Wednesday, August 22, 2012

John Hughes: Teenage Expert…better than todays teenage crap movies!

So I can’t take full credit for this particular idea.  It actually comes from two sources.  One is one of my favorite bartenders who made a very interesting Facebook post and the other from a friend of mine who had never heard of John Hughes, Weird Science, or the Brat Pack.  He’s young – but otherwise genius, so I don’t hold his age against him, but I figured I take this opportunity to bring back into the limelight John Hughes and his twisted, if not accurate, perspective of growing up in the 80′s…which, not so ironically, is pretty much the same as it is now.
So, I don’t know if my bartender friend would be happy with me smearing his name all over Dwaynes-World, so we will just call him Bob, for now.  If he says it’s okay, then I’ll update this posting later.  A few weeks ago, he posted the following on his Facebook…
“Every teenager should eject their Twilight or Harry Potter dvd, and watch every John Hughes movie ever made, then wonder why he read their minds.”
I found this very interesting because I had just watched Weird Science a few hours earlier and was commenting on my Facebook how awesome that movie was.  Then later the following day, I commented to my friend (lets call him Space Cowboy for now) that I had just watched Weird Science, and he looked at me like I just grew a second head.  He had never heard of it!  I threw out a couple of other titles…Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off…all I got was a blank stare.  I was shocked!  I couldn’t believe that he had never heard of these classic films!  Then I got to thinking back on Bob’s post…movies today that speak to the high school and younger crowd and that deal with life as a teenager or young adult are more the Harry Potter and Twilight type series…and are totally irrelevant.  (Speaking of Twilight, if you get a chance, check out this blog post from The Oatmeal on the Twilight films…you will be rolling!)  But I digress…

These titles…and life as a teenager themes…come from the brilliant writer, director, and producer, John Hughes (1950-2009), who managed to take what can be, for some, the most dreary times of their lives (and yes, puberty and high school sucks, no matter how much you dress it up with clicks, extra curricular activities, and coming of age success stories), tosses in a mix of comedy, and manages to throw the message out there without getting all preachy.  And the best part it – that message is more accurate that anything you get today!  Forgiving the 80′s hair doos, what is now retro clothing, and original versions of music that is nothing but remakes by untalented swill artist who can’t think of anything original to say today, most everyone can relate to some of Hughes genre of movie titles.

What made this series of films so great is the common cast the chose to play the roles of his tormented teenagers, who came to be known as the Brat Pack.  Among those labeled with this title (one that many were not happy with for details, read this wiki article), are Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Broderick, Jon Cryer, John Cusack, Jami Gertz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Sean Penn, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lea Thompson.

(The 80′s Brat Packers can be likened to the the late 90′s group of actors who often appeared in movies and themed films together.  This group consisted of Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, and even Stan Lee himself.)

My top 5 favorite Hughes films, and a must see for everyone, are

#5:  Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink. If you’ve never seen it, watch the trailer. If you have, watch the trailer. :D

So the story goes…A poor girl (Andie) must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart (Duckie) and a rich but sensitive playboy (Blaine).  Of course, Duckie, who is now just the best friend, is is still totally smitten (borrowed that word from Frenchy!) with Andie, and when she finally gets a date with Blaine, the man of her dreams, the social clicks are not too thrilled that they are together.  Of course, he makes all the right moves, but leads her to make the right choice…and, it all plays out on prom night, and well, I don’t want to ruin the film for you, but she has to make a choice…
I don’t know bout you, but there was always that “perfect person” that I was so in love with, that was hot, that I thought would make my life great, that if I could only be with them, then all my problems would go away.  And to make things worse, that person was totally unreachable.  Hell, that still happens today!  Meanwhile, I had that person I considered “my best friend” felt the same way about me.  But I never noticed my best friend…I was too focused on the untouchable.
It’s the same dilemma every person faces today…even those that are considered the untouchable.  The story hasn’t changed…just the clicks, and even then, the clicks are the same…just different people in the same spots.  We find that what we want, and whats best for us don’t always go hand in hand.  Or, even better, that what we get what we wish for, things aren’t as great as they seemed they would be.

#4: Weird Science

Along the same lines of hard choices of love…or maybe just fitting in, comes Weird Science.  Again…if you’ve never seen it, screw the trailer…go rent the damn movie!

Gary and Wyatt are a couple of best friends who want nothing more than to fit in.  Gary likes to think himself cool, but comes from parents who are raving old school, bible beating lunatics who have raised him to be a bit shy when it comes to taking a risk.  Wyatt spends more time worrying about what others are going to think always tries to live up to his families expectations, which he thinks he never does, and has an older brother who enjoys nothing more than making his life a living hell.  The thing is, both Gary and Wyatt spend more time trying to impress others, or do things they think will impress other, that they totally miss out on just being themselves.  So what do they do?  They use their smarts (yes, they are the not so typical nerds) and create the perfect woman, Lisa, out of an antiquated computer, a freak lightening storm, bras on their heads, and a barbie doll.  Lisa, who possess a unique perspective and some very unique “magic,” leads them on several adventures in an attempt to get them to learn that valuable lesson that many of us learn way to late in life – BE YOURSELF!  Again, not going to ruin the film, so you gotta go watch it!  It is WELL worth it!

