John Hughes: A Life in Film

John Hughes: A Life in Film by Kirk Honeycutt

The Genius Behind Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone, and more

Format: Hardback, 224 Pages
ISBN: 9781631060229
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"There's no way I'm going to end a movie on a negative note." - John Hughes

He allegedly wrote Ferris Bueller's Day Off in four days, Planes, Trains and Automobiles in three days, The Breakfast Club in two days, and Vacation in a week. He never went to film school or studied cinema. And he spent most of his incredible career in the Midwest, far from the Hollywood Hills.

John Hughes was indeed one of the most prolific and successful filmmakers in Hollywood history. He helped launch the careers of Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Macaulay Culkin, and Judd Nelson. He made John Candy a household name.

In this first illustrated tribute to the legendary filmmaker, author Kirk Honeycutt offers a behind-the-scenes look at the genius that was John Hughes--from his humble beginnings in direct mail to his blockbuster success with classics like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Home Alone. Honeycutt also explores the darker side of John Hughes: his extreme sensitivity, his stormy professional relationships, and the devastation Hughes experienced after the death of his closest friend, John Candy.

Featuring fresh interviews with Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Steve Martin, and Jon Cryer, and a foreword from Home Alone director Chris Columbus, this is the must-read for fans of John Hughes.

"This biography is a fascinating portrait of a brilliant, complex, and wonderful man. John Hughes forever transformed my world, and I am grateful for such a wonderful tribute." - Ally Sheedy

"John Hughes always treated me with respect and consideration, and was most generous with his insight. As a result of Mr. Honeycutt's detailed research, we learn John Hughes the person was even more impressive than John Hughes the writer/director. Reading this book was a bittersweet experience, making me feel the size of the loss of his premature passing. But it also confirmed for me that John Hughes was a giant, and under his great shadow I am fortunate to remain." - Judd Nelson

Kirk Honeycutt was chief film critic for The Hollywood Reporter for many years and subsequent to that, senior film reporter for that publication. He has covered major industry developments and has regularly attended such film festivals as Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Pusan, and Montreal while serving on juries at other festivals.

Earlier in his career, he was chief film critic for the Los Angeles Daily News, a regular contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section, and a film columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

Honeycutt is a member of the prestigious Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and is the creator of Honeycutt's Hollywood (honeycuttshollywood.com), a popular film review website. He appears regularly on television, radio, and podcasts, and currently teaches at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He lives with his wife, Mira, in Los Angeles.

Format: Hardback, 224 Pages
ISBN: 9781631060229
Illustrations: 100+ images
Size: 9.625 in x 11.25 in x 1 in / 244.48 mm x 285.75 mm x 25.4 mm
Published:

"This biography is a fascinating portrait of a brilliant, complex, and wonderful man. John Hughes forever transformed my world, and I am grateful for such a wonderful tribute." - Ally Sheedy

"John Hughes always treated me with respect and consideration, and was most generous with his insight. As a result of Mr. Honeycutt's detailed research, we learn John Hughes the person was even more impressive than John Hughes the writer/director. Reading this book was a bittersweet experience, making me feel the size of the loss of his premature passing. But it also confirmed for me that John Hughes was a giant, and under his great shadow I am fortunate to remain." - Judd Nelson

STARRED REVIEW **

"Filmmaker John Hughes (1950-2009) captured the zeitgeist of suburban America in the 1980s and 1990s with his iconic teen-angst comedies and madcap cinematic romps. In this retrospective, film critic and blogger (honeycuttshollywood.com) ­Honeycutt reviews Hughes's legacy of creating memorable characters such as the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), writing humorous and zany stories such as those of the "Vacation" and "Home Alone" movies, and spotting talented actors including Molly Ringwald, star of Sixteen Candles (1984) and Pretty in Pink (1986). While it is evident that the author is a fan, the book is not merely a nostalgic look back at an impressive filmography. Honeycutt takes a critical look at the filmmaker and his films. Even though Hughes's sensitivity and perfectionism led him to create believable "underdog" or "outsider" characters and endearing stories, these same traits also made it increasingly difficult for him to work with the actors, directors, and producers as his career progressed, eventually resulting in his retirement from filmmaking. VERDICT Reminiscent of a high school yearbook in format and filled with behind-the-scenes photos and movie posters, the book is perfect for film students, fans of Hughes's movies, and "I love the Eighties" devotees." - Library Journal

"...longtime Variety movie-industry reporter and critic and current film-studies professor Kirk Honeycutt's newly published retrospective, John Hughes: A Life In Film does something a bit different. Rather than examining Hughes's place in the broader cultural milieu or conducting an unauthorized census into Hughes's life story, Honeycutt takes us through a chronological tour of the Chicago native's two decades in show business. Starting with his transition from writing ad copy to joining National Lampoon's ranks and concluding on the bittersweet note of his somewhat infamous late-90s flops (Flubber, Baby's Day Out), Honeycutt also interviews collaborators including Matthew Broderick and Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch (Hughes wrote the screenplay). The end result makes no bones about Hughes's erratic output and reputedly aloof personality, but also offers insight into creative and logistical process that went into his body of work." - FastCompany.com

March 12, 2015
An expanded excerpt from John Hughes: A Life in Film, to be published March 25, has been published on Vanity Fair. The excerpt from the book by Kirk Honeycutt goes behind the scenes of the production of the classic comedy, The Breakfast Club, which is turning 30 this year. Read More.