John Hughes, the onetime advertising copywriter turned filmmaker beloved for family-friendly movies such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Home Alone, died of a heart attack this morning in Manhattan, reports Variety. The genial Midwesterner (he was a Michigan-born Chicago transplant who brought moviemaking to his adoptive city) was Hollywood's High School Activities director. He made many movies set in secondary schools and the signal event in them was Who Would Take Molly Ringwald to the prom.
His movies with Ringwald defined the hair-band 1980s and his Matthew Broderick truancy comedy Ferris Bueller likewise defined the decade's ethos: Playing hard rather than working hard was the goal. I think of these movies very fondly even as I muse that as Hughes got older, the age of his protagonists got younger. He began with the teenagers of Sixteen Candles (1984) and proceeded, like Benjamin Button, to Baby's Day Out (1994). I have to ring off to write his obit, but I'm very very sad. Favorite Hughes movie? I'm going for Some Kind of Wonderful (1987).