Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Nowhere Else to Go

So I sit down in front of the old TV today and Top Gun is on AMC and I remembered a brainwave I had some time ago. Unfortunately for you people I’m going to share so sorry, but I live with this shit going through my head all the time so just feel lucky you’re not me.  So this particular crazy thought came a few months ago when I watched An Officer and A Gentleman for the first time.  You remember the movie, Debra Winger, Richard Gere, didn’t get along when they were filming but had awesome chemistry onscreen.  Anyway, I realized, when I was watching this that it basically has the exact same plot as Top Gun.  It’s not even a little bit different.  Richard Gere and Tom Cruise are basically the same character they both have a best friend that is both a little wacky and keeps them in line.  They both date a girl they aren’t really supposed to date.  The best friend dies.  There’s a mentor type of figure who is hard on them because they’re so good. 

Then I realized that really there were, with very few exceptions, only four kinds of movies in the ’80s.  The Top Gun type of movie, which also includes the likes of Urban Cowboy (think about it, it’s got an almost identical plot).  The Dance Movie:  perhaps the best thing to come out of the ’80s (besides yours truly).  This includes Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Footloose, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (starring Shannon Doherty, Helen Hunt, and Sarah Jessica Parker…this one’s a gem), etc.  Then we’ve got the Sexual Thriller:  Basic Instinct, Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction (so only one of these was actually made in the 80s, but I still consider them 80s movies…deal with it).  And then there’s the teen movie:  Mostly John Hughes, this includes The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller, Valley Girl, etc.  
So what?  Well I find this interesting seeing as the ’70s is seen as a sort of renaissance in filmmaking and acting (hello Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Love Story, The Godfather, The Graduate, etc).  Then we had the 80s which produced numerous memorable movies, and many favorites of people, but nothing all that astonishingly good.  The 80s was followed by another renaissance in the mid-90s.  One can only presume that this mid-90s renaissance (personified by Quentin Tarantino) was sparked by the formula heavy 80s. 
I know this rant doesn’t have much of a point, but then, do I ever have a point.  Just something to think about.  Have a good week everyone.
Peace, Love, and 80s Movie Magic,

Julia

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January 14, 2008 Posted by | Hollywood, John Hughes, Movies | Leave a comment

Now this is a Story all about How….

Sorry ’90’s kids, I just got that stuck in your head.  And for those of you who aren’t ’90’s kids, well you missed out.  Don’t worry, you will find out the top 1.5 movies of Julia’s favorites, but I’ve been pondering weak and weary on this subject for a few weeks now and thought I’d let you in on the crazy wanderings of my freakish mind.

It all started one day with a little R.E.M. song called ‘Losing My Religion.’  I was driving to Booksoup and Losing my Religion came on the radio.  Suddenly, goosebumps sprang up all over my body.  Now, this is something that is not all that uncommon.  It happens during great scenes in movies (in fact, that ‘I too can command the winds sir’ speech in the trailer for the new Elizabeth movie gets me good), it happens during great scenes in T.V. (the Ross and Rachel break up in Friends gets me good), and it happens especially in great theater, I erupt in goosebumps at least five separate times while watching Les Mis, and Rent, well, it’s embarrassing.  But it’s never really happened during a song I’ve heard eighty million times, and one that’s not connected to some sort of story line.  My mind had been sort of orbiting around a concept, but I hadn’t quite put my finger on it, until that exact moment.  The moment R.E.M. gave me goosebumps, it all slammed together in my head.  I think that ’90’s kids (a.k.a. Kids who grew up in the ’90’s so were born in the early ’80’s) have it made.  We’ve got the best deal.  I mean, we grew up at a time that had the best of everything. 

