John Hughes made the ’80s better. Period.
The writer/director’s now-classic films captured the decade in a way that was both timely and perennial. Today’s teens might mock the movies’ fashions and slang. They can’t help but relate to the teen angst on display.
Oh, and they’ll laugh as hard as their parents did 30-odd years ago. But which Hughes comedy is the funniest of all? Let’s count down the top 6 to find out:
6. Uncle Buck
John Candy and John Hughes. What a combination. Here, Candy plays a man-child forced to care for his brother’s children in a pinch.
It’s a big pinch, since few would trust Uncle Buck with the care of a parakeet, let alone a gaggle of kids. Co-star Macaulay Culkin dials down his “Home Alone” antics, but it’s Candy’s show from start to finish. Scene stealer Laurie Metcalf deserves special mention as the amorous neighbor hungry for some Candy.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Cousin Eddie. ‘Nuff said.
That may be true, but Chevy Chase delivers one of his best comic performance in this Yuletide favorite. He’s the Everyman who wants everything to be just right for Christmas. Only that’s never going to happen, what with the crush of relatives coming for the holidays and one Scrooge-like boss (Brian Doyle-Murray). You’ll never look at a set of Christmas lights the same way again.
And you’ll wish Randy Quaid would drop the conspiracy banter and get back to making movies.
4. Sixteen Candles
Molly Ringwald stood in for every awkward teen with a hopeless crush. Hughes’ ode to young infatuation wouldn’t pass muster in our PC age (goodbye, Long Duk Dong??). It’s still a bittersweet triumph, complete with the best geek character of the decade, brought to nervous life by Anthony Michael Hall.
3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
This comedy makes the list for two scenes alone. The iconic “Those aren’t pillows!” line and the scene where these “two happy clams” end up driving the wrong way on a dark highway. The laughs don’t end there, though. The inspired pairing of Candy and Steve Martin makes every moment count.
Who can’t relate to travel frustrations over the holidays? Watching Martin curse out a rental car employee is the perfect blend of comedy and catharsis. It’s the duo’s indefatigable spirit, though, that magnifies the laughs.
2. The Breakfast Club
It’s the ultimate ’80s teen movie, the one social scientists will pore over for decades to come. And it packs some big laughs in between the bouts of self-discovery. Hughes laid before us six teen archetypes, and then he spent the rest of the movie making them all too human.
Only Barry Manilow fans won’t enjoy this teen classic.
1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Hughes’ finest hour. And Matthew Broderick’s, too. Ferris Bueller isn’t just a character. He’s our collective Id, raging against the real world awaiting every anxious teen. Sound serious? Hardly. The laughs are big, bold and they come one after the other in delirious fashion.
Broderick’s brilliant destruction of the fourth wall is just one of the many treats awaiting the few who haven’t sampled “Ferris Bueller” yet.