Apopular Twitter and Facebook game is to describe a classic movie in the most boring way possible. It’s easy to do with “The Breakfast Club” (1985): Five students spend eight hours in the school library. It’s such a boring premise that it seems like an Eighth Amendment violation for this quintet of high schoolers, and cruel and unusual punishment for viewers, too. But in the follow-up to his clunky directorial debut, “Sixteen Candles” (1984), writer-director John Hughes has learned how to make a diamond out of coal.
Here’s where it all begins: “Sixteen Candles” (1984) marks the start of John Hughes’ reign as a teen-cinema king and it’s the first of Molly Ringwald’s three Hughes films. I’m in the minority in finding it to be an inauspicious beginning. While Hughes’ directorial debut offers loads of talking points as it establishes tropes and popularizes the genre for a new generation, “Sixteen Candles” is a thin and sometimes even boring movie.
Over six Sundays, we’re looking back at the five seasons (and one movie) of one of the last decade’s elite TV series: AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Next up is Season 5 (2012-13):
Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987) offers little we haven’t seen in other movies, but it has such heart and such an easygoing, naturalistic charm that it’s, well, some kind of wonderful little gem. Writer John Hughes and director Howard Deutch – in the second of their three collaborations – treat a teen love triangle and associated issues with the maturity and respectability of an adult romance film, eschewing big laughs. This is one of those “romantic comedies” that is much more of the former than the latter.
Over six Sundays, we’re looking back at the five seasons (and one movie) of one of the last decade’s elite TV series: AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Next up is Season 4 (2011):
Lulu Wilson has built up quite a resume of horror films and thriller TV, including “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” “Annabelle: Creation,” “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Sharp Objects.” She’s in those projects, and she’s good in them, but in the home invasion thriller “Becky,” she truly stars. Also revelatory in this violent, tense, taut and not remotely comedic little gem is Kevin James (yes, that Kevin James).
The Great Outdoors” (1988) is the John Hughes movie I most watched as a kid, probably for the random reason that we taped it off of HBO and so it was readily available on a hand-labeled VHS tape. It wasn’t a knock against his other films. But it is an appropriate choice, because kids like quoting movies, and this might be the most quotable of Hughes’ catalog.
Ben Affleck is less interested in playing Batman nowadays and more interested in roles like fallen small-town hoops hero Jack Cunningham in “The Way Back,” where he’s the only big-name actor. In this well-crafted if familiar film, Affleck – along with piano and string work from Rob Simonsen – sells wordless scenes such as Jack drinking a beer in the shower and saying “f***.” We can tell he’s reflecting on how his life has come to this sad point.
Although not as much of a classic as “Vacation” (1983) and “Christmas Vacation” (1989), “Vegas Vacation” (1997) proves that National Lampoon’s series chronicling Griswold family hijinks can be funny and likeable without John Hughes at the keyboard. Screenwriter Elisa Bell and director Stephen Kessler don’t reinvent either this series or the idea of a “Vegas episode,” but they ably showcase the talent and visuals on hand.
Over six Sundays, we’re looking back at the five seasons (and one movie) of one of the last decade’s elite TV series: AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Next up is Season 2 (2009):