John Hughes

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Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) just wants to have a good ole’ fashioned family Christmas at his place, but Karma (or some other unstoppable, twisted force) is working against him.

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The master of blending comedy, drama and real people, we can think of no one we’d rather spend an awkward holiday dinner with than John Hughes. So this week on the show we’ll heap praise on the filmmaker who delivered our teenage years and families back to us on the screen. To help us out, “You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried” author Susannah Gora joins us to share some fantastic insights into that old Hughesian magic. We’ll also explore why there are so few Thanksgiving movies (you still have leftovers, right?) and rattle off a list of them (which will naturally lead us right back to John Hughes!). Sweet, sweet symmetry. You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #42 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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It’s hard to find a movie for this time of year. I’m not talking about Christmas movies. Lord knows, Hollywood is lousy with Christmas movies. Instead, I’m talking about Thanksgiving movies. Usually Hollywood skips Turkey Day altogether and starts releasing Christmas movies in early November (including relatively recent releases like A Christmas Carol in 2009, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas in 2011, and The Best Man Holiday just this year). Still, there are a few Thanksgiving movies knocking around, and they’re not all as bad as Free Birds. One of the most loveable and endearing Thanksgiving movies is John Hughes’ 1987 comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The film follows businessman Neal Page (Steve Martin) trying to get home to Chicago from New York City two days before Thanksgiving. He stumbles into an unlikely travel buddy in Del Griffith (John Candy) and ends up on a three-day misadventure using almost every known form of ground transportation. As a traveler myself, I know it can be extremely costly as much as it is time consuming, and that got me thinking: How much would a trip like this actually set Neal and Del back?

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“I found out long ago, it’s a long way down the holiday road.” Long ago would be 30 years as of tomorrow, because National Lampoon’s Vacation opened theatrically on July 29, 1983. Directed by Harold Ramis, the family road movie was written by former “National Lampoon” staffer John Hughes, based on a short story of his published in the magazine.  The comedy debuted at the top of the box office, knocking out Jaws 3-D in its sophomore weekend, keeping Return of the Jedi back in its tenth and besting fellow newcomers Krull and Private School. And it stayed at #1 through mid-August. Americans were clearly in love with rising star Chevy Chase, though they may have been even more in love with the relatable premise of a cross-country outing. We may not have known it at the time, but it was also a sign we were in love with Hughes’s writing, as both Vacation and Mr. Mom, which he scripted and which opened in limited release a week prior, both were among the highest-grossing comedies of the year, each with a then-remarkable take of more than $60m. Vacation has probably the greater legacy, in part because it kicked off a never-ending franchise (another sequel/reboot is currently in the works for next summer) and in part because millions are still enjoying the original to this day. Very little outside of the model of car and styles of clothing (and some notable political incorrectness) is dated. And the following favorite scenes are […]

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If you had to vote for one John Hughes movie to get the remake treatment which one would it be? The obvious answer is Curly Sue, but it looks like we have to wait on that one as a less obvious candidate has actually been green-lit. Universal Pictures and producer Joel Silver are moving forward with a Weird Science remake, and I just want to assure you that this news has not and will not rape your childhood. Hughes really only has two untouchable films in his canon, and this is not one of them. No cast or director announcements yet, but the film is set to be R-rated with Michael Bacall handling script duties. Bacall’s last film, 21 Jump Street, was also an R-rated ’80s reboot and one of the rare remakes that gets it right by honoring the original source material while still feeling fresh. It doesn’t hurt that the movie is ridiculously funny as well. Of course, Bacall’s resume also includes an R-rated stinker in the the form of Project X…

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One week from today, everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, turns 25 years old. By a certain logic, we should therefore make next Sunday’s Scenes We Love post devoted to the John Hughes classic. But that would make it late for the holiday this Thursday — on or before which many sites will post their obligatory write-up on the wacky road comedy, which stars John Candy and Steve Martin as unfortunate traveling companions on their way home for turkey day. Also an occasion and a beloved film like this deserve the eight days of celebrating. Unlike some other memorable and highly quotable works, this one is not the sort that we could include every single scene as a scene we love. Mostly, we just refuse to feature the famous “those aren’t pillows!” bit, and not just because of the homophobic aspect. It’s just really not that funny. Not that all the scenes below are funny. What we love about PT&A is how even though it’s a comedy it’s quite sad. Sure it kinda ends happily, but just before that warm final greeting there’s something depressing about the story. Hughes was great at making us laugh enough for someone who clearly had a lot of gloomy ideas in his head.

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Fresh from its Audience Award win at AFI FEST yesterday, the amazing and beautiful nonfiction teen movie Only the Young has a brand new trailer, and we’re happy to unleash it out into the world. Directed by newcomers Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims, a duo who can’t seem to get away from being called the filmmakers of tomorrow, this candid look at a trio of evangelical skate punks in a Southern California desert town is one of the most honest movies I’ve seen in a long time. And it deserves to be seen no matter any of your prejudices against documentary (you’ll often forget it is one), religious youth (you’ll forget all about Jesus Camp) or the plethora of lookalike skater films (beyond its skin, there are no similarities between this and 2011′s Dragonslayer). Believe me that you’ll fall in love with this movie, as  I and so many festival audiences have already. Only the Young introduces us to best friends Garrison and Kevin, goofy teens just hanging out and growing up with little to do in a suburban community that’s clearly seen devastating effects of the economic crisis. Along comes Skye and a new kind of close relationship for Garrison, but more girl friend than girlfriend. In fact, Garrison eventually starts dating another girl at school. There’s jealousy, heartbreak, tears, but also a lot of warm, heartfelt talks and many laughs. It really is a lot like a real-life John Hughes movie, as is hinted at in a blurb […]

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In the new movie Pitch Perfect, a boy (Skylar Astin) introduces a girl (Anna Kendrick) to The Breakfast Club. It’s a believable scene, on it’s own. Even if I don’t necessarily think the 27-year-old John Hughes film, classic status notwithstanding, is a hugely important thing to the generation currently heading into college, I can accept that the guy is a movie soundtrack dork who seemingly loves only titles from before his birth and that she genuinely has never seen it. But it is a bit much that the signature Brat Pack film’s ending, with its iconic Simple Minds tune and Judd Nelson freeze-framed fist thrust, is played over and over, and the film figures so prominently into the romantic plot throughout. It all just feels like something from out of the mind of a thirty-something screenwriter rather than that of these modern-day teen characters. And the movie’s writer, Kay Cannon, is indeed a child of the ’80s and admits that The Breakfast Club is something she loves from her youth. Apparently, though, Say Anything was originally the teen movie of that era to be honored and made fun of in the new a-cappella-based comedy. She also is a big fan of Hughes’s Weird Science but couldn’t make it work. But for kids born around 1995, which is the target audience as well as the roles on screen, aren’t there more relevant films to reference? Maybe Mean Girls, Bring It On, Twilight, Rushmore, Juno, High School Musical, Superbad or — going […]

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Over Under - Large

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of those classic comedies, the kind that’s looked at as being timeless, the kind that, no matter what year it is, you can guarantee is currently being played in college dorm rooms all over the country. It works both as ’80s nostalgia and as a story that modern kids can relate to. It’s full of quotes and images that have become oft-referenced parts of our pop-culture vocabulary. But, is this tale of a lazy schemer ditching school to spend a day in Chicago with his hot girlfriend and downer of a best friend really all that funny? Or is it just one of those movies that managed to tap into the zeitgeist of its day, and then rode out its initial juice long enough that it’s become cultural comfort food due to widespread re-watches? If people remember Snow Day at all, it’s likely they remember it as a movie for kids that they didn’t bother seeing. But the few people who have seen it realize that, though it’s a film primarily aimed toward children and tweens, Snow Day is still a satisfying comedy that provides just as many laughs, memorable characters, and affecting moments as any comedy aimed at adults. Which should come as no surprise, because it was put together by a group of guys who worked on the amazing Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. So, given the cult status of that show, why is it that I never hear […]

