Legendary writer, director and movie producer John Hughes would have turned 63 next Monday. When he passed away in 2009, Hughes left an entire generation in mourning. No one in Hollywood understood Generation X like Hughes did, and his films reflected his youthful, almost adolescent spirit, resisting at all costs the temptation to filter my generation's angst and loneliness through the eyes of an adult. He "got us" at a time when few others did.
And for a solid decade, Hughes could do no wrong. Regardless of the commercial success (or lack thereof) of his films, Hughes created a series of classics that an entire generation took ownership of, from The Breakfast Club to 16 Candles to Weird Science. Each of us, at least in my own clique, strove to be the coolest and most-popular kid in school who was able to drive a bevvy of interest from the other sex, but the reality was that most of us were nerds like Farmer Ted, uncomfortable in our own skin. When presented with a real female our dialogue cracked under the pressure.
Hughes is best known for the teen trilogy; The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. However, he either wrote, produced and/or directed a number of other iconic films from the 80s and 90s, for which he is perhaps less known. That list includes: Family Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Weird Science, Home Alone, Pretty in Pink, Uncle Buck and Mr. Mom. Unbeknownst to our parents and children, Hughes had an effect on them as well.
I thought it fitting that we honor John Hughes's birthday a bit early, on Valentines Day, simply because his films inspired a generation of youth to look at love in a different way -- that our presupposed judgments of each other no longer had to stand in the way of chasing a girl, or boy from a different clique. 16 Candles made it okay for the nerd to chase the pretty girl, and also made it cool for a normal girl from the suburbs to date a country-club jock.
The Breakfast Club took this breakdown of stereotypes to a whole other level, knocking down the romantic barriers between jocks, nerds, gothic mods, preppy, popular girls and even the guy from the other side of the tracks, while at the same time acknowledging that all of the chosen stereotypes serving in detention that day carried overwhelming stress related to their parents' expectations, strict rules and even abusive behavior. The pressure to live up to the image each character had created for him/herself was palpable.
And then Ferris Bueller made it okay for teenagers to be "bad" for a day -- to take a break from the pressures of the daily grind to enjoy our surroundings, our friends and our youth. In fact, one of the most iconic sound bites to emerge from the movie was, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
In celebration of Hughes's birthday, I offer the following list of my five favorite quotes from his films. Take some time today, or this coming weekend, to explore the Hughes's film library and to stop and look around. Smell the roses.
1. "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." - The Breakfast Club
3. "Those aren't pillows!" - Planes, Trains and Automobiles
4. "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
5. "Well, my nuts are halfway up my ass, but other than that, I'm perfect!" - Weird Science
What were your favorite movies and sound bites from the Hughes collection? Comment below to engage in the discussion!
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