Think about this.  We are young enough to remember Bush the 1st and we were born when Reagan was president, but the president we truly remember throughout our childhood was Clinton.  We grew up when health consciousness was strong, but not crazy like it is now.  I mean, we didn’t have atkins or south beach when I was a kid.  You just ate your veggies and your parents kicked you out of the house to play after school.  We grew up before the great germophobia happened.  I mean, most kids today are weak and sickly because their parents are constantly squirting that anti-bacterial shit on their hands.  I ate dirt.  I fell out of trees.  I broke toes like they were going out of style.  And now I’m sick maybe once a year, if that (and last time I was sick it was food poisoning).  I mean, we had the good cartoons, we had the good music, we had the good movies, we got to see what a real president is like.  That’s right, I’m going out on a limb and saying it.  The 1990’s was the best time to be a kid (and a young adult)…and here’s why…

Like I said, we had the best cartoons.  Now those of you that grew up in the Looney Tunes era may fight me on this, but trust me, ours were better.  See we had the Looney Tunes.  We got to see Bugs and Daffy and Road Runner and Coyote, but we were also born into the Era of Nicktoons.  That’s right those of you younger than I.  I remember when Nickelodeon first came on the air.  I remember the advertising for Nicktoons (before they ever aired) and best of all, I remember the delightful sunday mornings (that’s right SUNDAY mornings) when I sat and watched Nicktoons.  Some of you, I’m sure, are wondering, what the hell is she talking about nicktoons, what are Nicktoons?  Ah, yes.  Well, Nicktoons gave us gems like Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, Doug, Aaah! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and Hey Arnold.  These were truly great cartoons.  I mean, sure Spongebob Squarepants is great, but he’s got nothing on Ickis, Oblena and Krumm from Real Monsters.  We also had the non-Nicktoons, that were awesome.  I mean, when I got home from school there were Animaniacs with Pinky and the Brain, there was Batman the Animated series, there were Gargoyles.  It was a good time for cartoons.  Plus, as we grew up, we got the good adult cartoons.  I mean, we were around when the simpsons started (and was great), but we also got Beavis and Butthead (the music video portion is still, arguably, the best critique on music video to date), we had Aeon Flux (please don’t watch the film, it’s horrible and nothing like the cartoon), and my personal favorite (also my halloween costume this year) Daria, who came from Beavis and Butthead and got her own show.  Basically, Daria was me in high school.  She hated everyone, she was smart so everyone hated her, and she just wanted to get the hell out of there, but she was super witty and awesome and I love her.  I was also in love with her best friends brother, Trent.  Trent is the only cartoon I’d ever consider sleeping with.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he sparked my own sexual awakening…is that wrong?

So that settles it then, ’90’s kids had the best cartoons.  But it wasn’t just cartoons, we had the best television in general.  When I got home after school, I watched Blossom.  Who can forget the beautiful denim hats with a huge flower on the top (pre-sex and the city huge flower accessory, hmmm, wonder where they got that idea from?).  Plus, Blossom always talked about the real issues, her boyfriend hit her in one episode, her brother was a recovering drug addict.  These were real issues, it wasn’t that ‘Leave it to Beaver’, ‘My Three Sons’, ‘Brady Bunch’ kind of crap.   When I got home after school, I watched Full House, the Fresh Prince (the theme song is the beginning of this email, and everyone my age can sing the entire thing.  Don’t ask unless you really want to hear the whole song, but I will sing it for you) and Family Matters, sure they didn’t deal with issues (not big ones anyway), but they were great for their time.  The early ’90’s was the hey day of TGIF.  For those of you who don’t know, this was the ABC friday night extravaganza.  When I was 11, this was the thing to do on Saturday night.  This is when Full House would air new episodes, but it was also home to Boy Meets World, Mr. Belvedere, Step by Step, Family Matters (remember steve urkel), and eventually Sabrina the Teenage Witch (oh, Melissa Joan Hart, please come back to work).  And by the mid-’90’s Friday night was X-files night.  I mean, what other generation can claim that these were the shows we grew up with.  Of course, I’m leaving out the golden two and I’ll get to those now.  These were the shows that every single person my age knows.  Even if you didn’t watch these shows, you couldn’t really escape them. 

