If you came of age in the ’80s, or wish you did, John Hughes gave your generation its “My Generation,” directing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 16 Candles, Weird Science, and The Breakfast Club, and producing/writing Some Kind Of Wonderful and Pretty In Pink. Hughes threw down for all the kids who fancied themselves to be like Matthew Broderick’s Ferris or Molly Ringwald in PiP, but were really more like the latter’s Duckie (today one of Two and a Half Men) or Allie Sheedy’s creepy Breakfast Club klepto. He created a cinematic funhouse mirror that was partly what the kids of the ’80s actually were, partly what they wished they could be, and partly what they were glad they weren’t, and he did it not with pandering, crassness, or condescension, but with honest passion and breathless excitement.
But Hughes, who died of a heart attack at the age of 59 while visiting New York City on August 5, could probably not have pulled it off if were not for the fact that he loved the rock & roll. The sounds of the day, some by well known artists (Simple Minds, Oingo Boingo, Psychedelic Furs), some esoteric (The Apartments, The Rave-Ups, March Violets), were as important an aspect of the films he oversaw as the stars. So pump up the OMD and English Beat and lift a can of Jolt Cola to the man who, just FYI, was still married to the woman he wed 39 years ago, and not some 20-year-old platinum-blonde model (the aforementioned union produced three kids, including John Hughes III, who has honored the sonic side of his father’s legacy by founding the electronica/post-rock label Hefty, and recording his own music under the name Bill Ding).