John Hughes
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7.0 Sixteen Candles (1984)
7.0 Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
6.0 Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987)
7.3 Uncle Buck (1989)
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John Hughes (USA, 1950), who had scripted Harold Ramis' National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), debuted with the romantic coming of age movie Sixteen Candles (1984), followed by The Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), all comedies set among teenagers.

He also scripted Howard Deutch's Pretty in Pink (1985).

Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987) is a farce, or a series of farces grafted onto a road movie.

Neal is an executive in New York who, on the eve of a major holiday, has to catch a plane to Chicago to join his family, but is delayed at a meeting and then can't find a taxi to reach the airport in time for his flight. The taxi has been "stolen" from him by a traveling salesman, Del, who is also flying to Chicago. They board the same plane and Del keeps talking to Neal who finds him unpleasant. The plane is rerouted to another city because of bad weather on Chicago. They are now stranded very far from Chicago. They have to share the only motel room available (which Del procures thanks to his connections) and the night turns out to be a nightmare for Neal because Del is noisy and messy. While they are sleeping, a thief enters the room and steal all their cash. The following morning Neal accuses Del of stealing his money but then they realize that Del's money has also disappeared. They then board a train to Chicago, but the train breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the passengers have to walk a long way in freezing temperatures to the next town. Del is carrying a heavy trunk and Neal can't help and offers to help him carry it. They board a bus, another unpleasant journey for the executive used to first-class travel. They reach a town where Del uses his salesman skills to sell curtain rings and get some cash. Neal, fed up with Del, tells Del that they are better off splitting up. Del resents it but agrees. Neal tries to rent a car but is taken by the shuttle to a parking lot where his car doesn't exist and has to hike back getting all muddy and frozen. There are no cars available. Angry, Neal gets into a fight with a stranger who throws him in the street. He is almost run over by a car driven by... Del. Del gives Neal a ride. Again, Del proves to be an obnoxious companion, and, when Neal falls asleep, Del gets into a massive accident that almost costs their lives and sets the car on fire. Del confesses that he had rented the car using Neal's credit card, accidentally left in his own wallet. Del swears that he returned the card to Neal's wallet but Neal's wallet burned in the fire. Neal uses his expensive watch to get a hotel room but Del has to sleep in the burnt out car while it's snowing. Neal is moved to compassion and let him sleep in his room. They finally bond and get drunk together thinking of their wives. Del always keeps the picture of his wife on the bedtable. The following morning they start driving again in the burnt out car until they are stopped by a cop who impounds the car. Del finds a trucker willing to give them a ride in the back of the truck and they finally reach Chicago. They part ways as good friends. On the commuter train home, Neal reminisces about his misadventure and, putting together things that Del said, realizes that Del doesn't have a wife. Neal returns to the station where they parted and finds Del alone in the waiting room, while everybody is going home to celebrate the holiday with their families. Del reveals that his wife died eight years earlier and he doesn't have a home anywhere. Neal takes Del home, where the whole extended family is assembled and is only waiting for him.

She's Having a Baby (1988) is a lightweight comedy.

Uncle Buck (1989) is a charming domestic comedy. A nice middle-class couple with three children in a nice suburban house is confronted with a sudden problem when the woman's father has a heart attack and they have to find someone to trust their children with. The only one who is available and willing is the good-humoured but eccentric uncle. He's a middle-aged single with a girlfriend who is tyre saleswoman and whose biological clock is ticking. She has found him job at the tyre shop and he is just looking for an excuse to bail out. His excuse comes in the form of a phone call in the middle of the night. Buck is a generous soul and immediately accepts the chore. A living disaster, he deserves his sister-in-law's distrust, but, on the other hand, he has the best of intentions and sets out to make the children happy. The problem is the elder daughter, who suffered a psychological trauma when her parents decided to move to this town and has not forgiven them. She's sarcastic, asocial, bitter. And Buck becomes her nemesis precisely because he tries to befriend her. Some comic interludes are provided by the little nephew, especially when he interacts with the uncle: the two couldn't make an odder couple.
The girl is embarrassed by her uncle and retaliates by spinning lies about him. Her chance comes in the form of a lusty neighbor, who is trying to seduce Buck. The girl tells Buck's girlfriend Janice that he is going out with this woman, and causes a major rift in their relation. Janice drives over to face him and finds him dancing with the suspect.
The conflict between uncle and niece escalates when she leaves the house to go to a party against his orders. The girl, Tia, is on her way to lose her virginity. Buck grabs a power-drill and sets out to rescue her. But he doesn't find her at the party. He is now helpless and worried. He begs her girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend), who also has a good heart, to watch the kids for her (another amusing interlude when she arrives and the little child asks to see her id), while he cruises around town hoping to spot her. He finally finds Tia and gives her a ride home. Tia has learned her lesson and has changed. She even makes up for her mischief by promoting Buck's cause with Janice.
When her parents come back from their trip, they find Buck and his girlfriend reconciled, the children doing well and... her troubled teenage daughter flying into their arms, finally healed of her resentment.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Gabriele Calderone)

Uncle Buck (1989) è una deliziosa commedia casalinga.

Una felice coppia della classe media, con tre bambini, vive in una bella casa nella periferia della città. Quando però i due coniugi si trovano ad affrontare un problema improvviso (il padre di lei ha avuto un attacco di cuore) devono cercare qualcuno cui affidare i bambini per un po’, il tempo necessario per il viaggio. Unico disponibile è il volenteroso zio Buck, eccentrico ma sempre di buon umore. Questi è un uomo di mezz’età, mai sposato ma con una ragazza che di mestiere vende pneumatici e il cui orologio biologico ticchetta in modo insistente... Lei gli ha trovato lavoro al negozio di pneumatici e lui sta giusto cercando una scusa per tirarsene fuori, scusa che gli arriva sotto forma di una chiamata nel mezzo della notte. Buck è di animo generoso e accetta subito la richiesta. Lo zio, un disastro vivente, si merita la sfiducia della cognata, ma, d’altro canto, è guidato dalle migliori intenzioni e fa di tutto perché i bambini stiano bene. Il problema è la figlia maggiore, che ha sofferto un trauma psicologico quando i genitori hanno deciso di trasferirsi in quella città e non li ha mai perdonati per questo. E’ sarcastica, asociale, caustica, e Buck diventa la sua nemesi proprio perché cerca di essere amichevole con lei. Alcuni spassosi interludi capitano al piccolo nipote, specialmente quando interagisce con lo zio: i due non potrebbero formare una coppia più stralunata. La ragazza, Tia, ha un rapporto conflittuale con lo zio e reagisce inventando bugie sul suo conto: la sua chance si presenta sotto forma di una vigorosa vicina di casa che prova a sedurre Buck. Tia spiffera alla morosa di Buck, Janice, che lo zio è uscito con questa donna e causa un’incrinatura nel rapporto dei due; Janice si dirige dove la ragazza le ha detto e trova Buck che danza con la donna. Il conflitto tra Buck e Tia peggiora ulteriormente quando la ragazza scappa da casa per andarsene ad un party contro gli ordini dello zio. Questo lo fa sentire impotente ed è anche preoccupato per lei: chiede alla sua fidanzata (o ex fidanzata), che è anche lei sempre disponibile e di buon cuore, di guardare gli altri due bambini (un altro spassoso interludio quando lei arriva e il più piccolo chiede di vedere la sua carta d’identità) mentre lui girerà per la città nella speranza di trovarla. Alla fine tutto si risolve: ritrova Tia e la riporta a casa. La ragazza ha capito la lezione ed è cambiata; si riconcilia con lui scusandosi di averlo messo nei guai con Janice per la storia del tradimento. Quando i genitori tornano indietro dal viaggio, trovano Buck e Janice riconciliati, i bambini che fanno i bravi e…la problematica figlia adolescente che vola fra le loro braccia, i suoi risentimenti ormai del tutto risolti.
Hughes also wrote and produced Chris Columbus' Home Alone (1990). He stopped directing after the comedy Curly Sue (1991), but continued to write and produce films for other directors.

Hughes died in 2009.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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