Thursday, August 06, 2009

Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.

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.

16 comments:

Lockwood said...

I had no idea he was so young... what a loss.

Arkonbey said...

That sucks. Funny, his films are lightly mocked as quintessential 80s fare. They were, but as you mentioned, they were just a little bit more than that.

Übermilf said...

I also like "Uncle Buck."

Due to my particular place in the high school hierarchy, I really understood the Anthony Michael Hall character.

But that was the point -- they were all "stereotypes" but there was so much more to them, but all the outside world saw was the stereotype.

For instance, to look at the Ally Sheedy character, adults might say she's a loner. Yet she went to that library that day to AVOID being alone.

True, that movie resonates with people in high school, but I think it also resonates with adults by saying "Remember? Remember what it was REALLY like? Remember how you really feel under the persona you've created in order to survive in the world?"

Dr. Zaius said...

Save Ferris Bueller!

Randal Graves said...

The Breakfast Club is a goddamn masterpiece and if anyone says otherwise, I'll get John Bender's dad to burn a cigarette in your arm.

Dean Wormer said...

Lockwood-

Yup.

Arkonbey-

In some ways his flicks were more theatrical plays than movies. The Breakfast Club in particular was pretty much all in one location and carried through dialog. I bet they couldn't get that movie made today.

Ubermilf-

Uncle Buck is another great film of his.

For instance, to look at the Ally Sheedy character, adults might say she's a loner. Yet she went to that library that day to AVOID being alone.

Hey, that's right! She wasn't in detention she just showed up. I'd forgotten that. BTW: I love the scene where Emilio Estevez sees her after she's been made up.

True, that movie resonates with people in high school, but I think it also resonates with adults by saying "Remember? Remember what it was REALLY like? Remember how you really feel under the persona you've created in order to survive in the world?"

I read somebody comment somewhere about how they loved the movie when they were a teen but that the movie didn't hold up well and they were ashamed of liking it when they were younger. Sheedy's line from the movie popped into my head: "When you grow up, your heart dies."

I'm not saying it's the best movie ever but if your one of those people that don't find it at least a little bit moving I'd politely suggest that the problem may be more with you than the film.

randal-

That's because you're a neo maxi zoom dweebie.

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Lockwood said...

Victor- do you enjoy spam? I don't. If Dean has any sense of justice, and I think he does, he'll delete every single one of your advertisements. Piss off and let the grown-ups discuss things that disturb them: children butt out.

Ricky Shambles said...

You look at a film like The Breakfast Club then a movie like She's All That - where the main character just had to have a makeover and change her personality before people saw she was beautiful - and you can understand why Hughes vision was so powerful and true.

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