According to the school calendar, summer is ending this week, proving there is a God and He does, indeed, love me.
My firstborn will start eighth grade Thursday, having officially become a teenager over the summer, an event I greeted with mixed emotion. Aside from wondering how she could be so old while I am not, I am concerned about her development as she leaps into her formative years without the cinematic guidance of Gen X’s social guru, John Hughes.
Those who came of age in the 1980s know exactly what I mean. I am talking about the man who made weekend detention look as cool as taking a day off from school, who raised the bar for every girl’s 16th birthday to include a Jake and a cake and who unmasked Eric Stoltz as not only a brilliant actor, but a hot one, too. Amanda was an IDIOT.
What does the PG-13 group have now? Vampires? Werewolves? Puh-lease. I have seen more “Twilight” trailers than I care to admit and have yet to feel compelled to pick a team.
Not that our movies would be any more believable today than theirs are. Everything has changed. Kids don’t talk, they text. They don’t use hairspray, they use product. And they have never looked up anything in an encyclopedia.
Andrew McCarthy would never use a school computer now to flirt with Molly Ringwald, he would Facebook her. But James Spader would comment, photos would be tagged, and things would be complicated well before she made her own prom dress. And today’s helicopter parents would never own a Ferrari — and a teenager — without also owning a GPS, making it impossible for Ferris to take it joy riding in downtown Chicago without getting caught.
Anthony Michael Hall and that other guy would never let a hottie like Kelly LeBrock shut down today without programming her first to seal the deal; and “Mr. Mom” is more accurately called “Dad” now.
Maybe they don’t need him. Maybe Hughes and his genius that took an entire generation on vacation, both to Wally World and abroad, on planes, trains AND automobiles, would only be wasted on the new teens so inundated with political correctness that “No more yankie my wankie” would more likely induce a boycott than a chuckle.
It might seem that way, yes, but I believe a few universal truths still stand, which is why I would like to see a John Hughes film study added to the curriculum of every junior high and high school in America. Because …
“Each one of us is a brain … and an athlete … and a basket case … a princess … and a criminal.” (“The Breakfast Club”)
“If you give off signals that you don’t want to belong, people will make sure that you don’t.” (“Pretty in Pink”)
And finally, “Yup, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you might miss it.” (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”)