Saturday, August 8, 2009

R.I.P John Hughes

On Thursday (or yesterday to Australia and countries of alike time-zones), the writer and sometimes director of 80s hits The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty in Pink passed away. I think it's safe to say that he will be remembered for a long time coming and several of his films are already (cult) classics.

After watching Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club somewhat back-to-back a few years ago, I became pretty inspired by his writing style and his ability to get somewhat into the teen psyche. His films have such memorable moments--has anybody forgotten the Twist and Shout parade in Ferris Bueller's Day Off? In his films, you have your moments of pure elation and then your moments of angst and awkwardness--opposite emotions blend together, just as they do in real life. His films are also like a time capsule of the 80s--capturing the hideous and out there clothing and hairstyles and the sometimes electro, sometimes rock-edged music of the time. Hate that decade or love it, the 80s made a statement.

My favourite film of his is The Breakfast Club. It's a film that shows that in high school, people are put into groups (I don't think here in Melbourne, cliques are so clearly defined, but groups exist nonetheless) and you have an expectation to uphold the 'rules' of the group--you can't step outside of it, or else you find yourself in social exile. In the film, an interesting circumstance occurs whereby five teens from five different cliques find themselves in detention. At first they hate it--they've nailed it into their brains that they're too different from each other to get along, just as high school culture has dictated to them. But as the film unravels-alas!-they share emotions, they can identify with each other. And through bonding together, they realise, that nobody really belongs in a cookie-cutted group--they've compromised themselves in some way to belong. For one day in detention they see themselves as they really exist-as individuals (not stereotypes). It's a complex film that benefits from an exploration under the surface.

R.I.P John Hughes, you live on in celluloid.

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