Drum roll please (they get their own paragraph).  They were Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210.  Oh, my little ’90’s girl heart still gets all twittery when I think about Zach Morris (I was a Zach girl), Dylan McKay and Brandon Walsh.  I scratch what I said about Trent the Cartoon being my sexual awakening…Luke Perry with his James Dean haircut and that rocking Porsche was the real moment I first said, ‘Woah!’  I still, to this day, want a porsche or a mustang because that’s what Dylan McKay and Brandon Walsh drove, respectively.  I don’t know if that’s great product placement, or a symbol of how imprinted those fictional characters are on my soul.  Storytelling, be it books, movies, music or television, has always been my kind of religion.  I go to these media for solace, to feel less alone, to experience things I have never and may never experience.  And 90210 was my first foray into the Television aspect of storytelling.  It was my first television addiction, the first show I couldn’t miss.  And even though I started watching it in the third grade, all my friends were exactly the same.  It was our version of water cooler chatting, we had the swingset chats about Brenda, Brandon, Kelly, Dylan, Donna, Steve and David.  Sometimes Emily Valentine.  And eventually Valerie Malone.  Oh yes, Tiffany Amber-Thiessen was the goddess of the early ’90’s.  On a side note, she came into the bookstore once and I got so excited my palms started sweating.  I mean, she was Kelly Kapowski, the good girl who loved Zach (who didn’t?) on Saved by the Bell, and then was Valerie Malone, the resident bitch after Brenda left on 90210.  And what a beautiful reign it was.  Saved by the Bell, though super entertaining now, was the show that everybody watched.  We watched it on Saturday mornings like we were at temple.  And boy did we love it.  The thing that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that ’90’s kids still know the plot lines.  And I don’t mean big plotlines like Who shot J.R.?   I mean like the stupid little, only happened briefly in one episode plot lines.  We still quote it.  Saying ‘I’m so excited’ to a ’90’s kid does not, in our minds, end with, ‘and I just can’t hide it.’  No no.  It ends with ‘I’m so excited.  I’m so excited.  I’m so scared,’ from the episode where Jessie gets addicted to caffiene pills (becuase they couldn’t use real drug references on the show).  We remember the words to the music video Zach, Slater and Screech were in.  These were shows that had an impact on the whole of the youth of the ’90’s.  Like I said earlier, even if you didn’t watch them, you still knew them…you still know them.

Now, it’s a little bit harder to argue the movie aspect, because, in truth, ’80’s movies are hard to compete with, as are the classics, but the ’90’s were a renaissance in film.  I mean sure there are iconic movies in every decade, but usually they are iconic of that decade.  Movies like Valley Girl or  are iconic of the ’80’s but a lot of people I know have never seen it.  Just as the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies are iconic of the the late ’50’s/early ’60’s.  Sure we all know this, but really, when’s the last time you popped in Pillow Talk?  Basically, what I’m saying is that there are certain periods when a whole mess of movies come out that become iconic.  And they seem to come out around the same time.  The late ’30’s/early ’40’s saw ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Gone with the Wind,’ and ‘Casablanca’ (among others).  The Late ’60’s/early ’70’s saw ‘The Graduate,’ ‘Easy Rider,’ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde.’  The ’80’s had John Hughes movies and ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’  The ’90’s had ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ ‘Titanic,’ ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Ghost.’  And in the ’90’s there was a distinct shift within the business of making movies.  Because in the ’90’s we were introduced to the concept of the Independent Movie.  Nowadays we take this for granted, but sometime when you’re bored go on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website and look up past oscar winners.  Now, I’m not saying that any of these movies were bad, but before about 1994 movies were nominated based on their box office appeal moreso than their actual status as great movies.  I mean, Chariots of Fire won over On Golden Pond and Reds.  This all changed in 1994.  Now, I’m not saying that the Academy doesn’t still pick blockbuster movies, but times are definitely a-changing.  I didn’t just pull the date 1994 out of my ass; a very important thing happened in 1994: PULP FICTION hit the ground running in 1994, and it completely changed the face of film.  Bob and Harvey Weinstein became underdog heroes for financing and distributing this movie (and they were very daring to allow Tarantino final cut on the movie…that would never happen now).  Pulp Fiction opened the flood gates and by the late ’90’s independent movies took up 2 or 3 of the five best picture nominees (in 2005 all the films nominated for best picture were independent films).  Now I would never ever say that The Usual Suspects, Pulp Fiction, or any other indy movie of the ’90’s are better than other decades movies (in fact, many of the indy movies blatantly steal from older movies…think American Beauty with Sunset Boulevard), but I’m just saying we’re a pretty lucky crew, us ’90’s kids.  I mean sure, we had Titanic (the highest grossing movie of all time.  Please, we all saw it in the theater multiple times), but we also were privy to a revolution where talent and quality filmmaking won out over box office success. 

