Saturday, August 8, 2009

We are Generation X: John Hughes - RIP

Forget Douglas Coupland, for better of for worse it was John Hughes who defined our generation. Slackers, preppies, jocks, geeks, punks and even the undefinable outsider had a place in Hughes' world. Before my world of film ballooned into a something much larger, and admittedly much more ostentatious, Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) were perfect films due to their perfect moment. And like all movies of a generation, that perfect moment is completely age subjective. For me, it was the heart of my high school years with those films spanning ages 14 - 17.

It never struck me at the time that an adult, 20 years my senior, was drawing such thoughtful sketches of characters my age. It was less about 'liking' these movies, and more about accepting their situations and individuals as a small step away from my own. I ignored that they were Hughes' creation by hating Clair for turning Allison into a Barbie Doll, or longing for Watts and Amanda to have their magical moment instead of Watts and Keith. For many of the actors in these films, this was their time to shine. Although they have popped up in surprising places over the past 20 years—Anthony Michael Hall in Six Degrees of Separation, Ally Sheedy in High Art, Molly Ringwald in Office Killer—I could never see any of these actors outside of the 'Hughes context.'

Because all interesting clips of Hughes' films seem to have been taken off Youtube, here is something that will always be connected to John Hughes and my high school years:

3 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I nearly blogged about this too, even though I am a booky. These were the movies of our time, weren't they? They DEFINED the '80's. I adore The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller (just rented that for the kids a couple of months ago, and they loved it...promoting bad behavior, that's me). This was a guy in touch with his inner youth.

Daniel Getahun said...

Well I was still a young boy when these were released, but that doesn't mean they were any less enjoyable as I watched them growing up (along with all of the other classic films Hughes wrote, but didn't direct).

I still consider The Breakfast Club one of the best films of the 80's. Nobody would dare make a "teen" movie with that much dialogue and that little sex and stupidity these days.

Kathie Smith said...

You know, I haven't watched any of those movies since High School, and I'm kind of scared to. I don't want to turn my critical (jaded) eye on these films that have such a great nostalgic value for me, but you're right about Breakfast Club. It's pretty unique.