5 John Hughes Characters You Incorrectly Thought Were Good
5 John Hughes’ Characters You Incorrectly Thought Were Good
5. Old Man Marley (Home Alone) played by Roberts Blossom
Old Man Marley is the red herring in Home Alone, as we are lead to believe that he is a creepy old man who got away with murder, but actually proves his worth after saving Kevin from the Wet Bandits. But, was he actually good?
· First, what kind of suburban neighbor doesn’t introduce himself to his neighbors? You could argue he want his privacy, but it’s more a open and shut case of a grumpy old man neglecting his neighbors.
· Second, in the church scene, Kevin asks Old Man Marley, “Are you feeling bad about yourself?” Marley, then responds with a long, “Nooooo.” But, then he goes on to tell Kevin he isn’t welcomed with his son after a fight. This is clearly on his mind, but why doesn’t he feel bad or try calling him in his latter years of life?
· Third, when Marley runs into Kevin at the Mom and Pop’s store, we see Marley at the counter with a big gash on his right hand buying band-aids. What the hell? Why would an old man-recluse have a huge gash on his hand?
4. Clark W. Griswold Sr. (Christmas Vacation) played by John Randolph
Griswold Sr. seems like the lovable old man who wouldn’t harm a fly, but evidence suggests otherwise.
· First, when Clark’s lighting experiment goes awry, Clark Sr. walks off when Clark is in mid-sentence and offers this helpful line, “It’s probably a loose bulb, son….” Thanks for the advice.
· Second, Clark Sr. is seen reading a Playboy next to his sleeping wife. You’re probably thinking it’s not that big of a deal, BUT the average age of a Playmate is low to mid 20’s. Kind of creepy, old man.
· Third, when Clark asks how he managed Christmases in the past, Clark Sr. responds, “I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.” Sure, everyone drinks around the holidays, but he emphasizes “a lot.” Nothing better than a drunk father around the holidays, right kids?
When compared to Clark’s father-in-law, Clark Sr. appears to be a gentle old man, but dig deeper and you find a legitimate bad guy.
3. Neil Page (Planes, Trains & Automobiles) played by Steve Martin
Neil Page (played by Steve Martin) is having a difficult time getting home to his family for Thanksgiving. We identify with Neil Page because he appears to be a decent, hard-working man who just wants to get home to his family. But, is he an actual good guy?
- First, when Neil calls home to tell his wife that his flight was unable to land in Chicago and he won’t make it home, his wife has an interesting reaction.
- In a stable relationship, you would expect his wife to understand; however, his wife responds, “What’s going on Neil?” You think Neil’s wife would be more understanding in this situation. Maybe he did something in the past to lose her trust? Neil calls her only once after that and it lasts a whopping 15 seconds or so.
- Second, Everyone knows someone who is loud and obnoxious like Del Griffith, but does that make it right to treat that person with total incivility? Neil berates Griffith in the hotel room with an array of insults and makes Del nearly break down. Any person who can insult a man for two straight minutes to his face is not a good guy. The only thing that saves our opinion of Neil is his reaction after Del’s heartwarming speech about being the “real article.”
- Third, Neil doesn’t treat people nicely. While using the F-bomb 20 times in a scene is funny, it is not a way the car rental lady.
Nonetheless, John Hughes gets us to root for Neil, because he just wants to get home to his family and we forgive ungenerous people if they are funny. But, the whole point of the film is that Neil is the protagonist and antagonist, as the struggle with his values and morals makes him human.
2. Clark W. Griswold (Vacation Series) played by Chevy Chase
“The Ultimate Family Man,” Clark Griswold just wanted to give his family a great vacation (four times, althoughVegas Vacation was not written by John Hughes). But, is he actually a good guy or severely flawed?
- First, in Vacation, Clark nearly has an affair and gets caught skinny-dipping with Christie Brinkley. In European Vacation, his “sex tape” is stolen after his wife, Ellen told him to erase it. Finally, in Christmas Vacation, he dreams about the girl who sold him lingerie instead of his own wife. Clearly, Clark does not have much respect for Ellen and was fairly close to having an affair.
- Second, in Vacation, he steals money out of a cash register, kills Edna’s dog, and holds up John Candy’s character with a BB gun in order to go to Wally World. This man should be in jail.
- Third, he is an asshole to his neighbor in Christmas Vacation, causing thousands of dollars worth of damages to their house.
I’m not even going to mention how he lost all of his money in Vegas Vacation (not a John Hughes script), but somehow this man is the protagonist in these films, mainly because we can all relate to vacations going badly. Nonetheless, his actions prove the fact that this man is a bad guy.
1. Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) played by Matthew Broderick
Where to begin? Ferris is likeable because he is a good-looking guy, just trying to “take it easy.” But, is Ferris actually a good guy or a pompous, arrogant jerk?
- First, he manipulates his BEST FRIEND into taking his dad’s very expensive car out for the day full knowing that Cameron would get in trouble.
- Second, he seems rather apathetic towards Sloane, sure he may be faithful, but he is doubtful his relationship will last with him being in college and Sloane in high school. Ferris thinks briefly about marrying Sloane, but then insults Cameron for likely “marrying his first lay.” Kind of sounds like Ferris is just using Sloane. Not to mention, Ferris stops and introduces himself to two lady sunbathers instead of running home to beat his sister!
- Third, he is a spoiled brat. Ferris complains about getting a computer instead of a car. A computer in 1986 would have given Ferris quite the edge in 1986, but he desperately wants a car. But, what teenager doesn’t want a car? Ferris certainly could have got a job. I know what you’re thinking, he wanted a car, there is no harm in that, but…
- Fourth, Ferris is a master manipulator of his friends and family. He manipulates his parents into believing he is sick. He manipulates his sister into thinking that they are close, but he doesn’t even thank her for coming to his rescue against Principal Rooney. And most of all, he manipulates Cameron into taking the heat for destroying his dad’s corvette. Sure, Ferris offers to take the blame, but he knew Cameron would instead. The entire film, Ferris tells Cameron he needs to stand up for himself. Well…no better time then after destroying his dad’s expensive car.
Ferris may seem like an easy-going and likeable character, but in reality he is a master puppeteer.