Nostalgia tends to cycle in 25-year increments, which makes it perfect timing for the retro comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. The film, which sends its stars back to 1986, is mostly mocking how dated those old movies now seem. But it's become increasingly evident that at least one series of 1980s teen movies has emerged as culturally unscathed by the passage of time as Hot Tub star (and Sixteen Candles supporting player) John Cusack himself - the films of the late writer-director John Hughes.
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A Hughes film report card
Cusack's co-star Clarke Duke ( Greek) told The New York Times recently that "John Hughes is the Frank Capra of that generation," while Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene mentioned offhandedly in the new issue of Spin magazine that Hughes's movies turned him into "a hopeless romantic."
Then there was the Oscars ceremony from earlier this month. Most of Hollywood's fallen merit only a fleeting glimpse in the Academy Awards memorial montage, but Hughes received a surprisingly lengthy tribute that brought his aged Brat Pack to the stage, led by muse Molly Ringwald, alter ego Anthony Michael Hall and id Matthew Broderick.
But it was the film reel of endlessly iconic clips that justified this Oscar canonization of a man who never even got a nomination.
"I thought it was a beautiful tribute, very touching and very powerful," says Susannah Gora, author of the recently released You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and their Impact on a Generation. "When John Hughes was making his great movies, film snobs probably would never have even considered uttering his name in the same sentence as Oscar. But the decades have shown everybody just what an extraordinary contribution he made to American cinema."
Indeed, it seems unlikely a similar honour will one day be paid to whoever directed Can't Hardly Wait or High School Musical 3, just as there wasn't one for Beach Blanket Bingo's writer-director....