#3: Sixteen Candles

16 Candles comes in third on my list.  Why?  Well, primarily, because it is funny as hell.  Especially the scene where Samantha gets felt up by her grandmother!  With this cutesy little story, Samantha is 15 years old, getting ready to celebrate her 16th, and her family is so caught up with whats going on, they forget (or she feels like they have forgotten) her upcoming birthday. At the same time, she is heads over heals with the most popular guy on campus (I mean, really, who isn’t!), while being pursued by the weirdest and “geekiest” boy at school.  To make matters worse, her older sister is getting married, and her family just inherited a foreign exchange student by the name of Long Duc Dong!!  This one is one of the funniest of the whole set.
And also, very relate-able.  I remember the day when I thought that my family either didn’t understand anything that was going on in my life or just didn’t care.  Even when they tried to show they cared, I just didn’t see it.  I even remember telling my parents there is no way they could understand, because apparently, they had been born parents and couldn’t see it from my point of view.  And every kid goes through that!  This movie is so much better about integrating this rite of passage than freakin Bella Swan and people not understanding her need to choose between a vampire or a dog!  Seriously!

#2: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

This flick is kinda out of the Brat Pack genre, but nonetheless is one of Hughes better films:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

  So Ferris is the typical slacker guy at school, more interested in having fun than getting his education.  He has had his fair share of trouble (mostly with skipping school), and his goodie two shoes sister wants nothing more than to bust him (hmmm…just realized that Phineas and Ferb might have picked up a plot line from this movie…but I digress).  Before graduate, Ferris decides to have one more grand slam day, and ditches school.  After an elaborate set up to skip out, he convinces his parents of his illness and they let him stay home sick.  Instead, he borrows a Farrari, and parties it up.  A baseball game, a parade, you name it, he did it.  And his principal is in tow the whole way (along with his tattletale sister), trying to catch this well known school skipper.  Has a great ending, and snappy little commentary from Ferris himself throughout the movie, and in the end, even the tattletale sister ends up on his side.  But, wait, won’t say more.  Catch the film.
So this one is all about how to skip school.  Not really, but it still has the standard Hughes teenage commentary about overbearing parental unit cruelties that we all thought were just to be mean as well as that social status seeking that we all went through.  And it is way more realistic than Mean Girls (social status seeking), Bring it On (cutesy cheerleader drivel), or Harry Potter (cruelty from the adults…though, it did turn out to be a great drama).

#1: The Breakfast Club

And my top John Hughes film choice is…. The Breakfast Club!

  This has always been one of my favorite all time films.  The focus of this flick – clicks!  (ha!  nice rhyme!).  This film focuses on a group of high school students who are placed in Saturday detention (OMG – we needs bring Saturday detention back!!!!!!  This in school suspension crap doesn’t work) for their various “crimes” in school.  There is the popular, rich girl princess; the geeky, straight A student; the oh, so handsome jock; the pot head, bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks; and the creepy, weird girl that no one gets (what today is called Emo).  First and foremost, I think that Ally Sheedy played the BEST part in this movie – especially when they had lunch!.  Anyway, these 5, who would have nothing to do with each other during normal school hours because it is a crime to cross click lines in the high school hallways, hafta deal with a demented (and I think slightly emotionally and mentally worn out due to working in education for too long) principal, who goes out of his way to catch them doing something they aren’t suppose to be doing while in detention!  And, of course, they spend their time trying to get away with everything possible!  During the process, the realize that they have more in common, and even put aside click lines and learn a little about why they are the way they are!

I loved this because I belonged to the geeky, straight B, outcast, wrong side of the track, poor country boy click when I was growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated the fact that my family didn’t have the money to buy the name brand clothes or buy me a car (I rode the bus) or that I wasn’t on the football team, and I would never get a chance to be in the popular crowd because I just didn’t measure up in high school click terms.  HOWEVER, looking back, I grew up a better person not belonging to those crowds!  And I love my parents for all they did give me and I wasn’t a spoiled brat, though my mom (and maybe my sister and brother) will say different from time to time.  The look at clicks in the film are classic and right on the ball.  Today’s films tend to focus on the popular click, and don’t even bother to go outside the hallways, much less into the lives of the people who belong to the popular clicks.

So there it is.  My count down to the best of the best of the John Hughes films.  Do yourself a favor.  Forget all that crap you see today.  It is so fake compared to these films that it isn’t even worth it.  Plus, you will get to see some funky hair doos, hear original versions of songs, and see what it was like to really grow up…not get hand held through our teenage years like most high school students do today.

Lets have John Hughes movie night!!  Who’s down?

Just Sayin.

Comments to original post 

Jeremy Wayne Monett · ITT Technical Institute
You can't do John Hughes without doing The Great outdoors.Planes trains and automobiles, and Uncle Buck! Particularly Uncle Buck.
  • Dwayne Isbell · Registrar at ITT Technical Institute, East Campus

    True, but I was focusing more on the John Hughes life of a teenager neither of those you mentioned would fit in. Maybe I will do a total tribute to Hughes later, and do an overall top 5.
  • Mark Harmon · San Antonio, Texas

    Especially Ferris Bueller...
Roman A. Guerra · English Teacher JV Baseball coach at Edcouch-Elsa ISD

that if I could only be with them, then all my problems would go away....was it a Freudian slip that you said, "them" LOL.
  • Dwayne Isbell · Registrar at ITT Technical Institute, East Campus

    Possibly...I had alot of crushes in HS!! :D. What can I say ... :)
Christopher Mendoza
haha I have seen sixteen candles and ferris buellers day off :P I'm not that bad haha.
  • Dwayne Isbell · Registrar at ITT Technical Institute, East Campus

    Yeah, but you didn't know Weird Science....but I called you a genius, so its all good. :D
Bethany Faulkner
Hey, Mean Girls was pretty good if you had ever been a girl in High School! Otherwise, you have, as always, outdones yourself!

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