I made three movies with John Hughes; when they were released, they made enough of a cultural impact to land me on the cover of Time magazine and to get Hughes hailed as a genius. His critical reputation has only grown since he died, in 2009, at the age of fifty-nine. Hughes’s films play constantly on television and are even taught in schools. There is still so much that I love in them, but lately I have felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life: where they came from, and what they might mean now.
This was such an affecting piece.
I have trouble recommending and sometimes rewatching movies from my youth. Watching movies from 80s in my childhood helped me realize I was part of the “others” and not the mainstream, especially John Hughes work. However, there are definitely overtones of an era that was fraught with issues. Looking to Hughes’ work today and sharing his films with newcomers comes with a huge caveat, “I don’t condone everything in this.”
I’ll leave you with this anecdote. My dad jokingly said that Animal House was required viewing before heading off to college, but I didn’t take him up on his recommendation until last year. Animal House does not hold up for a lot of reasons, mainly a scene where a bunch of guys are chuckling about their date raping habits.
I have to wonder if a recommendation of a Hughes’ movie would’ve elicited a similar response if they weren’t already engrained in my cultural lexicon.