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John Hughes leaves a huge Hollywood legacy. The writer-producer, who died of a heart attack at 59 on Thursday, defined teen movies in the 80s and influenced today’s major filmmakers. “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” ” Pretty In Pink,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” These movies will live forever.

Ben Stein, who played the monotone economics teacher calling the roll and repeatedly saying “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”, said Hughes was a groundbreaking talent.

“He made a better connection with young people than anyone in Hollywood had ever made before or since. It’s incredibly sad. He was a wonderful man, a genius, a poet. I don’t think anyone has come close to him as being the poet of the youth of America in the postwar period. He was to them what Shakespeare was to the Elizabethan Age.

“You had a regular guy — just an ordinary guy. If you met him, you would never guess he was a big Hollywood power.”

Time movie critic Richard Corliss also praised Hughes and his gift for getting inside a teenager’s mind:

“His Molly trilogy — Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, all starring actual teen Molly Ringwald — mined the emotional convulsions that make every kid feel he or she is the first lonely explorer on the dark side of the moon. In his mid-30s, Hughes got spookily in sync with the swooning narcissism of adolescence: that teachers are torturers; that parents are sweet but don’t quite understand; that friends and lovers are two distinct species, one domestic, one alien; that I feel all these things I can never express; that there must be someone out there who will love me to pieces. Hughes gave the young what they wanted in life and movies: romance, passion, pleasure, commitment, and a little sex. His pictures were like teen psychotherapy with a guaranteed happy ending.”