In lieu of the hate I will probably receive for this I would just like to state that John Hughes is a personal favorite of mine as both a director and writer. This list is by no means intended to be a hate fest just to slam the dearly departed. If anything it will probably make you appreciate Hughes all the more. No director is perfect (I think) and each has their flaws. By highlighting them and discussing them I think you come to appreciate the individual better as an artist who despite his/her personal and professional failings was still able to produce captivating and entertaining works of art. If anything it can probably give the fans of Hughes out there something to shoot for. If you were indeed looking to pick up where Hughes left off in the teen drama genre then you would do well to avoid these pitfalls that continually marred Hughes' work throughout his career. Others of you out there who aren't fans of Hughes will probably be glad to see the guy taken down a peg or two. Not that you're a hater but you do realize that there are other better directors out there who made great material for teens to enjoy. Or maybe you're just a hater. Whatever the case I'm sure you readers will find the list captivating and challenging in hopefully the best way possible. If not and this list provokes you to some violent reaction then I suggest you take Charlie Sheen's advice off Ferris Buller's and talk to someone....
4. He Can't Write Well Rounded Adult CharactersOut of all the complaints I have about the late great Mr. Hughes this is probably his most annoying trait. In John Hughes' world adults are the enemies. Either that or they're the idiots. Here is what the great critic Pauline Kael had to say about the issue in her review of The Breakfast Club:
"The writer director John Hughes has fallen back on the standard device of appealing to teen audiences: blaming adults for the kids' misery. Each kid in turn tells the group of the horrors of home: the wrestler's father pushes him to compete, the princess is given things but not affection, the brainy kid is pressured to be a straight A student, the (secretly sensitive) rebel is beaten and burned by his brute of a father, and the shy girl - the basket case - has parents who ignore her. It's she who puts her finger on the source of all their troubles. "It's unavoidable," she says. "When you group up, your heart dies." Young audiences have always been suckers for this kind of flattery. They love hearing kids swap stories about how rotten their parents are, and no doubt they like to see all this viciousness loaded on the school official. The budding neuroses that made these kids antagonistic to one another are cured by their coming to see their parents and teachers as the common enemy."Look, I get that Hughes has a knack for showing the world through a kids point of view which is commendable, but often that can leave the adult characters, who kids can often tend to vilify, as the monsters of the story. If you were to go film by film you would see how much Hughes is lacking in the area of writing well thought out adult characters. Sixteen Candles = The parents are idiots who only exist in this movie to forget Sam's birthday and apologize for it and the grandparents only exist to be groping old fogies. Breakfast Club = The parents in this movie are basically little demons in station wagons. Everything that is wrong with these kids is because of their parents. Ferris Buller's Day Off = Parents are stupid unassuming idiots so beguiling and easily tricked they make Carol Brady look like a tiger mom Weird Science = Parents are once again evil suppressors who must be punished for being such a nuisance. Imagine the gall of Gary's (Anthony Micheal Hall's) parents for insisting he not go galavanting around with a grown woman with a gun. What monsters! And so on and so fourth. There probably isn't a teen centered John Hughes film out there written or directed that doesn't vilify or stupefy adults. The funny thing is when Hughes switches gear and actually writes or directs stories about adults (Planes Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, and even the overly melodramatic yet undeniably effective She's Having A Baby) his grown up stars are usually well written and complex adult characters. I wonder why there is a disconnect? When he looks at the teens the adult characters suffer. When he looks at the adults the kids usually aren't even a factor. Its a shame he couldn't have met himself somewhere in the middle and perhaps made a great cinematic picture about a complete family from the oldest to the youngest with each stage of life handled with care and dignity. Alas it seems that at best all John was able to do was give us the adults as villains/idiots over and over again. Personally I always thought it would be cool to have an alternate Breakfast Club showing the adults throughout the day and what they do without their kids. They probably have lives and hopes and dreams too and as many shocking and revealing things to say about their kids as the kids have to say about them.