Very few filmmakers have the ability to make a movie that captures the feel of a generation. For John Hughes, it was common practice. His movies were an escape from reality but also made you realize how much magic was around you every day. There will never be another John Hughes and for that, we are forever grateful to him. While these films are ranked, just because some are lower on the list does not mean they’re bad movies. He rarely made anything that wasn’t superb. The top tier movies are extremely difficult to judge against one another so please share your thoughts!
31. Home Alone 3
None of the original cast are back? No thanks. Not even a young Scarlett Johansson as Molly Pruitt can save this one.
30. Drillbit Taylor
It’s unfortunate that this Owen Wilson dud was his final project, but I think we can all agree that he did enough amazing work to overlook this one.
29. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion
This is such an odd movie for Hughes that has gone completely overlooked. It’s a comedy/horror about Lizzie Borden’s high school class. Sure, why not?
28. Maid in Manhattan
Most people don’t realize he wrote the story for that J-Lo movie about a maid posing as a wealthy businesswoman trying to impress a senator. It’s really not that bad of a movie.
27. Career Opportunities
It’s not anything amazing or original, but it’s fun enough to be mentioned in the same breath as many of the other classic ‘80s comedies. Plus, Jennifer Connelly is wonderful.
26. She’s Having a Baby
Maybe Hughes’ most underrated film, She’s Having a Baby looks at marriage and becoming a parent from a male perspective. Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern are an interesting couple, but it’s not quite on par with Hughes’ highly celebrated classics. It’s still worth watching.
25. Reach the Rock
Hughes wrote this story of a young man who leaves town after everyone blames him for his best friend drowning. He returns years later and spends the night causing mischief all over the city. If you would like to watch it, I hope you kept a VCR around, because it was never transferred over to DVD.
24. Nate and Hayes
Hughes does his version of Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s so much fun. If you haven’t seen this 1983 gem, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy.
23. Some Kind of Wonderful
What happens when a tomboy realizes she’s in love with her best friend whose about to go on a date with the most popular girl in school? Classic ‘80s hijinks, that’s what. I like this movie a lot, but the casting just feels a little off.
Baby’s Day Out
It’s the greatest movie you’ve ever seen starring an infant avoiding criminals and the most unrealistic gorilla costume ever put on screen.
21. National Lampoon’s European Vacation
This was the weakest of the Vacation movies and the scene where Audrey inflates gave me nightmares as a kid, but if you look at the Vacation series as a complete work, it’s much more tolerable.
20. Dennis the Menace
The reboot of Dennis the Menace isn’t perfect, but Walter Matthau and Christopher Lloyd are as enjoyable as ever. Was this the one kids movie in the ‘90s that required a young boy with blonde hair that didn’t star Macaulay Culkin?
19. 101 Dalmatians
Glen Close brings Cruella De Vil to a terrifying new level that may be one of the most underrated villains in the history of cinema. It’s a wonderful adaptation of a cartoon and that’s a feat you don’t hear of very often.
How many movies in the ‘90s used the formula of Wacky Robin Williams + Kids + An Uncontrollable Variable? The better question is why did they stop using that concept, because it’s fantastic.
17. Mr. Mom
The concept couldn’t be filled with more stereotypes, but Michael Keaton and Teri Garr are so likeable, it finds a way to work. Plus, it made me want to make a grilled cheese with an iron.
16. Miracle on 34th Street
Mara Wilson’s expression on the cover of Miracle on 34th Street defines the feel that Christmas movies try to create. Hughes was a master of retelling classic stories, a trait that is painfully lacking from present day Hollywood.
Not only is it funny, it feels so honest. Ed O’Neill and Ethan Embry have great chemistry without ever crossing over into after school special territory. I still cover my eyes during the scene with the nude playing cards out of habit.
Do you realize how many huge names were in this movie? Stanley Tucci, David Duchovny, Patricia Heaton, Bonnie Hunt, and, of course, Charles Grodin all ran around trying to control that giant beast of a dog. There wasn’t a Christmas Wish List in the country that didn’t include a St. Bernard puppy after Beethoven came out.
13. Curly Sue
Hughes was a master of creating iconic characters and getting incredible performances out of kids. Never was it more evident than in Curly Sue. If you haven’t watched it in a while, give it another watch. There’s a young Steve Carell appearance in there as Tesio.
12. Weird Science
Once you get into this part of John Hughes’ career, it’s difficult to describe the movies without stating obvious praises. Weird Science gave Anthony Michael Hall the spotlight he deserved and made even the biggest nerd feel like they could get the hot girl.
11. The Great Outdoors
The entire cast plays off of each other so well, and there are countless scenes just overflowing with amazing jokes. John Candy trying to inform everyone of the bear chasing him is one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen.
10. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The combination of John Hughes and John Candy is a recipe for perfection, but then adding Steve Martin as the straight guy dealing with Candy’s antics as a shower ring salesman is nothing short of brilliant.
9. Uncle Buck
Uncle Buck is the best John Candy movie and that’s saying something. Hughes created such an iconic character and once again showed that he could make any scenario fun and lighthearted.
8. National Lampoon’s Vacation
Is it even legal to go on a vacation with your family and not make at least a dozen references to this movie? Chevy Chase summed up every dad that tried so hard to entertain his family and yet failed so miserably.
7. Pretty in Pink
If you never did a couples Halloween costume as Andie and Duckie, I would question every decision I’ve made up to this moment. By the way, James Spader as Steff may be my favorite thing he’s ever done.
6. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Of course it’s filled with some of the most classic John Hughes moments, but even a Home Alone fan as big as me knows that this sequel was the exact same movie as the first one, just in a new setting. Nonetheless, it’s wonderful.
5. Sixteen Candles
This movie doesn’t remind you of the ‘80s, it defines the ‘80s. Every guy wanted to find a Samantha Baker and every girl dreamed of a Jake Ryan. It’s the formula that remains to be duplicated in almost every teen movie created today.
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Forget A Christmas Story, this was the holiday movie my family looked forward to every year. Chevy Chase was at his most Clark Griswold-like and the casting of his kids were perfect this time around. Toss in a borderline insane Randy Quaid and you’ve got, not just a Christmas classic, but an absolutely hilarious movie.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
After watching this movie I had two goals; become exactly like Ferris Bueller and date a girl exactly like Sloane Peterson. Matthew Broderick embodied everything that Ferris Bueller should be and created one of the most iconic characters of all time.
2. The Breakfast Club
It’s the movie that created a template for every other high school movie that’s come out and conjured more laughs, emotion, and love in one room than most movies do working in an entire universe.
1. Home Alone
Macaulay Culkin was the face of the ‘90s and Daniel Stern may be the most underrated physical comedian of the last three decades. There isn’t a sane person on the planet that doesn’t enjoy Home Alone. John Hughes made some incredible contributions, but none of them are greater than this.