Now one area where I think we ’90’s kids lost is in literature.  There are some notable exceptions: My favorite book of all time, ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,’  for instance.  We also had Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, and John Krakauer, but really there are few notable, will last for a long time, kind of books that came out in the ’90’s, the first few Harry Potter books are a giant exception, but we’ll see how their staying power is.

The penultimate category I’m going to cover is other crap.  In other words, all the little things.  As I mentioned earlier, my mother never had antibacterial purel stuff, and it is my opinion that I’m all the healthier for it.  Now, I have no facts to back this up, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I mean I bled for hours from my nose before my mother took me to the emergency room for them to tell me I had fractured it, and maybe that was irresponsibile, but I thank my mother for doing that because it made me tough and strong and independent, perhaps to a fault.  And maybe that example is strictly personal, but it seems that with this, as Barry Glassner calls it, ‘Culture of Fear’ that we live in, it’s getting harder and harder to steer away from overprotectiveness and irrational fear.  But it’s not just this other crap…I’m taking the plunge, I’m saying it.  We had the most awesome toys of any generation.  Now, hear me out.  We had all the soon to be confiscated toys: Slap Bracelets, Pogs, etc.  We had the Bedazzler, we are just old enough to have puffy painted our keds and to have worn gigantic shirts and tied them at the side with that plastic dohickey (or for those of us who didn’t have the puffy painted plastic dohickey, we tied our shirts with scrunchies).  There are embarrassing picutres of us with crimped hair, but we were not old enough (or long enough in the ’80’s) to have done anything crazy embarrassing, like dress like madonna in everyday life, or have an actual flock of seagulls haircut.  Sure we wore overalls with one strap unhooked and our backpacks over just one shoulder, but I never wore a polyester jumpsuit or a turqoise puffy sleeved prom dress with a side pony tail.  So I’ll give you the fact that I wore ripped jeans, doc martens, and flannel shirts (I’m wearing one right now actually), but ’90’s fashions were never, and I mean never, as embarrassing as ’80’s fashions or disco fashions.  Yes, once again we ’90’s kids scored.

So I’m going to round out this tome with the subject that started it all:  MUSIC.  Yes, music is the glue of the ’90’s kids world.  Because we, like the generations before us, but unfortunately not the generation after us, were blessed to grow up with great music.  We started life Like a Virgin with Madonna, and by the time we were growing into our own muscial tastes we had a spectrum to choose from.  Guns N Roses was the band of 1990/1991 (and anyone who doesn’t love Appetite for Destruction, I can no longer talk to) but my first real love was actually hip hop.  I know, I know, the past 12 years of my life have been dedicated, almost exclusively, to rock of all kinds, but I was a street little 10 year old and I loved Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle (of course, I was too young to know what either of those titles meant).  Plus, we had the whole, T.V. music tie in on one of my favorite episodes of 90210, when Brenda, David and Donna go to a hotel and meet Color Me Badd.  Oh yes, it still gives me shivers.  I always laugh when I think of the fact that I was 10 and singing ‘I wanna sex you up’ at the top of my lungs.  And, of course, let’s not leave out Boyz II Men (abcbbd) and the Motownphilly.  But the end of my hip hop road came along with a blonde guy from seattle named Kurt Cobain.  Yes, we ’90’s kids not only saw the birth of hip hop, we also saw the birth (and death) of grunge.  We were the grunge kids, dancing in the mosh pit, coming as we were, we smelled like teen spirit.  But only for a few years, before we were crushed by Kurt’s death.  I still remember that day as one of the worst of my life.  It was the first celebrity death I ever cried at (the only other was Joey Ramone).  But Kurt brought out the whole seattle scene.  I mean, Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, it was just a great time for music.  And even the poppy crap was still good.  Smashmouth, Blink 182 (the early stuff), Sugar Ray, I mean, who didn’t just want to fly in 1998.  Plus, we had Sublime, Weezer, No Doubt (circa Tragic Kingdom), Bush (god I loved Gavin Rosdale), the Sneaker Pimps, Porno for Pyros, it was just a great time for music.  The likes of which can only be compared to the late 60s/early 70s.  And because we weren’t involved in anything like Vietnam, our music of the ’90s was about society and how messed up it was/is.  We didn’t have to protest a stupid war back then, so we could focus on ourselves, on our problems.

