Like every other American raised in the Reagan era and versed in such quotable phrases as "Drinking and driving don't mix, that's why I ride a bike," we were saddened to learn of John Hughes's untimely death yesterday. But now we're also angry, because today's Times obituary fails to make any mention of Hughes's funniest movie, and one of the best comedies of the '80s: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Here's just a taste of comedy gold—anyone recognize that actor playing Owen?
Yesterday a woman named Alison Byrne Fields revealed that as a teenager she sent a letter to Hughes telling him how much The Breakfast Club meant to her. When she got a form letter and some official "Breakfast Club" stickers in return, she fired off an angry letter to the director, who personally responded with an apology. They maintained a correspondence for years, and one day in 1997 Hughes telephoned Fields to open up about his reasons for turning his back on Hollywood:
John told me about why he left Hollywood just a few years earlier. He was terrified of the impact it was having on his sons; he was scared it was going to cause them to lose perspective on what was important and what happiness meant. And he told me a sad story about how, a big reason behind his decision to give it all up was that "they" (Hollywood) had "killed" his friend, John Candy, by greedily working him too hard.
He also told me he was glad I had gotten in touch and that he was proud of me for what I was doing with my life. He told me, again, how important my letters had been to him all those years ago, how he often used the argument "I'm doing this for Alison" to justify decisions in meetings.
Reached for comment yesterday, Matthew Broderick told AP, "I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family." In a statement, Macaulay Culkin said, "The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man." Damn, now we really miss Hughes! We're seriously considering attending Andrew W.K.'s "Tribute to John Hughes" at Le Poisson Rouge Saturday. See you there, Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller...