I am a child of the 80s, and although I got to enjoy some of the perks of the decade, including the introduction of Care Bear‘s and My Little Ponies, I was a bit too young to enjoy all the cinematic masterpieces that came out during that period.
However as the 90s reared its ugly head and shell suits and house music became all the rage, stations like BBC1 showed a good backlog of these gems on Friday and Saturday nights. And it was on one such Friday evening that I was introduced to the genius that is John Hughes and frankly the best film he has ever written and directed, The Breakfast Club.
The Breakfast Club could be considered the teen film that all future teen films were based on. You have your motley crew of characters – The Jock, The Princess, The Nerd, The Odd Girl Out and The Trouble Maker – thrown into a situation they normally wouldn’t find themselves in. And by the end, after some soul searching and in the case of this movie, busting some 80s dance moves, everybody is friends.
So far, so schmaltzy, right? But there is something that is endearing with this movie and it is the fact that Hughes knew how to speak to his audience. He didn’t patronise or push through some kind of moral message, he just dealt with the hidden emotions and issues that most teenagers went through and are still relevant today. I refuse anybody not to be moved by the scene in which Brian ‘The Nerd’ confesses he is in detention because they found a gun in his locker because he is depressed over his grades; in today’s world this is more relevant than ever.
After watching The Breakfast Club I had to get my hands on anything else Hughes had done and thankfully, with help from the ex-rental video shop that was near to where I lived, I was able to get some more gems including Pretty In Pink (girl from wrong side of tracks meets rich boy from the ‘burbs), Sixteen Candles (girl has crush on boy she thinks is out of her league but isn’t), Ferris Buller’s Day Off (unbelievable cool guy takes day off school) and Weird Science (so-called geeks make the perfect woman with a massive computer and a Barbie doll); what other movies could compete with those in the early 90s?!
Hughes was box office gold in the 80s and early 90s. His films not only gave the world the so-called ‘Brat Pack’ but also comedy gems such as National Lampoon and Planes, Trains And Automobiles as well as writing and producing some of the biggest box-office hits of the decades including family favourite Home Alone.
In 1994, Hughes retired and although he does pop up occasionally as a writer on various projects under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes, he has never got back behind the camera and I think cinema is the less for it. So here’s to you, Mr. Hughes. After all, we’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.
Check back on Thursday, when Carley salutes John Hughes’ Weird Science…
And check out, from the Den Of Geek archives, our Ally Sheedy interview here.