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“Life moves fast…”

hughes

John Hughes’ world of Shermer, Illinois was a microcosm of place and time you either knew or wanted to be a part of. It’s comfortable familiarity mixed with the pop edge of the time was a shock to the system in a celluloid atmosphere filled with movies like “Porky’s”, “Hardbodies” and “Hot Dog : The Movie”. Who on earth knew teenagers living in the Reagan excess of the 1980’s had thoughts beyond the next girl they were going to bag or how they were going to get the best keg in town? John Hughes to me had a rebellious streak in him towards the mundane in life that he was never able to shake, and thus expressed via humor & humanity in his films until the banality of the industry he worked in became too much for him. He had a deep understanding and respect for teenagers, and as Judd Nelson said after Hughes’ passing, he treated them not as children but as developing adults. That respect he showed made his target audience look at themselves and each other differently and more highly of themselves through his movies. When Ferris Bueller takes the day off from school to enjoy a beautiful sunny day with his friends, just like any working adult needs to do once in awhile, it resonated with an entire generation. When Andie fell for Blane in “Pretty in Pink” or Keith fell for Amanda Jones in “Some Kind of Wonderful” it showed kids were already looking past their parent’s comfort zone of whom they should fall in love with or even associate with. When big bully Andrew Clark shows his vulnerable side along with all his other detention-mates in “The Breakfast Club” it brought to light that despite their surface differences they realized they all had more in common with each other through the stories and experiences they’ve had than they could have ever imagined. Like most towns and cities, from the outside looking in it’s safe and normal, but digging deeper the people are far more complex, their stories are vibrant, the soundtrack to their lives is far weirder than the average radio station and everything is better because of it all. Turn on cable and flip around the stations and if you come across a John Hughes movie it becomes very hard to change the channel again. His movies are funny and intelligent, existing in a world of bright lights, incredible music and a positive view of the generation that lied ahead. Despite the greatness of the 80’s in my view, it didn’t have a lot of voices, but John Hughes was one of them. He wrote “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Weird Science”, “Pretty in Pink”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Planes Trains & Automobiles”, “Shes Having A Baby”, and “Uncle Buck”, all of which he directed except for two. His list of accomplishments is much longer, but these are “quintessential John Hughes”. They may not be “Apocalypse Now” or “Gone With The Wind”, but they are of a greatness all their own for which they will live on for generations to come. As he wrote for one famous character, “Life moves fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In my view, American cinema should consider John Hughes as one of it’s most influential and important directors. Rest in peace, Mr Hughes.

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