And that is why being a ’90s kid is the best thing ever. 

Peace, love, and Yo homes smell you later, I’m off to sit on my throne as the prince of bel-air,

Julia

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Books, Hollywood, John Hughes, Movies, Music, Oscars, Quentin Tarantino, Sex and the City, Television | 1 Comment

Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop and Look Around Once in a While You Might Miss It.

So I’ve been reading this book called Don’t You Forget About Me.
Basically, it’s contemporary writers talking about how the movies of
John Hughes changed their lives.  When I saw it at the bookstore, I
totally freaked out.  I mean, John Hughes movies defined much of my
youth and now these people, who are no doubt, more eloquent and
thoughtful that I am are writing about John Hughes.  I bought it right
away and got to reading.  I was about five essays in when I
realized…I can write a better essay about John Hughes than this.
They were all superficial, save one about the virgin/whore (molly
ringwald/ally sheedy) dichotomy.  None of them said anything all that
profound.  Needless to say, I was dissappointed.

Now, for those of you, who, unlike me, are not completely crazy and do
no aspire to be writers, you may not understand the need to write
essays.  But I assure you, though I never thought I’d assign myself an
essay after college, I can now think of nothing I’d rather do.  So
here it goes…How John Hughes changed my life.  By Julia Rose
Callahan

I guess we should start at the very beginning (a very good place to
start).  My first John Hughes movie, which also happened to contain my
first celebrity crush, came out when I was about seven years old.  A
little film called HOME ALONE.  That’s right, Macaulay Culkin alone in
the house, beating the crap out of Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, plus
Catherine O’Hara and John Candy…can’t go wrong.

The thing about Home Alone was that it actually empowered the kids.
In a time when we were dealing with Richard Allen Davis and Polly
Klaas, a film where kids took control and fought off a potential
threat, was actually a very positive (though perhaps a bit too
hopeful) role model for young kids of my generation.  It gave us hope.
 This was really some of the first we were hearing about what
potential threats could be for us as youngsters and Home Alone showed
us that we didn’t have to take it lying down.  John Hughes was the
Leni Reifenstal of our generation (Leni Reifenstal with a much more
humane message, and without all the Nazi hoopla).

Mr. Hughes and I took a little break until my early adolescence.  When
I was in Junior High, my mom used to do this thing where she would go
to the video store on her way home from work and pick out movies.  It
always bugged the crap out of me that she did this because I didn’t
want to watch the movies she picked out (of course, they were
inevitably all great and I always loved them, but still…).  So one
Friday night my mom brought home a movie called The Breakfast Club,
and my life was forever changed.

These kids were me.  They felt what I felt, the dealt with the same
crap I dealt with.  I knew them.  And I knew assholes like Principal
Vernon.  Needless to say, all of us at a certain age have felt awkward
and out of place, even the most “popular” people have, at some time,
felt like they didn’t belong.

I really think the thing that got me about The Breakfast Club is that
I was a little of each of those people.  It didn’t matter what labels
they had, they all had similar problems.  I mean, who isn’t a little
bit of a basket case sometimes?  Ally Sheedy’s character most
resembled who I was when I watched that movie.  No, I wasn’t eating
Cap’n Crunch, Mayo, and Pixie Stick Sandwiches, but I was a total
loner, with few friends and no real way to relate to most of the
people I was in school with.

