I don't think there has ever been a teen flick moment that has stood out in my mind like Duckie dancing around a record store to the great Otis Redding. I've always felt that Pretty in Pink was the best "John Hughes Film" (despite not directing) and only suffers from an ending that I consider fundamentally wrong, like putting a puppy to sleep for being too adorable. (It was reshot after poor test screenings, and reportedly Hughes himself was never happy with it.) Every time I watch this particular sequence I can't understand why Andie didn't immediately fall in love with Duckie just like the audience did.
Sometimes the best thing film has is its ability to convey a message without any words. Perhaps the most memorable sequence of any teen flick comes from the Breakfast club when the 5 students dance to "We are not Alone" by Karla DeVito. In that moment we just see the way that these completely different cliches put aside their differences and are truly bonding in a way that most people will never know. (Of course, Hughes himself admitted that these cliches permanently dated the film and that he regretted using them, but what does he know? He made the film, but he made it for US.)
Who can hear Twist & Shout by the Beatles and not immediately see Ferris Bueller dancing on a float in a Parade, surrounded by hot but non sequitor Swedish babes? Iconic doesn't even begin to describe the most lovable rebel in cinema history, who even now is probably the most popular fry cook on Venus. (And if you look at those dancers on the stairs, you'll notice that their choreography has been blatantly stolen from Thriller.)
As stated earlier, John Hughes was the king of an angry rant, but nothing will ever top the "f**king" rant that Steve Martin goes on in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The fact that this movie is almost completely PG material up until this moment doesn't matter to me. We've all been in a situation like this and WISHED we could go off on someone like Steve does.
John Hughes really knew how to write frustration and good long and classy freak outs. After Clark has been low-balled on his Christmas Bonus he can't take the disappointment any longer and releases one of the most fantastic monologues of frustration ever written. (Regrettably, "Monologues of Frustration," Hughes' spiritual successor to "Wages of Fear" and "Faces of Death" remains unfilmed.)
There has never been a more perfect closing shot to any romantic comedy like the end of sixteen candles. John Hughes knew how to write the love stories for his generation but the single shot of Samantha Baker and Jake Ryan sitting on a table with a cake in the middle is so simplistic that it's beautiful - like Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, but with high school.
America loves to watch The Griswalds... fail... repeatedly (their fourth film even failed at the box office - talk about dedication to your theme!) But it's the original Vacation that what showed us the true hurt and frustration that Clark Griswald will always have to deal with and the lengths he'll go to make sure his family has a good time... even if it kills them.
There are many fantastically memorable moments in Home Alone and even it's sequel/blatant-remake "Lost in New York", but of all the sequences that stick out in my mind, I don't think there's a more memorable quote from the movie than "Keep the change you filthy animal." We've spent the last 19 years trying to track down a copy of "Angels with Filthy Souls" at our local videostores, eBay, and even disreputable bootleggers, but apparently Hughes owns the last remaining print, and it's surrounded by deadly booby traps.
Anthony Michael Hall gives the funniest performance of his career as the underdog nerd Gary Wallace having both his first drink and his first night out on the town. Hughes claims to have written Weird Science in just two days, and we believe him (the movie's so darned bizarre that it barely qualifies as a film), but with some of the funniest moments of the 1980's - like this one - we'll just trust that he knew what he was doing.
John Hughes wrote this 1991 comedy in which Frank Whaley finds himself locked in a Target overnight with Jennifer Connelly. A lot of funny things happen in this underrated gem, but nobody remembers them because there's a scene in which Jennifer Connelly rides a little plastic pony. I just watched this scene 30 seconds ago, and I can't remember any dialogue whatsoever, because Jennifer Connelly RIDES A LITTLE PLASTIC PONY.
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