John Hughes lovingly chronicled the American geek at his most acutely vulnerable moment — in high school. It is probably impossible to underestimate the impression his coming-of-age movies made on anyone who came of age in the mid 1980s, at the height of Reagan's big-haired Imperial Burlesque. The pendulum swung. As former hippies embraced the lavish, gaudy lifestyles born of huge budget deficits, Hughes captured, pitch-perfectly, the moody after-effects on the often psychologically left behind children of those neglectful Boomers. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink all bear his shy, iconic stamp. If that eternal, angry adolescent Ingmar Bergman's cinematic muses were Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman then John Hughes' were the brittle Molly Ringwald (whom he always portrayed with a gentle, fatherly love) and the acutely geekish Anthony Michael Hall, all squeaky-voiced and awkward gangly wonderful. Hughes created a self-contained but highly recognizable high school alternate universe where petty school bureaucrats ruled with an iron fist and soul-killing rules as cool kids, unpunished, roamed the halls like scavengers on the veldt. Anyone who grew up in the 1980s, at the height of the decline of American public education, saw ominous parallels. John Hughes, like all great artists, never quite grew up. The slings and arrows of outrageous adolescence stayed with him. Clearly they stung. But they also provided a fertile almost volcanic soil for him to produce such strong green chutes like Ferris Bueller, the large-hearted class cutter always one step away from the bitter High School Principal, or Allison Reynolds, the hypershy magnificent freak who — mirabile dictu — turned out to be a swan under all the the dandruff, melancholy and goth clothing. Rest in peace, John Hughes. Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.