Tag Archives: john hughes

Reid On Hughes

They were three partial strangers, with some things in common, meeting collectively for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse. And that was just Daina. Before the day was over, they broke the rules. Bared their souls. Recorded a podcast. And touched each other (metaphorically) in a way they never dreamed possible.

We've been fans of Daina Reid for a long time - first for her on-screen work as in the likes of Jimeoin, Full Frontal and The Micallef Program, and more recently as one of our most proficient directors. Now that the rest of the world has discovered her talents (she directed episodes 11 and 12 of The Handmaid's Tale season two), we were incredibly lucky to get some time with her to talk about the films of John Hughes.

There are so many versions of Hughes: the National Lampoon writer, the hitmaker behind Home Alone, the nuclear-family-on-holiday screenwriter of Vacation and The Great Outdoors, and the director of the definitive 1980s teen comedy-dramas. The iconography of his films still resonate, but how do the films themselves hold up?

Before we talk to Daina about her career and the career of Hughes, we take a break from the monthly new releases and look at some of the films we caught at the Melbourne International Film Festival. A number of filmmakers we've covered previously on the show had new works screening at the fest, so we thought we'd catch up on Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot, Guy Maddin's (and Evan & Galen Johnson's) The Green Fog and Accidence, and Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows.

Further reading:

  • If our Man Who Killed Don Quixote talk got you yearning to hear more about Terry Gilliam, you can listen to us talk Gilliam's filmography with Myke Bartlett here
  • If our Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot review made you think about Gus Van Sant's career, allow us to direct you to our Van Sant episode with Glenn Dunks here
  • If our chatter about The Green Fog and Accidence made you curious about Guy Maddin, you should definitely listen to us talk about his films with Hayley Inch here
  • And if all this Everybody Knows discussion made you wonder why everybody knows about Asghar Farhadi except you, then you should definitely take a moment to hear us dig into all things Farhadi with Tina Hassannia
  • The JR Jones article about The Green Fog as mentioned by Rochelle can be read here at the Chicago Reader
  • Accidence reminded Lee of REM’s single-take music video for Imitation of Life, and you can watch it here
  • If you can't get enough of Daina (and who could?), we found a great video of her discussing storytelling at Vivid in 2013
  • If you'd like to see Daina in her comedy days, here she is hosting an etiquette lesson on Full Frontal, and as the iconic Ethel in one of the most exciting episodes of Roger Explosion
  • The Merger, written by lead actor Damian Callinan, is playing in cinemas now. Go see it!
  • And you can see Daina's episodes of The Handmaid's Tale at SBS On Demand right now (but don't watch them out of order; make sure you've seen the preceding ones first)
  • Molly Ringwald's must-read reflections on the films she made with John Hughes can be read here at the New Yorker
  • And you should definitely listen to Ringwald talk with Ira Glass about the experience of showing her daughter The Breakfast Club for the first time, over at This American Life
  • We know, we know, it’s Ed O'Neil
  • You don't necessarily need to see what would happen if Lee had starred in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but the option remains available
  • If you want to read the original Vacation '58 short story by Hughes that inspired the Vacation series, that's something you can do
  • If you want to see a side-by-side comparison of Ferris Bueller with Spider-man: Homecoming, one YouTuber has put them side-by-side in a (relatively) handy video
  • And here's the forthcoming Wonder Woman 1984's take on The Breakfast Club poster:

Outro music: Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club (1985)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Daina Reid talking the films of John Hughes, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – August 2018

Daina Reid joins us to talk the films of John Hughes!

Rochelle and Lee take a break from new releases to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival, and share their thoughts on some of the key films they saw, including Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2:03), Gus Van Sant’s memoir adaptation Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot (5:00), Guy Maddin’s latest collaborations with co-director siblings Evan & Galen Johnson The Green Fog and accompanying short film Accidence (8:21), and Asghar Farhadi’s foray into Spanish language cinema with Everybody Knows (12:14).

