Posted by: Andy | August 7, 2009

Don’t you, forget about John Hughes – 80’s Brat Pack creator dead at 59

1950-2009

1950-2009

Last year we suffered a tragic loss. Director Bob Clark and  his son died in a tragic drunk driving accident on a quiet winding California road at the hands of  a random sloshed cretin. Most of you will be asking yourself (while searching IMDB) just who Bob was. Certainly not a household name, he provided us with two of the most defining and influential films of the 80’s and our pop-culture universe. That being the sex fueled teen indie hit Porkys (1982) and the now cult Holiday classic A Christmas Story (1983)

Porkys spawned two sequels and up until recently was the highest grossing Canadian produced film of all time (unseated in 2006 by Bon Cop, Bad Cop) It can be argued that  it birthed the  80’s Teen Sex Comedy genre and also actually launched, Kim(Sex and the City) Catralls career. (I still give points if you thought it was Mannequin)

A Christmas Story (1983) is now legend. Name me another film that is played 24 hours strait by a major cable network on any day, let alone Christmas. It’s A Wonderful Life, the Wizard of Oz, The Grinch who Stole Christmas? Nothing can touch this film and the cultural impact it has amassed over the years since it was released. I challenge you to find someone from the 80’s or any decade who can’t recite specific lines from this film on command. I triple dog dare ya.

Being a child/teen of the 80’s there are certain films that defined me and my ever growing appetite cinema in this decade and I can attribute this to a handful of directors that have since been forgotten. Bob Clark was one of them and today

I was sadly reminded of another who has passed on.

John Hughes passed away today at the age of 59 from an apparent heart attack while strolling in Manhattan. Like Bob Clark, Hughes slowly and silently drifted away from his 80’s heyday and limelight to find smaller victories and the 90’s and then an almost self imposed obscurity. For Hughes apparently it was by choice.

Believe it or not kids – teen angst existed even back in the 80’s, before it mutated into the grungy smell of teen spirit in the 90’s or the self aware, depreciating mulling emo of the new millennium.

John Hughes owned the teen angst market in the 80’s. The director, writer, producer, wunderkind had a Midas touch when it came to spinning tales of adolescent relationships that rang true with the intended demographic. We lived and breathed his films because they weren’t tarted up,90 minute music videos vaguely disguised as product placement consumerism at it’s finest. For a director to get that across in the decade where MTV broke and Regan ruled it was one huge accomplishment.

With Molly Ringwald, as his ginger muse starring in three of the most popular, enduring and recognizable films in his repertoire, (Sixteen Candles 1984, The Breakfast Club 1985 and Pretty in Pink 1986 ) he elevated a geeky, gawky, pale, small breasted red head into the echelons of  the Hollywood elite.  Can you see that happening in our current era of the Hills and Gossip Girl?  To put it in real perspective – John Hughes was responsible for Molly Ringwald appearing on the cover of Time Magazine.  His films rivalled the cultural impact and frenzy of  the Harry Potter or Twilight films. Whether it be from immersing himself in the teen life-style / culture along with his casts or having a sixth sense on how to pick songs that made for a signature anthem, Hughes had managed to crack the code so many before him could not.

Any creative genius that can turn John Cryer or Anthony Micheal Hall into Teen Beat Supernovas  should be noted for a lifetime achievement.

Aside from the Molly Trilogy, a quick look at his Filmography basically defines the 80’s and with it many seminal cinematic landmarks everyone has seen at least once (much, much more if you have TBS)

I’m not sure about you but I’ve taken much away from each of his films where he may have directed and/or written. Here is a brief synopsis of what I credit a few of his  films with teaching me in my formative years..

Sixteen Candles: That quirky, nerdy chicks are the hottest and realizing the name “Long Duk Dong” will get a laugh every time.

the Breakfast Club: The deliciousness of a Captain Crunch and Bologna sandwich.

Weird Science: There are never any small roles starting out in Hollywood as Bill (Titanic, Near Dark, Aliens, Big Love) Paxton playing a big pile of Poo (aka Chet) proved.

Pretty in Pink: Believe in who you are and where you come from and everything will turn out ‘Ducky’

Ferris Beullers Day Off: That occaisionally playing  hooky was a neccisity for a teen in mentally surviving High School life.

Some Kind of Wonderful: Sometimes it’s been right there in front of you all the time. (It’s amazing how many times I’ve forgotten that one)

Christmas Vacation: Move far, far away so relatives can’t visit.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Pay it Forward. Oh and try not to wash your face with used underwear.

the Great Outdoors: No matter what someone says – do not attempt to eat an entire 45lb steak in one sitting – including the gristle.

Home Alone: Abandoning your children without supervision for long periods of time will not result in any type of criminal charges or a visit from social services.

I ecourage you to revist any one of John Hughes films today and relive a world where Nerds, Jocks, Outcasts, Populars and Freaks could all find common ground.

A no, Big Brother on CBS doesn’t count.

Rest in Peace Mr. Hughes.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. great read once again, keep it up!

  2. Evilpez,

    fantastic parallel between these Hughes and Clark. I happened to work with Bob Clark for over a decade and he was more than just a mentor, he was a great friend. I made a docu on his life and works that will be coming out this fall and thought this may be of interest. see: http://www.clarkworldfilms.com or on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ClarkWORLD/118614874048

    thanks again for writing such a wonderful piece.

    ~DA

  3. Every 80’s refernce made me chuckle. Never knew who these gentlemen were…now I do!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: