I have to admit that the news about john Hughes’ death yesterday hit me like a swift punch in the gut. We can talk about the “greatest” films, the “best” filmmakers, and it’s likely that John Hughes and the films he made may never come up in those conversations. However, I can think of few filmmakers that had as big an impact on me personally as Hughes did. I know I’m not alone in this. I was in Junior high when he was making the work that would define his career. His Shermer, Illinois didn’t seem much different than the suburbs I grew up in. He had an incredible knack for putting these teenage characters on the screen with all of their anxieties, issues, and flaws without being condescending, superficial, or pandering — this is no small task. He gave kids like me characters we could identify with, characters that could make us feel normal even when we were feeling weird and alone like every teenager does. Unlike most any other filmmaker, he was able to capture and present what felt like the true essence of what it really felt like to be a kid growing up in the 80s. John Hughes may not be considered a great or important artist, per se, but I can think of few filmmakers that did so much to define a generation. In many ways, he made my generation’s Rebel Without a Cause. and for that I will always be grateful.