John Hughes was an enormously talented writer and director, responsible for creating many of the ‘80s and ‘90s’ best movies. Among his many accomplishments, it’s important to highlight just how good Hughes was at portraying characters who were complete assholes. It’s good, then, that Mel Magazine gave themselves the daunting task of ranking the biggest jerkwads from Hughes filmography—a project that will ensure some of films’ lousiest scumbags are preserved for ages to come.
The result is a solid list of some real pieces of shit. MEL gets most of the heavy hitters placed well, including Planes, Trains, And Automobiles’ Neal Page (Steve Martin) at number 11, The Great Outdoors’ Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd) at number seven, Weird Science’s Chet (Bill Paxton) at number two, and Pretty In Pink’s Steff McKee (James Spader) in the top spot. While Hughesheads are bound to quibble with the exact placement of these characters (Uncle Frank from Home Alone really ought to be higher than #10), the explanatory paragraphs do a good job justifying the decisions.
Until, that is, we come to Ferris Bueller’s ranking at a far-too-generous number five on the list. The Matthew Broderick character, for all his boyish smiles and quick-witted quips, is really the reigning villain of Hughes’ catalog. MEL mentions that even Broderick “himself describes his character ... in a 1986 interview on Today as ‘manipulating,’ ‘shifty,’ and ‘dishonest’” and says that his long-suffering sister was “completely justified in trying to bust his preppy ass.” They also mentions how horribly he “bullies his so-called best friend” Cameron, “lies to his parents every chance he gets,” and basically just acts like a sociopath for the movie’s entire runtime.
And yet, somehow, Bueller escapes the number one spot because other characters, like Paxton’s Chet and Spader’s Steff, are more obviously, directly shitty. While we applaud MEL’s work, we implore all those who read it—and then spend a quarantine weekend rewatching as many Hughes movies as they can—to remember that often the most wretched people of all hide their evil beneath a charming facade. In short: Eat shit, Ferris. No matter what anyone else says, you’re the reigning Hughes jerk in our books.
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