Director Daina Reid joins the show to discuss her unique career path, and how performing sketch comedy on television alongside the likes of Eric Bana, Kitty Flanagan and Shaun Micallef was an unexpected but valuable diversion on her path to making film and TV. Can a background in comedy help when directing heart-wrenching episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale? (16:37)

Then, Daina takes us through the works of her filmmaker of the month, John Hughes. Hughes was the writer and sometimes director behind a slew of crowd-pleasing hits, including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Home Alone and Beethoven, but it was his teen comedies that really struck a chord with a generation. Films like Sixteen CandlesThe Breakfast ClubPretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off were high-concept but relatable films that had a profound effect on teenage audiences, and the influence of his work can still be felt to this day. But some elements of his films have not dated well, and we attempt to unpack and best and the worst of the prolific John Hughes filmography. (28:09)

The John Hughes Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double feature that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…


If you get right down to it, there are primarily two types of John Hughes films. The first is the type he's best known for: the teen angst comedy. Adolescent desires and frustrations are depicted through low-fi high concepts: what if you family forgot your 16th birthday? How much life could you live if you skipped school for a day? What if five kids with nothing in common had to spend a Saturday in detention together? The Breakfast Club is perhaps the ultimate Hughes film: it's fully committed to its elevator pitch, it digs into uncomfortable emotional territory, it's funny as hell, and it features Molly Ringwald. It's essentially all the Hughes teen films smashed into one, which is why we've programmed it as your first film of the evening. Then we follow it up with that other perennial John Hughes film: the frustrated family man who just wants to do right by his family. From Mr Mom to She's Having a Baby to the Vacation series, Hughes was consumed with how life and circumstance conspire to thwart the best-intentioned husband and dad. With Planes, Trains and Automobiles, he turned his successful Vacation formula on its head, this time featuring a man trying to escape the road to return to his family. Whether troubled teen or desperate dad, these two films should give you a good idea of what drove Hughes. Quite literally in the case of Planes, Trains.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen The Breakfast Club, seek out Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). It's more broadly comic than his other teen films, but you still get a fair bit of emotional heft from Cameron's paternal woes. And the fantasy concept of skiving off school and having the greatest day of your life is one that remains deeply appealing regardless of your age. If you can't get or have already seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles, get your hands on National Lampoon's Vacation (1989). The story of an eager dad trying to give his family the best holiday possible was such a huge hit, it spawned three sequels, a Superbowl ad, an in-canon reboot, and a made-for-TV spinoff. (Are you one of the seven people who has seen Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure? Let us know in the comments!)

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of John Hughes? Then you should track down Career Opportunities (1991). Sure, it doesn't quite fit the remit of “gem”, but it certainly qualifies as “hidden”. A more grown-up version of Home Alone, the film focuses on an ambitious but lazy young man who becomes the overnight custodian of a department store on what ends up being the most fateful of nights. It's a fun watch, but still more a curiosity than anything else: an example of how the formula that made Home Alone work can so easily not work if some of the elements are tweaked too far.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Daina Reid talking the films of John Hughes, will be released on 31 August 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Daina Reid

Director, performer and Hi4H August 2018 guest host Daina Reid

It's fun to watch people who only know Eric Bana only as Serious Dramatic Actor discover his roots in Aussie TV sketch comedy - but for our money, it's a less incredulous career leap than the one taken by Bana's Full Frontal co-star, Daina Reid. Of course, the use of “incredulous” here should be read as a compliment of the highest order.

After being one of Australia’s funniest performers on shows such as Jimeoin, Full Frontal and The Micallef Program, Daina pivoted into one of our most prolific directors of television both comedic and dramatic, helming episodes of The Secret Life of Us, MDA, All Saints, Very Small Business, City Homicide, Rush, Nowhere Boys, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Offspring, The Wrong Girl, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Romper Stomper. She directed the high-profile TV movies Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, Howzat! Kerry Packer's War, Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS, The Secret River, and the feature film I Love You Too, starring Brendan Cowell, Yvonne Strahovski, Peter Helliar, Megan Gale, and Peter Dinklage.

This year, she leapt into the world of international event television, directing two episodes of the acclaimed series The Handmaid's Tale.

But none of that compares to her greatest role to date: Roger Explosion's Ethel! Sorry, that should be: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host! But which filmmaker has she chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than John Hughes!

Hughes was the voice of teen comedies in the 1980s. He either wrote or wrote and directed beloved works such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Some Kind of Wonderful. He wrote some of National Lampoon's earliest comedies Vacation, European Vacation and Christmas Vacation, and would go on to create classics such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, and Home Alone.

His fingerprints remain smeared over so much of modern pop culture, with countless lines and scenes still quoted endlessly in modern works.

But what is it about his filmmaking that so enduring? And most importantly, what kind of effect did his works have on Daina?

Join us on August 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, John Hughes