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Dryden Theatre presents the ’80s films of John Hughes

Roster includes Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, andPlanes, Trains

Rochester, N.Y., October 15, 2009—The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House is “Remembering John Hughes” by screening seven of his most popular films every Wednesday in November through mid-December. From teenage dilemmas to painful vacations, the recently departed John Hughes made fans far beyond the 1980s, although his films did serve as a perfect presentation of decade.  

One of Hughes’s first comedic successes in scriptwriting was National Lampoon’s Vacation, which was based on his own family vacation and launches the series on Nov. 4. The uproarious Sixteen Candles (Nov. 11) was Hughes’s debut as a director, and featured Molly Ringwald’s star-making performance as Samantha Baker, who experiences the lowest possible lows and highest possible highs in one action-packed 16th birthday — all of which leads to that question for the ages, "Dong, where is Grandpa’s automobile?"

Hughes’s much-loved, and largely serious, follow-up The Breakfast Club (Nov. 18) details a social experiment involving a day-long detention shared by a basket case, a jock, a delinquent, a geek, and a popular princess. Less than six months after Breakfast Club’s release, the prolific Hughes delivered a cartoonishly absurd comedy with Weird Science(Dec. 2). Another half year later, now the overseer of a veritable factory of filmmaking, Hughes handed over the directorial chores on the seriocomic Pretty in Pink (Dec. 9) to Howard Deutch while he prepared to handle the reins onFerris Bueller’s Day Off (Dec. 16).

A kind of companion piece to Vacation’s family trip from hell, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles details the even more painful circumstance of traveling long distances with an obnoxious stranger due to inclement weather. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, Planes marked a turning point for Hughes in that it was the first of his films released where the story revolved entirely around adult characters. It also was the first of his sentimental family comedies set during the holidays, which makes it the perfect film to watch on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 25.

The films of “Remembering John Hughes”

8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION Well-meaning but blundering father and husband Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) packs his family into an obnoxious station wagon for a riotous journey along the holiday road from Chicago to California. Destination: Walley World. On the way to the theme park, the Griswolds visit hillbilly cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and provide the ultimate ride for crotchety Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) and her incontinent dog. John Hughes’s script, which inspired four sequels, was based on an original story he wrote for National Lampoon magazine.

8 p.m.  Wednesday, Nov. 11

SIXTEEN CANDLES Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald in her breakthrough role) has a whole lot of teen angst: her sweet 16 has been forgotten by family members absorbed in planning her sister’s nuptials; she’s forced to befriend Japanese exchange student Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe); and her panties are auctioned off in a bathroom stall by geeky Farmer Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). John Hughes’s directorial debut is an often uproariously funny teen classic that really hit home for mid-’80s adolescent audiences.

8 P.M. Wednesday, Nov. 18

THE BREAKFAST CLUB Molly Ringwald (the princess), Judd Nelson (the delinquent), Emilio Estevez (the jock), Ally Sheedy (the bohemian), and Anthony Michael Hall (the nerd) are teenagers forced to attend Saturday detention. With their combined, combustible personalities, the fivesome seek to overcome their stereotypes about one another in writer-director Hughes’s milestone of teen cinema, now approaching its 25th anniversary.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25

PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES Steve Martin plays a beleaguered yuppie trying to make his way home against the Thanksgiving holiday travel rush. When his flight is detoured, he becomes the unwilling companion to an oafish traveling salesman (John Candy). Together the two must overcome a series of hilarious circumstances in order to complete their journey. Hughes made the leap from teen flicks to adult fare with his fondly remembered comic odyssey.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2

WEIRD SCIENCE Gary and Wyatt (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell Smith) are two dateless high school geeks who, inspired by Bride of Frankenstein, use their home computer to create the perfect woman, Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). Flesh and blood and not about to be just the boys’ plaything, Lisa offers lessons in confidence and takes Gary and Wyatt on the road to Coolsville in Hughe’s most absurd, surreal, and underrated entry in his teen movie canon.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9

PRETTY IN PINK A stylish girl from the wrong side of the tracks (Molly Ringwald) and a young heir (Andrew McCarthy) partial to linen suits fall for one another despite the high school class warfare that surrounds them.  The quintessential ‘80s film (the hair alone is worth price of admission) from writer-producer John Hughes has a supporting cast that includes Jon Cryer (forever Ducky), James Spader, and a surprisingly tender Harry Dean Stanton.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF When the “average and proud of it” Ferris (Mathew Broderick) decides to ditch school and drag his best pal and girlfriend along, all hell breaks loose in Chicago. Part tour of the windy city’s highlights, part hymn to the joys on chaos, John Hughes fourth feature as write director was a huge hit with audiences eager to identify with the title character’s ability to have his cake, eat it, then throw the rest in the faces of his overbearing elders.

Admission to each film is $7 general admission and $6 students and members. For more information please visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-3361.

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