Friday, August 7, 2009

I wasn't planning on posting, but apparently I am now an insomniac and can no longer sleep like a normal human. Plus, the worlds of Writing and Film lost a wonderful talent today, and I am compelled to eulogize.

John Hughes was a genius, and Hollywood will be indebted to him for decades to come.

For those of you who aren't familiar, John Hughes pretty much created teen cinema. Everytime you go to the theater and see a film like "She's All That" or, more recently, "Nick and Nora," you are watching pale mimickries of the John Hughes formula. He was a "sometimes" director, but he was an "all the time" writer. Films that he wrote include:

Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
Pretty in Pink
Ferris Buller's Day Off
Some Kind of Wonderful
Weird Science
National Lampoon's European, Christmas, (and other) Vacations
Home Alone
Curly Sue
Mr. Mom
...and lots more

Looking back on his body of work, I can safely say that John Hughes' movies got me through different stages of my life. I was obsessed with Beethoven. Forced my mom to buy the VHS for my birthday one year: It was THE ONLY thing on my "list".

Before Beethoven, though, was Curly Sue. Curly Sue was one of the first "PG/non-cartoon" movies I ever saw in the theater. I was six and my parents took me because they were John Hughes fans.

And Home Alone. For me, the 90's don't exist without Home Alone. Even now, in old, independently owned movie rental stores, you can still find Macaulay Culkins' face on faded Home Alone posters above the check-out counter.

And then I hit puberty. But lo and behold, John was still there for me. I watched Pretty and Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles thousands of times. I knew each and every character as if they were a part of me. I saw pieces of myself in each of them, and when they laughed, cried, or cheered, I did too. Whenever Dirty Dancing would come on, I would gladly snap off the television and go do something else. But I would sit and watch TBS for hours if Molly Ringwald showed up. When Anna's parents and then her then boyfriend epically neglected her on her 17th birthday, I knew the remedy. She came over and we watched Sixteen Candles, and the world was suddenly better, brighter. To this day, we still say things like "Remember your horrible (it really, really was) birthday when we watched Sixteen Candles."

For this and other reasosn, Sixteen Candles is probably my all time fav. and about a year ago, I forced David to watch it. There are some things that are so much a part of you, that you have to share them with those close to you so that they can understand you a little bit better. So David watched it. And loved it. Laughed his ass off while I sat curled up next to him, watching his reactions, grinning and purring like the cheshire cat.

Even as recently as a couple months ago, I found myself still clinging to John. I had to go to a costume party where you dressed up as a cultural icon from the year you were born. Lots of things happen in 1985, but for me, only one thing really happened and that was The Breakfast Club. So, I went as Allison (pre-makeover of course). And even though I looked scary and had to explain to people who I was, I felt completely comfortable and happy to be walking in her ugly shoes.

It's easy to dismiss literature that colors the pop culture landscape as shoddy or not of the highest quality. But John Hughes really was a genius. He took classic romantic, political, and socio-economic story elements and re-fashioned them for a new breed of American teenager. His films are funny and smart and they will always, always be around.

John, you are loved and will be missed.

John Hughes, Jr. (February 18, 1950-August 6, 2009)

P.S. Fuck "The Notebook." Best. Kiss. Ever.

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