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The lesson of John Hughes: 'Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'



John_hughes The man who guided us through awkward school dances, soul-crushing romances — and the best hooky day ever — died Thursday in New York, far from Chicago, the city he loved.

I miss John Hughes a lot. And like many people who grew up during the ’80s, I feel less than whole today, like I lost a parent — or at least a wise, and wise-cracking, Uncle Buck.

Through his movies, we learned it was okay to feel (and show) pain, to wrestle with uncertainty, to express love. We learned to be human. And, at the very least, we learned all the words to Danke Schoen.

After Sixteen Candles, it was suddenly okay to rule the geek nation like Farmer Ted, to suffer a silent crush with dignity like Samantha Baker. After The Breakfast Club, trading swagger for sensitivity a la John Bender was in vogue on locker row.

Every movie Hughes wrote or directed was a mirror image of our own pimply, awkward lives. Were you Gary or Wyatt from Weird Science? Or maybe Duckie Dale from Pretty in Pink? Maybe you leaned toward Amanda Jones from Some Kind of Wonderful. And doesn’t everyone wish that we could be just like Ferris Bueller -- if only for one day off.

Hughes left Hollywood behind in the mid ’90s without giving  fans a reason. Maybe he’d given all he had and felt there was nothing more to say. Maybe like Steve Martin’s character in Planes Trains & Automobiles, he discovered the place he loved most was home with his family.

Or maybe, like any proud parent, he realized his audience had grown up and was ready to tackle the world on their own.

And now that parent is gone. But I thank him. And I’ll miss him. So go ahead and cry if you want to. Or put on your Ferris Bueller DVD and laugh until you can’t breathe. Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around ... well, you know the rest.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:49pm]


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