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August 06, 2009

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Paul S.

The more shallow of the stock attributes of his movies, as the ones you mention, pretending to be about the "teen suburban pysche" or what have you, now make me cringe. But the funny thing is, I was never really aware of the self-conscious reverse-moralizing (clueless adults/teens armed with awareness) of his films in the eighties. I was always picking up on the other stuff; the good stuff.

And the good stuff that is there is almost artlessly there. Though some of his movies can be self-consciously aware of what they are about, like teen angst, and spell it out, his movies attain somehow (as though artlessly) to "the heart of the matter".

No, not a very profound or deep heart of the matter, but he locates the heart and definitely says, "This matters, and is not to be trivialized." The zaniness of his movies was taken by the likes of the Farelly Brothers and Sacha Baron Cohen; they took the zaniness and pumped it full of their own cruel, cynical disorder, and threw away the heart.

Where would I be without John Hughes' movies? They are a part of my consciousness, my memory.

Thanks for the excellent post, Tim.

Matheus

Nice tribute, Tim. I already knew from Jimmy's blog that you were a fan of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, so I came here to see what you would write about Hughes' death, but I had no idea that you also liked Uncle Buck, Hughes' best movie in my opinion. I liked what you wrote about the apparent superficiality of his movies, because in the case of Uncle Buck, it took me a lot of time to really see through the essence of the movie since I saw it for the first time on television as a child in 1991. On my latest viewings, I was finally able to realize that, more important than the (still wonderful) comedy stuff was Buck and Tia's two-way path into maturity, him finally overcoming his fear of commitment while learning his own family vocation, so to speak; and her finally seeing in him the kind of parental love she rejected from her own parents and learning to see the world beyond her own prejudices. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Buck and Tia have their first argument, if I remember correctly, and then she runs to her room and he goes ahead to see what she's doing, then she hesitates for a brief moment and they exchange a very brief look to each other, beautifully shot by Hughes. I for one don't see this kind of subtlety much nowadays, not even in these assembly-line fancy dramas that are nominated for Oscars by the bunch.

I was amused by the irony that, when Hughes was a prolific filmmaker, in the 80's, Terrence Malick was the recluse outcast. Now that Malick resumed his career, Hughes took his legendary place. That gave me hope that he would eventually come back.

Take a look at the London Times' obituary and this recent article on Hughes, pretty much the only source of information about him I was able to find before his death.

Matheus

There was some problem with the links: here and here.

Lisa Gilliam

I wasn't able to watch Uncle Buck… I guess I should grab a DVD copy now. Do you think there still are copies out there? It was shown last in 1989. I guess your spoiler alert caught me.

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