Friday, August 07, 2009

You Could Come Back Next Fall as a Completely Normal Person

It started for me with Mr. Mom--I know it's not quintessential John Hughes, but it was funny and it had kids in it. Besides Kramer vs. Kramer, it's the first movie I remember that had a working mom. My mom worked and much of our lives revolved around my little sister's woobie. Mr. Mom resonated. Plus, drying a baby bum with a hand drier--Like I suppose you've ever seen anything funnier.
Family is always important in John Hughes movies, especially bumbling imperfect ones. That was a big deal to me and to every tween or teen because we all think our families are bumbling and imperfect. For example, I recently heard my daughter speaking of me in hushed tones to her friend explaining that I didn't go to girls camp with the other leaders because I get really bad headaches and can't go. They didn't even need me to go! I didn't stay home because of my headaches. She thinks she has to make excuses for me. Sad. (But, I do get bad migraines so don't ask me to do anything.)

I grew up with all the other John Hughes movies: 16 Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful. We rented those movies but I remember seeing Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the theater. And I had my first post-modern moment when Ferris acknowledged that he was in a movie and we were in the audience and told us to go home after the credits ran. Remember last season when Lost's innovation with narrative blew us away by flashing forward instead of back? It was a little like that. Hughes' characters are the first I remember that were self-aware of that 4th wall--Brian and Duckie sometimes looked right at the camera. We were in on the joke with those geeks. That might be what primed us to accept Bill Gates and is probably why those of us who grew up on John Hughes love Apple so much.

I wouldn't say I grew up poor, but I hated richies. John Hughes taught me that it's ok to hate richies and also to have secret crushes on them and also that richies have feelings too. But most of all John Hughes taught me that some richies are simply jerks.

Before I get stymied by teenage angst, let's move on--as John Hughes did through all the stages of our lives. She's Having a Baby was a really wonderful movie. Who didn't rent it when they were pregnant with their first baby to horrify their husbands and make them love us more?

Guys, I'm as big a fan of the cancer dance on So You Think You Can Dance as the next sucker. But Tyce Diorio took advantage of my feelings for John Hughes. And that I resent.

He sure could throw a soundtrack together, no?


  1. I felt used after that Tyce piece (even though it was lovely).And yes, Mr. Hughes certainly knew how to throw a soundtrack together. I still get all tingly when I hear OMD's If You Leave.

  2. You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she's a whore.

  3. ~J, I kid you not, I think of that quote every single time I put on my makeup in the morning.

    Kacy, this was a great post, and I felt the same way about the cancer/oreo performance. Because if you don't cry during She's Having a Baby YOU HAVE NO SOUL.

  4. Wow. I've never seen She's Having a Baby, but I LOVED Kevin Bacon, so I don't know how I missed it. I nearly cried on the You Tube clip. Poor, sweet Kevin Bacon.

    Dear, sweet John Hughes.

  5. Now I want to watch every John Hughes movie ever made, but it's 4:30 in the morning so that's just the insomnia talking.

    However, I think I will start with She's Having a Baby.

  6. As the grown up while my kids were teens loving all the John Hughes movies, I just didn't get it. I saw parts of some of them when I went through the family room on my way to somewhere else, and I wondered what captured them so completely.

    Then I read all the tributes to John Hughes when he died - the reviews, the explanations, the reflections. So now I need to watch the movies, so that I can pass judgment with some merit.

    And I think I will probably enjoy the films. But I will let you know.

  7. And yet for me even funnier than the hand dryer baby bum was the universal truth:

    You don't feed a baby chili.

  8. All I could think of during SYTYCD was Kevin Bacon's teary eyes when he walks into her room. . .gets me, every.time.

    I totally remember the summer I memorized every single song on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack on my sony walkman.

    "If you want me, you can find me, left of center off of the strip. . "

    And I always want to call my vacuum Jaws.

  9. Completely in agreement. It (also) started for me with Mr. Mom.

  10. I think a John Hughes marathon is in order.

  11. I had no idea that National Lampoon's Vacation was written by Hughes. That is one of the great American movies, in my book. And Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off are all-time classics too. And Some Kind of Wonderful was very well done. He also produced Only the Lonely, which I loved. An unusually mostly serious John Candy love story that worked. So, wow! I'm sorry I didn't recognize this until he had died. But I did own the cassettes of the soundtracks for She's Having a Baby, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, and Some Kind of Wonderful, so I was unknowingly supporting Mr. Hughes in his further endeavors.

  12. You have a fan in Melvin.

    (and I really really liked this post)

  13. Did you leave out Uncle Buck?

    Because, John Candy. "They're uh... Larry and... uh... Larry and, uh... Uh... Betsy. Betsy, uh... Jennifer. Jennifer." always makes me laugh. (their names are Miles and Maisy in case you're unfamiliar.)

    I'm commenting so late on this.

    I love all JH movies I've seen...most of them. For some reason I really love Home Alone. Could be because I think I'm Macauley Culkin's age? But anyway I always laugh at the references to "richies" in Pretty in Pink, and also the version I saw of PIP all growing up was taped from TV, so there's one edited line from Steph, "You're a beast," which always got me laughing.

    I didn't see "She's Having a Baby" until I was pregnant with #2. But I did like it. Who couldn't like that Kate Bush song, or Alec Baldwin as the high-life jerky best friend.

    So many thoughts that so many people won't read on this old post.


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