We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.*

by DaniGirl on August 10, 2009 · 5 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything, My inner geek

I felt a pang of nostalgic sadness last week when I heard that film director and writer John Hughes had died in Manhatten. His movies were the backdrop and soundtrack to some of my best memories of high school and young adulthood, and his characters felt like people I knew — extensions of the loopy cast of oddballs that were my best friends in my late teen years. Hughes’ characters had an authenticity that resonated with me, and with my peers, in a way few other teen movies of the era captured.

Hughes was one of the first first directors I knew by name, the first one I felt spoke to me on a personal level with his movies (the other one that comes to mind is Cameron Crowe.) Aside from George Lucas, he’s the only director who has multiple representations in my meagre DVD and aging VHS collection, where The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and FBDO sit contentedly on the shelf beside old-skool Sesame Street and Muppet Show episodes, and well-loved copies of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Princess Bride and Bull Durham. Collectively, they remind me of the other lives I’ve lived… lifetimes away yet never too deeply buried in my psyche.

The Breakfast Club was *our* movie, back in those late 80s days where we roamed free into the territory of pre-adulthood. The dozens of quotes gleaned from the Breakfast Club were rights of passage into our circle of friends – populated mostly by the ones who never quite seemed to fit into any of the other cliques – and if you knew that the world’s an imperfect place where screws fall out all the time, you were welcome.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was one of my first real “date” movie, where a boy I’d just met that day came to my house and picked me up and drove me to the movies. Afterward, we parked at Springbank Park. For what it’s worth, it also happens to be the only time I ever cheated on someone — I neglected to mention to the guy that took me to the movies that I had an out-of-town boyfriend. Oops! Chalk it up to 17-year-old fickleness.

I loved She’s Having a Baby when I first saw it, but it was years later when we took a spin through the badlands of infertility and then into the mania of first pregnancy that the movie really spoke to me. Almost 20 years after I saw the movie for the first time, I bought a CD of the soundtrack when I found myself pregnant with Lucas.

And, now that I think of it, my second-ever blog post (a meagre 1,490 posts ago) made reference to The Breakfast Club, where I described my vision of the blog like this:

Do you remember that scene in The Breakfast Club, where Ally Sheedy’s character dumps her purse on the couch? Well, this is my invitation to you to see all the crap that I carry around inside my heart and head.

Yep, almost five years later, that still pretty much sums it up.

Thank you, John Hughes, for the characters and quotes and connections your movie brought to my life.

Got a favourite John Hughes moment or quote to share?

* The title of this post is a John Hughes movie quote. Can you guess which one without looking it up? It’s always been one of my favourites, because it is so very true, even half a lifetime later.

Edited to add: Through the serendipity of Twitter, I stumbled across this gorgeous, touching, very sweet and very sad blog post about one teenage girl’s pen pal relationship with John Hughes. Go read it. Now! If you’re at all a fan, you won’t regret it.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kate August 10, 2009 at 11:07 am

I’m lousy at movie quotes, even John Hughes movie quotes, but since I’m first to comment, I’m going to guess John Cusack’s character in Say Anything?

2 liz August 10, 2009 at 11:09 am

Breakfast Club. I’m pretty sure. And I’m pretty sure it’s Molly Ringwald who says it.

I love this post.

3 Annika August 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Del in Planes, Trains and Automobiles?

4 mrsgryphon August 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Definitely a Breakfast Club quote, just not sure if it’s Andrew or Claire that says it?!

I think I need to go back and watch some of the John Hughes films I haven’t seen in a decade or two.

5 DaniGirl August 11, 2009 at 8:03 am

It could be in just about any John Hughes movie, couldn’t it? I think it sums up John Hughes’ entire body of work — not to mention my own personal life philosophy! — rather succinctly. Mrs Gryphon came closest, it was Andrew in The Breakfast Club.

Kate, Say Anything (sigh – love that movie) was Cameron Crowe, not John Hughes. More trivia: as far as I know, the only time John Hughes and John Cusack worked on the same film was Sixteen Candles, where John Cusack had a small part as one of Anthony Michael Hall’s geeky friends.

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