But a little part of me was Emilio Estevez as well.  I mean, I wasn’t
wrestling or really playing any kind of sport (except basketball), but
I knew what it was like to be under so much pressure you would do
anything to alleviate it.  I, like Emilio, blamed my parents, but
unlike Emilio, I did realize that I was actually the one putting
pressure on myself…his parents were actually putting pressure on
him.

This is also how I related to Anthony Michael Hall.  He gets an F in
shop because he can’t make a fucking lamp.  I never got an F in
anything, but I understand the sentiment because in my house a C was
like a D, which was like an F.  So if I got a C, I actually got an F
and then bad things happened.  And let’s face it, who hasn’t thought
of killing themselves (I mean, not necessarily with a flare gun).  Who
can’t relate to his plight, especially in High School?

Judd Nelson (who I met on Saturday, and who might actually be crazy)
was the Criminal.  He came from a broken home and acted out because of
it.  Now, my family was normal (well, not normal, but my parents are
semi-sane and still married), but I did act out because of certain
things.  I actually acted out because of all the pressure I felt.  Was
I as fucked up as John Bender?  No.  But I could relate to wanting to
act out.

I guess the person I related to the least was Molly Ringwald, but her
story includes the most pertinent/poignant part of High School life,
especially for women.  She’s the center of the Virgin/Whore dichotomy.
 Now, any UCSC people want to kill me because it seems like every
class you take at Santa Cruz (be it Chemistry, Feminist Studies, or
Underwater Basket Weaving) someone always has to bring this up.  I
think that now (thank you Sex and The City) we’re moving a little bit
away from that, but in the ’80’s it was still going strong.  In the
big moment where Molly Ringwald screams, ‘NO, I NEVER DID IT!’  She is
really screaming out of frustration.  What is she supposed to do.
She’s a prude because she’s a virgin, but if she wasn’t a virgin,
she’d be a whore.  As a modern woman, I ask, who hasn’t felt this way?
 You’re in your 20’s, you’re sexually active, you get drunk, you have
a one night stand, you inevitably feel slutty.  Sure your friends, who
have all done the same thing, assure you that it’s okay to just have
sex, but you can’t help feeling a little slutty…this feeling is even
worse when you’re younger (please don’t read into that…or do,
whatever).  It’s funny because I was watching the Breakfast Club last
night and I actually totally relate to Molly Ringwald’s character now.
 But, when I first saw The Breakfast Club, it was a different story.

So The Breakfast Club, in its more serious look at High School power
dynamics and sexual proclivities, introduced me to the concept that I
still carry to this day.  High school sucks, or as Angela Chase puts
it in My So-Called Life, ‘High School is a Battlefield for your
heart,’ but it’s also where you learn to survive in life.  It’s where
you learn to deal with pressure and lonliness and sex.  It’s a place
where you can make mistakes that (hopefully) won’t haunt you for the
rest of your life.  It’s a place where acting out will get you
Saturday School, but maybe you’ll meet people who are going through
the same things you are.  Maybe, you’ll stop seeing people in the
simplest terms and the most convenient definitions, and figure out who
people really are.

Plus, it’s got some of the best quotes in movie history.  So just
remember that screws fall out all the time…the world’s an imperfect
place and always remember to show dick some respect.

Where the Breakfast Club deals with the more serious, real problems
behind High School kids and the politics they are forced to adhere to,
Sixteen Candles deals with the most talked about problems in High
school…boys, dating, and being the middle child.  In one of my all
time favorite movie lines ever, Molly Ringwald sums up the plight of
the middle child ‘THEY FUCKING FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY.’  Her delivery is
impeccable, her expression is priceless, and the sentiment behind it
is so much more that a simple declaration of a forgotten 16th
Birthday, it’s a battle cry.  She’s not fucking around anymore.

