Below is our John Hughes top 20 movies. You may know him by name, or you may not… but you will know him by his vast back catalogue of amazing 80’s and 90’s films. John Hughes wrote and directed film after film, hit after hit until his untimely death in 2009. For Generation X and Millennials, a lot of his films will forever be the backbone of our childhood and teen years. As well as shaping Christmas traditions for years to come.
So get reading and then get watching.
20. She’s Having A Baby (1988)
After a successful line of teenage films about relationships and general adolescent angst in the ’80s, Hughes decided to write a screenplay about adults who also didn’t have their lives together. ‘She’s Having a Baby’ met mixed box-office reviews. But, it’s been said that this was a personal labour of love for John Hughes. It was released a lot later than intended, due to post-production problems. Hughes took it very personally when the film didn’t do as well as he expected.
19. 101 Dalmatians (1996)
Hughes only worked with Disney studios a couple of times. The first was writing and producing the 1996 live-action remake of ‘101 Dalmatians’. The incredible Glenn Close was cast as Cruella DeVil. According to IMDB, she thought Hughes wrote the character too softly and deviated from the 1961 Cruella. This was due to a lot of the original movies line’s being too politically incorrect in 1996. So Close ended up having to take her cartoon predecessors’ characterisation as inspiration to appear more daunting… which worked.
18. Curly Sue (1991)
Billed as the smallest con artist. ‘Curley Sue’ is a rag to riches family story which was Hughes’ one and only film with Warner Brothers and his final outing as a director. There are some parts of this con artist turn good citizen storyline which is a little outdated. But 10-year-old Alisan Porter’s sassiness and ‘girls can do anything’ attitude carries the film into the 21st Century.
17. Beethoven 2nd (1993)
Keeping with the family-friendly movies and puppy love is Universals ‘Beethoven 2nd’. Yes this is a sequel and normally they are not as good as the originals, but something Hughes knew how to do well, was a sequel. This film easily makes the top 20 because of the fun storyline, the likeable Newton family and four adorable St Bernard puppies! What’s not to like?
16. Miracle on 34th street (1994)
Another genre of film that Hughes excelled in was Christmas films, and ‘Miracle on 34th street’ was no exception. Ok, so this wasn’t as successful as ‘Home Alone’ but it’s still a festive classic. Staring one of the most believable Kris Kringle’s ever – Richard Attenborough and 90’s child star Mara Wilson. This film is a true winter warmer and enforces that Christmas magic is real, as long as you believe.
15. The Great Outdoors (1988)
For a classic family comedy that never gets old, you can’t go wrong with ‘The Great Outdoors’. Starring two comedy heavy hitters Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. This story of two competing families at a woodland retreat, in true Hughes style, is riddled with misfortunes and hilarious stunts.
14. Flubber (1997)
Probably not Robin Williams’ best or most memorable film. But it’s still a great family watch. ‘Flubber’ was Hughes’ second and final film with Disney studios. Let’s face it if it’s written by Hughes, got William’s as its star, it’s a part of Disney studios and has green rubbery goo that dances… you know it’s at least worth a Sunday afternoon watch!
13. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The ‘National lampoon Vacation’ film series was based upon an original Hughes short Story, ‘Vacation ’58’. It was published by National Lampoon magazine. Since then Hughes wrote the screenplay and produced the first three films in the series. All starring Chevy Chase as the clumsy lead of the family Clark and Beverly D’Angelo as his wife Ellen. The third and final film in the trilogy was ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ This film is full of falls, slips and in true Hughes style, electrocutions… RIP Kitty Carnage (the cat).
12. Pretty in Pink (1986)
Throughout the ’80s, Hughes wrote a handful of successful teen films. Snippets that really delved into the turmoil of navigating through life, relationships and friendships in your adolescent years. His fourth feature film in this genre was ‘Pretty in Pink’. Here you followed teen Andie (Molly Ringwald) as she starts dating the boy of her dreams, Blane (Andrew McCarthy) a ‘richy’ who won’t introduce her to his friends. Whilst all the time her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), pines for her in the background.
Fun fact, Robert Downey Junior was John Hughes’ original choice to play Duckie and in the original ending Andie would’ve ended up with RDJ.
11. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Just missing out of the top 10, is Hughes’ first instalment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation films. This is where you first meet the clumsy Clark (Chase) and his wife Ellen (D’Angelo), as they take a trip across America to California and meet up with family who just seems to encourage the mishaps even more.
The second instalment National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985), didn’t quite make the top 20 list but if you are going to watch the first and last instalment you might as well watch this one too.
10. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Released not long after ‘Pretty in Pink’, it’s clear to see there are some similarities between the two. It’s based on a girl-boy relationship where one of them realises they fancy the other. But, ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ is somewhat more elevated than ‘Pretty in Pink’. First and foremost, it has 80’s heartthrobs Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz at the heart of the film. It also bends the boundaries of a classic teenage female character with Masterson’s kick-ass character.
9. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
The highest-ranking sequel in this list has to be Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. This perfect follow up to the first instalment, has also cemented itself as a Christmas must-watch. After the success of the second film, Hughes really wanted to do a third with Culkin where we meet Kevin as a teenager, however, the whole idea had to be scaped when Culkin quit acting in 1994. A third film was made for this franchise by Hughes but it unfortunately flopped.
8. Wired Science (1985)
This is another one of Hughes’ teen films, but it has a bit of a twist. ‘Wired Science’ taps into every teenage boy fantasy. Two outcast teenage boys Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Garry (Anthony Michael Hall) use their computer to create a woman, Lisa played by 80’s bombshell (Kelly LeBrock). But before long things get a little wired for the pair as they lose control of the world they have created. This film is hilarious and brilliantly odd and you can just tell that Hughes was a part of bringing this comic book conception to life.
7. Sixteen Candles (1984)
Sixteen Candles was the first teen angst style film to be written and directed by Hughes and has stood the test of time to be a true classic for over 36 years. With a forgotten birthday on her mind 16-year-old, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) navigates herself through heartache and becoming a woman. This was also Hughes’ first time directing one of his films. Previous to this he had only written the screenplays, for his first outing, this film is one of his best.
6. Beethoven (1992)
We’ve had its sequel so there’s no wonder the original is in the top ten, narrowly missing out on the top 5. Co-written with Amy Holden Jones, Beethoven was an instant success at the box office and with family audiences. But, if you look at the credits you may see the name Edmond Dantes instead of John Hughes. This is because it’s his pseudonym and homage to ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.
If you look closely at the scene where Teddy (Christopher Castle) is hiding from the bullies at the school bus you will see a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in is first ever film role.
5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
One of Hughes’ most popular and requoted films is ‘The Breakfast Club’. Yet another teen film, full of romantic adolescent views and angst, this classic is pretty much a film student’s ‘how to’ guide on building characters.
The movie is set over an 8-hour school detention on a Saturday. In this time we get to know each individual character as they connect and find out why they are the way they are. In this very small cast, Hughes once again enlists the acting skills of Ringwald with her classic red bob along with four other rising stars including Emilio Estevez, Anthony-Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson. John Hughes himself had a cameo role as Brian’s father at the end of the film. It’s an absolute classic and should be watched by everyone at least once in their lifetime.
I defy you not to pump the air when John Bender raises his fist to Simple Minds ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’
4. Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Staring two film heroes John Candy and Steve Martin. This funny 93-minute film follows Neal (Martin) trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, whilst being joined and slightly tormented by a lovable salesman (Candy). Full of classic John Hughes mishaps and fumbles this is a must-watch for any Hughes, Candy or Martin fan. Just remember that those aren’t pillows!
3. Home Alone (1990)
There was no way this film was going to rank lower than the top 3. ‘Home Alone’ is an absolute Christmas favourite and needs no explanation, as it’s hard to believe anyone over the age of 20 hasn’t seen this movie at least once.
This was Hughes’ second film staring 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin. And even though the part was written with Culkin in mind, the casting directors still auditioned a few other boys as they didn’t want this film to clash with the other John Hughes film Culkin had just stared in (come to that soon). But after all the auditions it was undeniable that Culkin was the perfect fit for Kevin.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The highest-ranking teen movie from Hughes has to be ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. This film knocked it out of the park in the box office and became one of the top-grossing films in 1986. It’s also a classic and has a strong cult following. Who knew a film about playing truant from school could be so popular? It’s definitely a testament to Hughes who wrote, directed and co-produced the film, his co-producer Tom Jacobson and acting by 24-year-old Matthew Broderick. You just have to ignore that Ferris and Cameron are clearly too old to be at High School.
Don’t forget to stick around for those post-credit scenes. Gummy bear?
1. Uncle Buck (1989)
Ok, this might be controversial but in our top spot is John Candy at his best in Uncle Buck.
This was Candy’s first leading role in a Hughes movie and in true Hughes style, he allowed Candy to improve a lot of his lines. It was the first time John Hughes worked with Macaulay Culkin and where he started to have him in mind for Home Alone. This film is a sure-fire classic, heart-warming film and a well-deserved number one on our list. The big question would be is it really possible to make pancakes that big in your kitchen?
If you have never watched this before, what are you waiting for?
So, there we have it this is our top 20 John Hughes movies, how did we do? Would have you done it differently? If so let us know in the comments below.
Find out what would happen if Kevin was left Home Alone now, HERE.
read IMDb information on Uncle Buck HERE.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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