A Tribute to John Hughes: ’80s Brat Pack Stars Then and Now

Four years ago today Hollywood lost one of the most beloved filmmakers of our generation. John Hughes died of a heart attack while taking a morning walk. He was only 59 years old. He is survived by Nancy, who was his wife of over 39 years, their two sons, and four grandchildren. He is also survived by a collection of films that became the touchstone genre for adolescence and coming of age. Ask someone in their thirties to late forties to name a favorite movie by John Hughes and there will be a pause. Not because they can’t think of a favorite, but because it is impossible to pick just one!

For me, it’s always been Some Kind of Wonderful. I loved the earnest characters, the theme of money that always played a pivotal role in a John Hughes film, and the love story. And yet, I’ll stop whatever I’m doing if Ferris Bueller or Sixteen Candles is on TV. These films, their dialogue and character structures, have become a part of our vernacular.

In an interview with Roger Ebert on the set of The Breakfast Club, Hughes said, “Kids are smart enough to know that most teenage movies are just exploiting them. They’ll respond to a film about teenagers as people. [My] movies are about the beauty of just growing up. I think teenage girls are especially ready for this kind of movie, after being grossed out by all the sex and violence in most teenage movies. People forget that when you’re 16, you’re probably more serious than you’ll ever be again. You think seriously about the big questions.”

My favorite radio station is playing music from John Hughes movies today as a tribute to the man who influenced and inspired so many. I’m going to crank up the O.M.D.

The Cast of 6 John Hughes Films: Then and Now

  • John Hughes Stars: Then and Now 1 of 25
    John Hughes Stars: Then and Now

    John Hughes helped audiences discover Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, MacAulay Culkin, and John Candy. He died on August 6, 2009.

     

    Image Credit: Disney

  • Mr. Mom – Then 2 of 25
    mr-mom-then

    Mr. Mom is said to have been based off of John Hughes's own adventures as a stay-at-home dad and struggling writer. Michael Keaton turned down the movie Splash to star in Mr. Mom. In the movie poster for Mr. Mom, Michael Keaton looks back at a waving Teri Garr, and child actor Fred Koehler, in a blue shirt, is wrapped in toilet paper.

     

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Michael Keaton – Now 3 of 25
    Michael-Keaton-now

    Michael Keaton is BUSY! While not rumored to be playing Batman again, he is wrapping up production on several projects including RoboCop and Toy Story 4.

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Fred Koehler – Now 4 of 25
    Fred-Koehler-now

    Fred continued his career and transitioned from successful child actor to successful character actor. He was most recently seen on the TV shows Grimm and NCIS.

     

    Image Credit:  IMDB

  • Terri Garr – Now 5 of 25
    Terri-Garr-now

    In 2002 Teri Garr went public with her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. After writing a book called Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, Teri is now the National Ambassador for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • National Lampoon’s Vacation- Then 6 of 25
    National-Lampoon-Vacation-then

    Rumored to be based on events that happened to John Hughes when he was a child -- and a REALLY bad trip to Disneyland -- National Lampoon's Vacation was the film that really solidified John's comedic chops in Hollywood. In the movie poster for Vacation a representation of Chevy (because, COME ON!) stands triumphant, as one leg is clutched by young Beverly D'Angelo. (The other leg is being adeptly held down by supermodel Christie Brinkley.)

     

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Beverly D’Angelo – Now 7 of 25
    Beverly-DAngelo-now

    Beverly D'Angelo is probably most famous for her role in Vacation, even though she has been in hundreds of productions for TV, film, and stage. She is currently in prep for a sequel to, wait for it, wait for it...National Lampoon's Vacation. Production is already getting underway in Atlanta.

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Chevy Chase – Now 8 of 25
    Chevy-Chase-now

    Chevy is also gearing up for the sequel to Vacation. It's not the only sequel on his schedule right now though. The actor is currently filming a sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Sixteen Candles – Then 9 of 25
    sixteen-candles-then

    Considered to be the John Hughes film to cut your teeth on, Sixteen Candles continues to inspire Hollywood. Maggie Carey, director of the new release The To Do List, said her goal was to make a "dirty" Sixteen Candles. Molly Ringwald, seen here on the poster for Sixteen Candles was actually 16 years old at the time of filming. Michael Schoeffling, who will forever be Jake Ryan in preppy plaid, smolders in perfection.

     

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Molly Ringwald – Now 10 of 25
    Molly-Ringwald-now

    First of all, could Molly Ringwald be any cuter in this photo? The busy actress is currently taking a brief break from her TV schedule to sing some jazz in San Francisco

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Blanche Baker – Now 11 of 25
    Blanche-Baker-now

    Blanche Baker was brilliant as the drugged big sister bride in Sixteen Candles.  Blanche took up sculpting after the film was released. In a 2002 interview with People magazine she says, "By the time [Sixteen Candles] came out, I was married and pregnant. I don't think my agent thought that was a particularly good career move." She continues to dabble in film and TV projects.