I think Sixteen Candles is the most accessible of the John Hughes
Movies because, on the surface, there is not that much darkness in
this movie.  Unlike the Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink, Sixteen
Candles doesn’t tackle suicide or deadbeat parents.  It doesn’t tackle
all of the pressures of high school.  It does tackle boys and dating
though.  And, for anyone who has lived through high school, we know
that this does take up a lot of time and energy where you’re a high
school student.

Sixteen Candles is the fantasy that we all want.  The hottest guy in
school (who also happens to be two years older than us) decides to
drop his shallow hottie of a girlfriend and date the frumpy, sophomore
who has more going on in her head than in her bra.

Now, let’s be realistic, even if Jake Ryan dumps the dumb blonde and
dates us, the movie ends before happily ever after falls to shit.
Because in reality, Jake Ryan goes to college and starts hooking up
with the college girls and his high school girlfriend gets left in the
dust.

And let’s take out the if.  From my high school experience, people in
high school are, on the whole, too superficial to ever dump the hot
blonde with huge boobs.  Would the real life Jake Ryan have sex with
Molly Ringwald?  Yes.  Would he date her? No.

But that’s why we love John Hughes, right?  He gives us hope.  Sixteen
Candles is the Sleepless in Seattle of high school movies.  In
reality, this scenario would never ever work, but we can dream.  So I
guess we owe John Hughes a little thank you for getting us to dream.
(we also owe him a thank you for casting John Cusack who then went on
to star in Say Anything…lord love Lloyd Dobbler).

When I was in middle school and our shop teacher would be out for the
day (usually to surf because it’s Santa Cruz and he’s a professional
surfer), we always got to watch a movie.  One name always sprang up
and one day we got to watch it; it was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  And
my life was never the same.  I never heard Danka Shoen the same way.
I never saw Leiderhosen in the same light.  I never could listen to
Twist and Shout without wanting to be on a parade float in Chicago.

Sure, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is every kid’s fantasy.  A day off
where you do anything and everything.  Not the harsh reality of
ditching class where you just go and do the same thing you would do on
the weekend.  Beach, watch t.v.  maybe, once or twice you might have
snuck off to San Francisco on a self-appointed day off, but never did
a day of ditching class ever lead to anything as awesome as Ferris
Bueller’s Day Off.

While, on the surface, the film is just a fun romp, we actually dig a
bit deeper into the psyche of high school through the role of Cameron.
 Cameron is one fucked up kid, he’s got asshole parents who ignore him
and by the end of the movie he’s primed to stand up to them (only
after crashing his dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250GT California).  Cameron
becomes his own man after a day off with Ferris.

Did this movie effect me in the same way that The Breakfast Club did?
No.  But it’s still one of my favorites, and still gives hope that we
can play hookey and have the time of our lives.

The last of the John Hughes films that I saw was another of the darker
ones.  Pretty in Pink tackles the class divide in high school.  Later
explored in much more depth in a little show called Veronica Mars,
Pretty in Pink was really the first to explicitly portray the Rich vs.
Poor divide so prevalent in many high schools.  I guess my high school
was a little better with this divide than most because I never really
noticed that big of a divide.  Maybe that was because we were divided
(as most high schools in the Santa Cruz area) by race.  Though, once I
saw Pretty in Pink, I did start to notice that the people who drove
brand new cars all seemed to hang out together.

Of course, I’m sure that divide is much more prevalent in places like
Los Angeles or San Francisco or New York.

Of course, as a total nerd magnet, I think that Molly Ringwald
should’ve picked Ducky instead of Andrew McCarthy at the end (which
was the original ending) but Ms. Ringwald didn’t want that to happen.

It actually gives a good message that she ends up with Andrew McCarthy
because it does sort of show that class divides can be overcome, but
really, he treated her like shit and he doesn’t really deserve her.

Anyway, I set out trying to show how John Hughes Changed my life.  I
don’t know if that was achieved.  I guess it’s harder than it looks.

Peace, Love, and John Hughes,


Julia

June 14, 2007 Posted by | High School, John Hughes, Movies, Sex | Leave a comment