When I was younger I dreamed of being a movie director. In an effort to break into the business I did some PA work for a while working on a low-budget kung-fu flick and then a few national car commercials (which paid much better than the kung-fu flick in that they paid at all.) I gave it up after I interviewed for job on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film they were shooting in Oregon and they wanted me to work for free. I'd been there, done that.
One of the reasons I wanted to direct was that I was such a huge film fan myself. There are tons of moments that I can think of growing up watching movies - when Luke Skywalker grabs Leia and swings across that chasm in the Death Star or the Little Tramp dreams that he entertains a gaggle of lovely ladies by doing the Dance of the Dinner Rolls or E.T. says a heart-wrenching goodbye to Elliot and his family - that have seared into my brain and actually moved me.
There are rare films in which the film itself have affected me so intensely that they've caused me to reconsider my worldview. Movies like Oliver Stone's "Platoon" which bored into my head it put the world into a different relief.
One such film was John Hughes' classic 80's flick "The Breakfast Club." I distinctly remember this movie being advertised as a teenage comedy with shots of the wacky teenage main characters as they slid around the empty halls of the school trying to avoid Mr. Vernon or doing an Egyptian dance in the library. The film was funny, sometimes bitingly so, but it was also a lot more.
Breakfast Club focused on a theme that Hughes would return to again and again: that we're much more than what our social status, dress or looks would define us as. Even the jocks or princesses in our society can be weird, even the geeks and oddballs can be beautiful. You judge others superficially at your own loss.
To a shy teenager seeing this movie it was like being hit with a sledgehammer. This was not the movie we were expecting but it was so much better. If you had tried to convince me after seeing Breakfast Club that the man who created it wasn't secretly in fact a pimply faced sixteen-year old I would've laughed in your face.
It's funny because I just showed this movie to my kids a couple of weeks ago and my sixteen-year old daughter was just as moved as I had been years ago when I had first seen the film twenty-five years ago. The clothes and some of the language may be goofy but the message of the movie is just as powerful. Some things never change.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of other Hughes' flicks that I think are great- "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Weird Science," both of which made stars out of their principles.
RIP John Hughes you magnificent bastard. There are a lot of hacks making movies but very few geniuses like you.
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