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Michael Schoeffling – Now 12 of 25
    Michael-Schoeffling-now

    There are entire websites dedicated to tracking down Michael Schoeffling, but since he clearly wants nothing more of the limelight I won't be linking to any of those sites. His daughter Scarlet, on the other hand, is very much ready to take center stage. A month ago she shared this family photo on her Instagram account. An up and coming model, Scarlet is every bit as beautiful as you would imagine the daughter of two former models would be. 

     

    Image Credit: Daughter's instagram

  • The Breakfast Club – Then 13 of 25
    the-breakfast-club-then

    The Breakfast Club gave us The Brat Pack. In the iconic movie poster Molly Ringwald pouts in pink, Anthony Michael Hall is the heart in the middle, Ally Sheedy is barely visible behind her bangs, Judd Nelson tries to make gloves hip, and Emilio Estevez rocks a letter jacket.

    (Want to see a great cameo? John Hughes plays Anthony Michael Hall's father, and you can see him in the car when he picks him up at the end of the film.)

     

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • The Breakfast Club – Now 14 of 25
    the-breakfast-club-now

    In 2010 The Film Society of Lincoln Center Remembered John Hughes with a Special 25th Anniversary Screening of The Breakfast Club. 

    From Left to Right: Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Weird Science – Then 15 of 25
    weird-science-then

    The ultimate teen boy movie of the '80s. I actually have a theory about Weird Science. I think the movie was absolutely made for a male audience, and I think Real Genius (not a John Hughes film) was made for teen girls. What do you think?

    In the movie poster Kelly LeBrock shows off her cheekbones and curves, while a young Anthony Michael Hall (on the left) marvels with Ilan Mitchell-Smith (on the right).

     

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Kelly LeBrock -Now 16 of 25
    Kelly-LeBrock-now

    Kelly seemed to take a break from the limelight for a while. She recently has started showing up at tech conferences and is in post production on Hidden Affairs. Recently she made a Scottish DJ's teenage dream come true by going out on a (phone) date with him. 

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Ilan Mitchell-Smith – Now 17 of 25
    Ilan-Mitchell-Smith-now

    Ilan Mitchell-Smith is currently a professor in the English department at California State University. Ilan made a few movies after Weird Science, but left acting in 1991.

     

    Image Credit: Ilan Mitchell Smith

  • Some Kind of Wonderful – Then 18 of 25
    some-kind-of-wonderful-then

    A critic from the NY Times once said Some Kind of Wonderful was a "much-improved, recycled version of the Pretty in Pink story." I'm going to have to agree with her. I don't care that Eric Stoltz and Lea Thompson are wearing pretty much the same button down blue shirt in the movie poster, OBVIOUSLY Mary Stuart Masterson as the brooding Watts is his true love.

     

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Lea and Craig – Then 19 of 25
    Craig-and-lea-then

    Oh Craig. So much hair happening here. And Lea, so young! 

     

    Image Credit: IMDB

  • Lea Thompson -Now 20 of 25
    Lea-Thompson-now

    Lea Thompson is having a great career boom right now thanks to the popular TV series Switched at Birth. She is also working on two films currently in production. 

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Craig Sheffer – Now 21 of 25
    Craig-Sheffer-now

    Craig has had a complex acting career playing, let's say, 90% bad or creepy guys. He's just so good at it! His last credit was as a, you guessed it, bad guy in the popular TNT caper Major Crimes

     

    Image Credit: PR Photo

  • Maddie Corman – Then 22 of 25
    Maddie-Corman-then

    Maddie was a quirky child star who evolved into a cool child actress. She started acting in her early teens in ABC after school specials. 

     

    Image Credit: IMDB

  • Maddie Corman – Now 23 of 25
    Maddie-Corman-now

    Maddie has continued to work steadily and is currently wrapping up Lullaby, a drama also starring Amy Adams. In 1998 Maddie married stage and television director Jason Alexander. 

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Eric Stoltz – Now 24 of 25
    eric-stoltz-now

    I once played scrabble with Eric. True story. (for another day)

    Eric has continued his acting career, but he has also expanded into directing. He has directed some of our favorite shows on TV including Grey's Anatomy, Glee, and Nashville

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos

  • Mary Stuart Masterson – Now 25 of 25
    Mary-Stuart-Masterson-now

    Mary Stuart Masterson has continued her film career, but she has also dabbled in TV and stage. In 2003 she was nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in Nine: The Musical. In 2012 Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz gave Entertainment Weekly a great interview about what it was like to film Some Kind of Wonderful

     

    Image Credit: PR Photos


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