Perhaps the most significant legacy left behind in the film industry was that of John Hughes who seemingly understood teenagers better than they understood themselves. Hughes was a mastermind when it came to transforming the daily hardships of being a teen into a movie. This coming Saturday, Feb. 18, would have been Hughes’ 67th birthday. In honor of Hughes and the unparalleled legacy he has left behind, here is a list of the top three must-watch Hughes films that every high schooler needs to push to the top of their “to-watch” list.
Fun Fact: All three of the following movies are set in the fictional setting of Shermer, Illinois because Hughes grew up in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois formerly named Shermerville until the name was changed in 1923.
The Breakfast Club: “The Breakfast Club” is the quintessential coming of age teen drama. The film follows five high school students of different social statuses, famously known as “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal,” through their Saturday detention. During their time imprisoned in the school library together, the kids open up to each other as they all come to realize that despite their differences in popularity—they are all struggling to figure out who they are. Even though they all come from different corners of their high school, the unlikely group will always be united through this day. This film serves as an encouragement to students everywhere that no matter how far away the kid you passed in the hallway seems, the two of you probably have more in common than you think.
Modern Alternative: “The Edge of Seventeen”
Fun Fact: Hughes wrote the screenplay for “The Breakfast Club” in two days on the set of “Sixteen Candles.”
Sixteen Candles: In the ultimate tale of misfits, “Sixteen Candles” explores an all-too-well known feeling among teenagers: being left out. Between her family forgetting her birthday and spending her days pining after an older boy who does not even know she exists, sixteen year old Samantha Baker struggles to find her place in the whirlwind that is high school. As if her personal problems are not enough, freshman nerd, Farmer Ted, hopelessly tries to impress Samantha; however, the only thing the two have in common is their outsider status. As high schoolers, we have all, at one point or another, felt awkwardly on the outside of a friend group, of a class, of a club. “Sixteen Candles” plays homage to the underdogs who have been silently waiting their turn for too long.
Modern Alternative: “The Spectacular Now”
Fun Fact: Hughes specifically wrote character Farmer Ted with actor Anthony Michael Hall in mind.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: For the more rebellious teens, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” caters to those who appreciate a good old fashion skip day. Following a clever student with an exceptional knack for cutting classes, Ferris Bueller tries to pull off one last absence before graduating. Audiences watch Ferris as he deceives his parents into believing he is sick before diving into a day of adventure through the streets of Chicago in his best friend’s dad’s Ferrari. Viewers remain in suspense as Ferris’ tattletale sister and out-to-get-him principal pursue to get him caught before his parents get home from work.
Modern Alternative: “Expelled”
Fun Fact: Cameron’s Detroit Red Wings Jersey pays tribute to Hughes’ love for the professional hockey team of his original hometown of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.