John Hughes passed away yesterday at the age of 59, and In spite of the fact he hadn't done anything of note for almost 20 years (no, Baby's Day Out does not count), he long ago secured his reputation as the director who defined 80s teen cinema. An entire generation of Americans grew up pining for Molly Ringwald and obediently self-categorizing themselves as brains, basket cases, or criminals, and lines like "No more yanky my wanky" and "They're gonna shit eggrolls" soon entered the popular vernacular.
Or mine, anyway.
Iconic as his movies were, they naturally gave rise to a number of memorable characters, not all of whom succeeded in garnering our sympathy. Here now, because you can get a career retrospective anywhere, is our list of the top five most obnoxious John Hughes characters.
5. John Bender (Judd Nelson) -- The Breakfast Club (1985)
Perpetual detention denizen Bender introduced a young Judd Nelson, and his nostrils, to the world. Intended to open our eyes to the heartbreak of cigar abuse, the character's braying loutishness and inability to pronounce "Molière" inadvertently led audiences to silently wish he'd done more than spill a little paint in the garage.
And the real "criminals" in high school didn't get Saturday morning detention. They were suspended.
4. Tia Russell (Jean Louisa Kelly) -- Uncle Buck (1989)
Obviously a cousin to Jeannie Bueller, Tia finally gave form to what we'd secretly suspected about Hughes all along; he really didn't like teenage girls without the last name "Ringwald." Now that he's gone, we'll never know the origin of this hatred, but there must have been a prom dumping or a cheating with his best friend incident back at Glenbrook North High School that led Hughes to create the likes of Caroline Mulford, Amanda Jones, and Tia.
3. Chet Donnelly (Bill Paxton) -- Weird Science (1985)
Paxton's turn as psycho vampire Severen in Near Dark is among my favorite roles of his, but #1 has to be Chet. The flattop-sporting jackass blackmails his smarter younger brother Wyatt, tries to induce a drunken Gary to puke, and awkwardly propositions the messianic Lisa. It's only after the latter transmogrifies him into a -- for lack of a better term -- shit monster, that he regains his humanity. The world is a worse place because of it.
2. Curly Sue (Alisan Porter) -- Curly Sue (1991)
Continuing Home Alone's tradition of hilarious sadistic violence, this example of latter era, I'm-not-even-trying-anymore Hughes comedy takes the additional grotesque step of romanticizing homelessness. Sue and her be-mulleted "companion" Bill ride around on garbage trucks and stage illegal yet lovable cons, demonstrating to vagrants everywhere what can be accomplished with a little "can do" attitude. Reagan and Bush Sr. should've gotten producer credits.
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1. Ducky (Jon Cryer) and Blane (Andrew McCarthy) -- Pretty In Pink (1986)
It's impossible to single out one of the two pathetic rivals for Andie's affections for abuse. Ducky personified the expression "trying too hard," and desperate, attention-whoring wardrobes like his were one of the key instigators of high dress codes. Blane, on the other hand, was the epitome of wishy-washy adolescent romance, unable to close the deal even when Andie was throwing herself at his feet. People complained that they ended up together at the end, but if you ask me, Andie should've hooked up with Steff, who at least had the strength of his elitist convictions.
He also had a car.