Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, August 10, 2009

We won't forget about you,John Hughes

Late last week,some sad and startling news rocked the world of many folks who grew up with the likes of Ferris Bueller and Samantha Baker as their role models when the announcement of director John Hughes' death was made known.

While Hughes also worked on films for adults(Planes,Trains and Automobiles,Mr. Mom,Maid in Manhattan)and grade school children(Home Alone,Curly Sue),his teen focused films,which gave a stylized savvy to the usual dose of adolescent angst on screen,are the ones that left an indelible mark on not only movie history but pop culture as well.

John Hughes was a writer as well as a director and producer,which made certain films such as Sixteen Candles,The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off a true enough glimpse into his take on life as it was for teenagers back in the eighties that still reflects a sharp image for those of today.

Hughes' films have influenced many entertainers and artists within his lifetime,making clever conversation cool for the gang hanging out at Dawson's Creek as well as Buffy and her Scoobies and even the ladies and wacky gents on Gilmore Girls. As a tribute to his legacy,I thought it would be interesting to look at some of those influences and references within the pop culture realm over the years.

One of the filmmakers who took several cues from Hughes' playbook was Kevin Smith,whose talky troubled characters are long past their high school days but yet still have the same mindset and romantic problems from that time period in their lives. In his most controversial film Dogma,Smith has one of his well known comic reliefs,Jay,give a mini salute of sorts to Hughes's teen dramas:

For many fans,there's always one film that stands out for them above the rest from their favorite director. My ultimate pick of Hughes' flicks is The Breakfast Club, that ensemble talkfest where each level of the pecking order in high school was represented and found out that they had plenty in common,especially emotional pain and suffering.

It's also one of the most imitated and spoofed of the Hughes' cannon. Many teen shows have had their Breakfast Club type of episodes,even the Canadian multi-generational high school series,Degrassi(also a favorite of Kevin Smith,who even appeared on a couple of special episodes as himself). A particular episode of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" followed the BFC storyline and made it suit the subplots already in play for their cast of characters:

A rare moment of real humor occurred in the overwrought parody "Not Another Teen Movie" when Paul Gleason replayed his role as the harsh detention monitor for a new batch of fresh mouthed kids:

Someone who owes much of her fame and fortune to those 80's teen flick is Molly Ringwald,now currently playing the mother of a pregnant high school girl on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Talk about full circle there,folks.

Back in the day,Molly Ringwald was a poster girl for pretty yet smart heroines,with a dash of inner turmoil on the side. Many wanted to be her best friend or just be her for awhile. I wasn't one of those,but did appreciate the full fledged energy given to her performances.

Molly Ringwald is considered an icon of the 1980s,who even has a cover band named after her that naturally plays the songlist of that dizzying decade for the delight of others:

John Hughes kept a low profile during the last years of his life,even avoiding getting any photos of himself taken. That's a shame because I think he had more tales to tell for audiences of all ages in him. Perhaps it's best to just be happy for the ones that he has given us,many of which were the emotional soundtrack for our lives. Fare thee well,John Hughes-you will be missed,indeed:

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