I tried, I really did, but I finally came to my decision: conclusion that I do not like John Hughes movies.
While this upsets my friends who so fondly organize Pretty in Pink parties, it upsets me even more because there is little in the film canon that is as waspy as a John Hughes flick.
Lest you think I came to this decision too hastily, I have tried several movies. There was “She’s Having a Baby” which should be named “She’s Having a Baby…in the last 5 minutes of this snoozefest, don’t even bother looking for the baby in the first 180 minutes of this thing or you will be sorely disappointed.” I also managed to get through..ugh…The Breakfast Club and…wait for it, yes I don’t like this one, either. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Why don’t I like FB? Because he’s an arrogant little shit…though if you look at my dating life, it seems to indicate that I really like arrogant little shits.
But I digress…I know people are supposed to like these movies. But every plot could be summed up with this tagline:
The Breakfast Club:
“My perfectly acceptable life could be way better if I made some very minor changes, but that’s too much work and not as sexy as f*cknig brooooooooding about it.” ***
(** Judd Nelson, you’re excused from this. Kevin Bacon, you are not!)
And, yes, I do get that not all of the film and TV that I loved in my childhood holds up today. For example:
- The Neverending Story. This movie will always be beloved to me, but after watching it as an adult, I realized…it’s not very good. (The “sadness of the swamp,” really Atreyu? And WTF does she yell at the end? And if there’s nothing left of the world, WTF are they standing on ?!?!) But I love it. Because it was dear to me when I watched it.
- Boy Meets World. Yes, it’s also full of broody teens, too, not unlike a John Hughes movie…but, but, but Sean was so dreamy!!…and he dated an Oreo! How could I not love it??
- Rent. When I saw this play at 16, I thought “F yeah! How dare those fascists make you pay rent!!” As a 20-something, I watched it and thought “Hmm, you know, you could get a job and write and paint at night if you’re having a hard time making the bills.”
So I get why people like the JH flicks…if I had seen them for the first time(s) when I was a teen and watching Brendan Frazier’s School Daze in back to back screenings, and not a few months ago when I’m well-past the broodings, I probably would have loved them, too.
Do you like John Hughes? Anything you can suggest I watch that might change my mind? Or any childhood faves that only stand your personal test of time and don’t actually hold up?
What I enjoy about the John Hughes movies (excluding She’s Having A Baby because I don’t do that sort of movie ever) is rooted firmly in the nostalgia of when I first saw them. Had I never seen them, I doubt I’d be able to enjoy them today.
As a pre-teen/teen, the idea of being able to blow off school for a day to go play with my best friends in the city sounded damn good. As an adult, Jeanie was obviously the more sympathetic character and Sloan is woefully underdeveloped. I won’t bother to talk about the issues of economic class and the lack of ethnic diversity because the movie simply can’t withstand that kind of scrutiny.
John Hughes did middle-class white American teens and he did it really well. To my recollection, which is not the best, he failed mostly by exclusion (of different ethnicities/classes/gender) than by inclusion (of stereotypes).
I’d rather watch Clueless, Empire Records and Heathers for my teen romantic comedies these days.
Meanwhile, what I loved best about Boy Meets World is how Cory and Shawn were the epic love story of that show and all the other characters seemed cool with it. 😀
One movie. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. If you don’t like that one, you won’t ever like anything of Hughes. Go try it.
Uh, hello, in The Neverending Story he clearly yells his mother’s name to the Childlike Empress and that name is “Moonchild”.
However, the book is still pretty awesome.
I felt the same way about The Breakfast Club (aka: Pretty People with “Problems”) and to a lesser extent, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (aka: Spoiled Kid Ditches School and Waxes Poetic While Taking Advantage of Others) when I first saw them too. Yet they both grew on me, eventually, and I just started to focus on what I liked about them. I suppose in part it’s because so many people love those movies that I thought it must be something wrong with my viewpoint for not liking them.
But it still annoys me that in The Breakfast Club the nerd ends up alone, his issues are never really resolved or taken very seriously, and the eccentric girl has to dress like a preppy girl for the guy to notice her (meanwhile none of the guys have to change at all, and Judd Nelson’s character never had to own up to being a dick).
I had similar thoughts with Grease! Sandy’s character arc ends with her dumping her sweet self and getting the guy by dressing in leather(?) Spandex (?) that might as well be body paint.