Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My High School Years and John Hughes' Films

So I leave town for a few days, and I find out that John Hughes passed away. When I heard the news, I saw flashes of "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty In Pink," "Weird Science" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in my head for the next few days.

Those movies were so central to my high school experience. Molly Ringwald and I are the same age, and I loved the fact that her characters and I were in the same year of high school each time. I was totally taken in by the world Hughes created. I finally understood what my older cousins felt when they talked about their love for the movie "Cooley High."

I remember clamoring for the soundtracks from the movies, because Hughes had the best taste in music (Thompson Twins, Psychedelic Furs, New Order, INXS, Echo and the Bunnymen, Wang Chung, The Smiths, and of course Simple Minds, just to name a few). My love of Suzanne Vega, for example, begins with "Left of Center" on the "Pretty In Pink" soundtrack.

Like the girls and closeted gay boys around me, I wanted my own "Jake Ryan" from "Sixteen Candles." My friends were a combination of the "Brain," "Princess" and "Athlete" from the "Breakfast Club." And who did not want Cameron's house from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off?" I wouldn't have minded Cameron either.

Though Hughes also wrote "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Home Alone," both incredible films, it was Hughes' perspective on the American high school that will be his most significant legacy. I feel privileged to have been there to see it on screen first hand, and I will be having a little Hughes movie fest really soon (I'll make sure to have some wine coolers for the occasion).

Here are some of the tunes of the time, and may John Hughes rest in peace:


Anonymous said...

Free, it's funny cuz, back then, this s--- was WAY too 'white' for me and my friends, who were white. Hey whatever floats ur boat.

hscfree said...

It was like a multicultural crew that went to the movies as a group to see these flicks when I was in high school. And we definitely talked about the lack of black folks, but we all (the black folks in the crew) saw ourselves in there anyway.

It was the same way when we all piled in to see "Krush Groove." We were a strange group, and most of us are still friends to this day.