Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Hughes R.I.P.

I'm just naming my favorites here:

Pretty in Pink
The Breakfast Club
Weird Science
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Sixteen Candles

There's nothing I could add that hasn't been written about John Hughes over the past week. But I'll say this. Until John Hughes came along, no one made movies for teens. And certainly not movies about contemporary teenagers specifically for teenagers. I can only think of George Lucas's American Graffitti, Saturday Night Fever (1977) and of course, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as two before John Hughes. But Lucas' movie was in 1973 and set in the 50's. So, really only Rebel and Fever. That's a long time before anyone realized that an entire generation existed without a voice in cinema.

There's no one who spent their teenage years in the 80's who could deny the influence of those movies. The Breakfast Club taught us that we're all the same insecure and frightened teenagers under all that bluster and bravado. Ferris Bueller was the smart kid who was cool because he was free of everyone's rules and opinions, and not a typical jock or caricature nerd. Andie making her own prom dress and Duckie in vintage in Pretty in Pink - that is fashion.

And though I hate to admit it, Andie kissing Blane in front of that 3 Series? Made me equate BMWs to girls forever.

Just look at the casting, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer - yeah they were really white and really surburban, but none of them with classic Hollywood-ready looks and all of them had something for each of us to relate to.

We all loved the movies.

And for a generation of moviegoers, one man was largely responsible for making us feel like we were all in it together and perhaps we were not so different after all. And with a little courage and a little luck, we could be who we really were and possibly even succeed in love and life.

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are.

You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.

But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain,
and an athlete,
and a basket case,
a princess,
and a criminal.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club.

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