ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

John Hughes: A Man of Character and His Final Vacation

Updated on November 26, 2020

Hey! I Think I Know That Guy!

There are very few who would disagree that John Hughes, who recently passed away at the age of 59, was a great filmmaker. His films were enjoyable because he blended poignant storytelling, heartwarming humor and interesting characters in a way that we all could relate to. Of these ingredients, perhaps the most important was the characters who would bring these stories to life. While these characters were interesting and fun, they also seemed to be our neighbors, family, and -- though we might sometimes be reluctant to admit it -- ourselves .

Since the legendary filmmaker's passing on August 6, 2010, I have seen many people ask what everyone's favorite John Hughes movie is. Often the understandable response is "I cannot pick just one." In this hub, I will do something a little different, but equally as impossible. Here I will discuss Hughes' most enjoyable character. But I will not try to pick just one... I will give you five ! So here, in no particular order, are my five favorite John Hughes' characters...

Buck Russell in Uncle Buck (1989)

John Candy as Uncle Buck
John Candy as Uncle Buck

When Buck Russell's brother and sister-in-law have to leave town suddenly after her father has a heart attack, Uncle Buck (John Candy) comes to stay with their rebellious teenage daughter Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly) and her young siblings Miles (Macauley Culkin) and Maizy (Gaby Hoffman). Despite the parents' reluctance to turn to the unmarried, childless bachelor with a less than savory past, desperation leads them to ask a favor of the jolly underachiever. Buck's arrival is seen as yet another unfair blow by Tia who is already at odds with her workaholic parents and she welcomes Buck with all the hostility and rage that a disgruntled teenager can muster. But the uncomfortable mix eventually leads everyone, especially Tia and Buck himself, to self realizations that better their lives and brings everyone closer together.

Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold
Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold

Clark Griswold was introduced to us in 1983's National Lampoon's Vacation and who could help but fall in love with the guy? Sure, he can be a bit clumsy at times. And yes, he certainly has a way of sticking his foot in his mouth. And maybe sometimes he gets a bit... distracted. But deep down there is never any doubt that what matters to Clark is his family. He is the kind of dad who might embarass you when your friends come over and might give you advice that only a moron would follow. He is the kind of husband who may make a fool of himself with the checkout girl while buying you a gift or insist on planning that vacation that you know will be a disaster. But when the chips are down, he is the kind of man the family can depend on to do the best he can no matter what. And besides, the guy is hilarious.

John Bender in The Breakfast Club (1985)

Judd Nelson as John Bender
Judd Nelson as John Bender

Of all the students condemned to Saturday detention in The Breakfast Club, John Bender is certainly the one who would have been most familiar with this unique form of adolescent punishment. Perhaps that is why he seems to be the catalyst for so much of what happens in the movie. John knows how to push the buttons of his classmates, provoking responses from those who otherwise would have never considered discussing the intimate details of their home life with a group of strangers. Of course, as the film progresses, we learn that John has his own buttons that can, and probably need, to be pushed.

Chet Ripley in The Great Outdoors (1988)

John Candy as Chet Ripley (with Dan Akroyd as Roman Craig)
John Candy as Chet Ripley (with Dan Akroyd as Roman Craig)

All Chet Ripley wants is to spend a little quality vacation time with his wife and kids. Things seem great when they arrive at their secluded cabin, but the peace and tranquility does not last long when Roman Craig, Chet's brother-in-law, pulls in with his family to reek havoc on the Ripley's idyllic summer getaway. Roman's constant attempt to take control of Chet's well planned vacation put the two at odds, particularly when Chet's boys prefer Roman's speedboat to Chet's fishing boat. But as is expected in a John Hughes' film, by the end of the vacation, despite everything winding up in ruins, everyone comes to realize what is important in life -- family and friends.

Eddie Johnson in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

Randy Quaid as Eddie Johnson
Randy Quaid as Eddie Johnson

Talk about a man with a big heart! Cousin Eddie adds a little something special to the Vacation series. Perhaps the best example of Eddie's good intentions gone horribly wrong is the Christmas gift he gives Clark in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If you have seen the film, then you know what I am talking about, and, if you have not, well... I will not spoil it for you. But you need to check it out next Christmas for sure. And though occasionally Eddie's lack of smarts can get on Clark's nerves, deep down he knows Eddie means well. Besides, Clark can be a bit of a bumbler himself or, more importantly, a comic bumbler. And let's face it -- that is what we love about them both!

Did You Notice John Candy Made the List Twice?

John Candy and john Hughes worked on several films together and there was always magic when they did. From leading roles like those mentioned above to smaller supporting roles such as his parts in National Lampoon's Vacation and Home Alone, John Candy always brought his best game to Hughes' films. Both of these great men are gone now, but we will forever have these timeless moments with which to remember them.

National Lampoon's Vacation
Lasky, Guard at Walleyworld
Planes, Trains & Automobile
Del Griffith
The Great Outdoors
Chet Ripley
She's Having a Baby
Chet Ripley
Uncle Buck
Buck Russell
Home Alone
Gus Polinski
Only the Lonely
Danny Muldoon
Career Opportunities
C.D. Marsh

What A Character Poll

Which character is your favorite?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Katharella profile image


      11 years ago from Lost in America

      I agree, great hub. I love all the movies mentioned, well, wasn't exactly in tune with The Great Outdoors, but I'm pretty sure I got all the lines downpat to The Breakfast Club. Maybe John will meet Dick;) in the great movie screen in the sky!

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Yes, I think John Hughes inadvertently babysat me throughout the 80's. I watch all of those movies and probably over 25 times each. I remember seeing just two in the theaters--Christmas Vacation and the Great Outdoors...

      If you remember the little girl (Eddies' daughter) in Christmas Vacation, I actually dated her older sister (non-actor) back when I was a teenager...I knew the family! I just thought that would be cool to mention.

      Great Hub, Darksinistar, for a funny director. He'll be missed.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)