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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The holidays are a time for families, gift-giving, and general peace on Earth. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of high crime rates, robberies, and evil-doers who take advantage of the innocent. With all the money being spent at the malls, and how often people leave their own homes during the holidays, these safe havens are often a target for prowlers. Just ask the Wet Bandits, who ran a mostly-successful crime spree in Chicago in the early 1990s, before they were thwarted by eight-year-old Kevin McCallister. However, times are tough, and the economy still isn’t what it should be. Not everyone can afford a new-fangled security system…or even an old-fangled security system that the McCallisters should have had on their home in 1990. There are still plenty of ways to protect your home from prowlers this year, using found items, and a dose of cleverness.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; try our new pecan marshmallow yule log, patent and FDA approval pending. Happy December, everyone; it’s the most wonderful time of the month! Despite your busy schedule of shopping, decorating, and pretending to tolerate those relatives you can’t stand, you somehow managed to find time to topple down the chimney of another JFC. We are sort of like fruitcake; nobody ever asks for us, no one knows how we came to be a tradition, and no matter how clearly you state your distaste for us we keep turning up. Every week in the month of this month I will be Nationally Lampooning a festively terrible holiday film. But then, like a Christmas miracle, I will flip the flop and confess as to why the film is precisely my particular brand of egg nog. To put the star atop the proceedings, I will then offer a greasy, but delectable snack food item paired to the film in the hopes of making your waistlines a little less merry. This week’s sugar plum: Home Alone.

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Seeing as this is the first go around, you might be wondering to yourself what “Over/Under” is, and rightly so. It’s a new weekly column in which I will take to task a film that has gotten more than its fair share of success and praise, and then champion a related film that comparatively gets little play. This isn’t necessarily to say that the first film is bad and the second one good, just that the disparity in love between the two is a wrong that needs to be righted. But if you choose to believe that what I’m writing is more mean-spirited and antagonistic than intended, that’s fine with me too. Let’s spar in the comments; I could use the attention. For our inaugural column we’ll be looking at John Hughes’s 1985 detention drama The Breakfast Club, a film that the teenagers who work for me still mention as being a classic, and David Seltzer’s 1986 nerd meets girl movie Lucas, a film that I can’t get a darn one of those kids to give a chance.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a group of fast-driving thieves, a few high school memories, and 13 sword-wielding badasses to chop all of that in half as gallons of the red stuff spray from every opening.

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What movie universe would actually want to live in? Susan C.

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Emma Stone is up to her elbows in boys that want to pretend to sleep with her. In the movie Easy A she plays Olive, the smart girl that’s generally ignored by her class who gets a taste of popularity by way of infamy and continues to trash her own reputation in order to have one. She pretends to have sex with a gay classmate in order to boost his social status, and what results is a trip into a world of perception, heartache, trying to get with the school mascot, and a big red A on her chest.

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Sometimes I feel like I’m just getting back from Wally World. I’m tired, irritable, and there’s an unseasonably high urine count in my sandwiches.  But with the news that Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are teaming up for a Superbowl commercial, I have to wonder if we should really be saving up for a real family vacation. Don’t get me wrong. I love Superbowl commercials because 1) they are a colossal let down and 2) I’m usually watching the Puppy Bowl instead (after the NFC championship, don’t we sort of already know who’s going to win the Superbowl?), but I would much rather see that dynamic duo hit the big screen again. I know I’m usually pretty negative toward the lack of creativity that this decade will be marred by, but if we’re in for a penny, why not be in for a pound? Let’s just sequelize everything. All of it. Some possible downsides to a National Lampoon’s Vacation sequel in the here and now: National Lampoon, like the magazine that spawned it, has become one of the least funny producers of The Funny around. With John Hughes gone, who could possibly write it? Year One Some urine-soaked food for thought. What do you think?

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johnhughesdocumentary

Within 24 hours, a little-known project became a hot commodity. It’s not pretty, but it’s the magic of Hollywood.

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For somebody associated with making some of the most resonant teen comedies in modern cinema history, John Hughes still doesn’t receive enough credit—mainly because, before John Hughes, there really was no such thing as the teen comedy.

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This week on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we uncover long-lost FSR editor Brian Gibson, who brings us tales from down under — updating us randomly on the future works of Eric Bana. Other things happen, too.

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