Thursday, August 6, 2009

That's a major appliance that's not a name RIP John Hughes

Growing up in a lily white suburb of Cleveland his movies were a window into hipness, for a 15 year old kid they were everything, cool music, hip girls that seemed attainable, his influence is all over the last 20 plus years of modern culture, walking down the street tonight to the hipster coffeehouse i saw John Bender, Claire, Andie, Duckie, Stef, Alison, Blaine, Ferris, Cameron, Samantha, Jake, Farmer Ted, even Sloane, they were everywhere, from the way they dressed to the way they acted, the archetypes of John Hughes films, it's shaped us kids who are now adults, i don't know how many times i've described a certain female in a bar as a character from one of his films, in my job now as a glorified light bulb changer i've quoted Carl the Janitor, when i've encountered rich douche bags i've often called them Blaine and if they were pricks Stef, if this is more about me than Mr. Hughes it's because it's really about John Hughes and the impressions some of his movies left on me as a young kid...

Sitting in the living rooms and basements of Parma, Ohio and watching those films over and over wishing to be Duckie or Bender or Ferris, hoping to someday just be the slightest bit fucking cool, trying to date not the cheerleader but the weird girl from art class or the girl in the drama club, parting my hair on the side which back in the suburbs in 85 and 86 was a massive fashion statement, hearing the Smiths and New Order, the Psychedelic Furs and Echo and Bunnymen, realizing there was more to music than what was on commercial radio, developing my own taste with the help of Mr. Hughes, as Ben Stein said he was the Bill Shakespeare of suburban white kids, discovering that my city had cool record shops where i could hang out, buying thrift store clothes, my black overcoat and army jacket, my penchant for flowered shirts, fucking paisley for fuck sake, shiny black leather shoes, wingtips and then hitting 19 and going to the clubs and bars that so much resembled the places where Andie and Duckie might hang out, going to parties and staying out all night and scraping change to eat in dive diners at 4am coming down off the high of being young and broke and happy with just the right amount of melancholia and heartache, his movies gave us working class white kids a place to feel comfortable even if we didn't always like the endings, i mean i'd rather Duckie got Andie than a young Christy Swanson even though someday she would be Buffy, in a way it was his movies that steered me towards certain art and literature, the music that he exposed me to led me to delve deeper into the world of underground art, helped me to realize that it was okay to be myself as so eloquently stated by Brian Johnson at the end of the Breakfast Club...

Of course if i took my fashion sense from Duckie and my pot smoking from Bender i think a good chunk of my attitude in high school was adopted from Ferris, never joining a certain clique but being able to get along and be accepted by all of them, a trait that would help me immensely as i wandered towards adulthood and bounced from place to place, learning to feel comfortable in my own skin while accepting people in theirs, so thank you John Hughes and go easy, the debt alot of us kids now adults owe you is immense and i for one appreciate the way you entertained me and taught me some things at the same time, all with a killer fucking soundtrack to boot.
for further reading check out the Toxic Towers

3 comments:

daisyfae said...

he did a beautiful job of making us dorky, outsiders feel just a little less lonely... i missed this era by about 5 years, but enjoyed his flicks and his characters resonated with the twerpy adolescent fat chick that's still at my core...

Rassles said...

Dude, who wishes to be Duckie?

Kono said...

There is something oddly appealing about the Duck-man, every teenage boy recognizes that Duckie's passion just might get us somewhere we just don't exactly know where that is.