I shudder at the fact that FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF is celebrating it 25th anniversary as of June 11, 1986…that’s this past weekend, folks! I was a mere Junior in High School when I ran to my local theatre to catch this film its opening weekend! With wonderful memories and echoing laughs from the past, I would love to pay tribute to a man who gave us many laughs, many tears and loads of entertainment!
Hughes was not stingy with his unlimited fountain of entertaining screenplays. He would allow his scripts to be directed by new and upcoming talent. Such writing credits of Hughes that should be recognized are EUROPEAN VACATION (1985), PRETTY IN PINK (1986) and SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (1987).
I can remember the first time I saw "The Breakfast Club" being in 1985 in Trafalgar Square,
My teenage years ended and adulthood began rather quickly for me. I got over "geekdom" and really have not found the subject worth visiting for well over 20 years. Thus, what I yearned for and rather expected on screen began to change - dramatically. I am not sure that Hughes ever really had much of an impact on me after about 1985 and here's why:
After "The Breakfast Club", it is a reach for me to find any significant film that he made which had any impact on me personally. "Ferris Bueller" was a hit, but as far as I am concerned, Broderick should stick to the stage and not film. The movie was cute and fun, but that's the extent of it. It does not shock me in the least to see it come on TBS or TNT 20 times a year. However, to ever find this flick on TCM or AMC would be a long shot.
"Vacation" and the rest of the
During the late 1980’s, John Hughes would "bless us" (sarcastic) with movies as you mentioned, Jer, such as: PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBLIES (1987), SHE’S HAVING A BABY (1988) and the enduring UNCLE BUCK (1989). These however are not "classics" and in no way, shape or form resembles what a "classic" film should be. What makes them classics? The performances were bleak, the writing was thin, the humor was short-lived and complexity of character was void. Character development rarely happens in John Hughes films unless we talk about his work pre-1986 and that might be limited to one film. I am utterly confused....
I know that you are an avid fan, Jer, of the work of John Hughes. I also know that his films meant a great deal to you and to others and that his passing away a year or so ago was quite saddening.
Art remains subjective and I respect your opinions and feelings regarding his works. However, I must remain true to my own opinions as well and critique this director as I would any other.
John Hughes, as you can tell by now, is not exactly high on my list of directors. I find his work forgetful and uninspiring. I find his characters to be thin and devoid of complexity or motivation. I find his directing style to be commercial and once too often done. Hughes had a habit of repeating his genre over and over. As a director, the bottom line is that his work was marginal at best and I am not sure it even reaches that level. I can only think about two movies that I would ever think of re-visiting: "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club". My question is what happened to Hughes after that?????
JER: My definition of “classic” in the sense of certain films of John Hughes, is that they are memorable and impactful… both for within its time and the generations that followed. Classic, to me, is that it has stood the test of time. The films speak from a very 80’s representation: its music, its clothes, its hairstyles, its language but moreover, for the fight of every teenager’s rightful place in society is also represented within the silliness and humor portrayed from within.
Yes, none of the films mentioned can stand along side what others perceive as “classic”- titled films like GONE WITH THE WIND or SOUND OF MUSIC, however, every generation tries to find its voice from within the use of film. Did we not once have REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and did it not speak to its generation about the life and times of its generation? Didn’t EASY RIDER do the same? What about AMERICAN GRAFFITI or GREASE?
I would like to believe and argue my point as these films rightfully belonging in the ‘classic’ naming for what it meant to grow up as these films were being released. In the 80’s, Hughes kicked off the genre of teenage films…although other writers were looking to add more raunchy humor and nudity (PORKY’S, THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN) and soften the ‘life lessons’ that maybe Hughes was trying to convey in his writing and directing. Hughes is not Orson Wells or Cecil B DeMille…but his archive of stories and characters definitely made a stronger impact in American pop culture than maybe other films that have won Best Picture! Do not forget that I included the word ‘contemporary’ prior to the word classic, thus underlining a newer kind of cinematic acceptance.
Now, let’s address the actors, JC… the actors proved to be exactly who they set out to be. Sometimes over-the-top, sometimes bland... but very real…or identifiable, is the best word needed here. Broderick, Ringwald, Cryer and even Culkin served their duties by acting in memorable moments captured both in the minds of fans and on film to last a lifetime. Maybe their careers aren’t thriving by today’s standards, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t carve a big wedge out for the roles presented and forever remembered for… just like a good John Hughes film should be remembered for! The dialog wasn’t Shakespeare, but it never set out to be.
Well, as I dust off room on my mantel for my upcoming Emmy, we close another counterpoint bout! What are your thoughts? Any special memories that these films conjure up for you or do you share JC’s point of view? We always welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you so much for your feedback! Tune in next week when JC takes the pilot’s seat and flies us over uncharted cinematic territory…until then, we will SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY!