martin and he's never really impressed me much. The big exception to the rule seems to be the film "Bowfinger" where I thought Martin was hilarious. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is not a new exception to that rule.


Click here to read on... )

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