Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Classic Corner

Some of John Hughes' finest work

John Hughes (Writer/director) sadly passed away last week. He was 59. Here, I will take a look at my favourites of his impression collection of films.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Starring: John Candy, Steve Martin)
The storyline is simple. Neal (Martin) is trying to get back home to his loving family for Thanksgiving, but is struggling with the poor weather that cancels his flight. He decides to use numerous other modes of transport just to get home, but on the way meets shower curtain ring salesman, Del Griffith (Candy) who just so happens to be going the same way.

The on screen chemistry is brilliant, and while John Candy is his usual comedic self, it's nice to see Steve Martin in a decent role and great film, at a time where his career was at it's peak. The two bounce off each other well, and not only do they share great chemistry through the comedy moments, but the final scene is very touching.

John Hughes directed this film, as well as writing it, and has done a brilliant job. It was one of his first films that branched away from his teen comedies and has been a classic ever since.

Home Alone (Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci)
Most people throughout the world have seen Macaulay Culkin's iconic scared face all over the world since it's release in 1990. Most people should have seen this classic film as well, which sees Kevin (Culkin), an eight-year old boy, accidentally left "home alone" while the rest of his large family travel to France for Christmas. While Kevin is on his own, getting to do many things he wouldn't usually be allowed to do, he one night overhears a plan that two burglars are going to raid his house on Christmas Eve, insuing hilarity and mishaps throughout.

The idea of a young child outsmarting two grown adults is one that Hollywood loves to milk, and Home Alone is the perfect template for doing so. The traps that Kevin set up are genius, and always fool the two idiotic burglars who are outsmarted at every turn. The sub-plot to this film is quite touching, but doesn't match the main which has turned into such an iconic story, that it spawned three sequels, and making a major star of child actor Culkin.

It was Hughes' first film of the 90s and everything about this family friendly film is perfect. It may not be a conceivable storyline but thats the magic of it. A small cameo from John Candy is a big plus and some great one liners, booby trap slapstick and the heartwarming subplot propel this into Classic territory.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck)
John Hughes was known for his brilliant teen-comedies that gave him his success in the early 80s. Ferris Bueller is my favourite of the lot, which sees Ferris (Broderick) take a day off school to head down to Chicago with his best friend Cameron (Ruck) and girl friend Sloane (Mia Sara). They try and make the most of their day off while being hunted down by the Dean of their school, Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), who believes Ferris to be truant, rather than just ill.

While the storyline seems pretty simple, it's the writing in this film that really makes it, with some great one-liners and witty dialogue between all the main characters who are all on top form. Ferris talking directly to the camera is also quite unique, and another positive plus on this film. The film has had a huge cultural impact and it's style can be seen if you look carefully enough at many modern day comedies.

John Hughes has other teen comedy success with Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, but Ferris Bueller with his wit and charm is my favourite, and the impact it has had on other mediums shows. While Disney and Co bring out their teen "comedies" in the shape of some prepubescent girls cheerleading or some sort of shocking musical number, I will always be going back to the 80s, seeing how it should be done.

Planes, Trains - 9/10
Home Alone - 7/10
Ferris Bueller - 8/10

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