Friday, August 7, 2009

Thanks For The Memories, John

For all the memorable quotes and scenes in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," one of my favorite parts of the movie is the wordless montage at the Art Institute of Chicago. The main trio takes in the paintings, holds hands with a group of kids on a field trip, and sweethearts Ferris and Sloane share a tender kiss. It's just a sweet and magical moment, the kind that director John Hughes executed so well in the 1980s. I remember seeing that movie and thinking it must have been made by someone who knew that, underneath the snark and assholery, teenagers were human beings. (OK, I was 16, so I was mostly thinking, "Matthew Broderick is so cute!" But you know what I mean.)

Hughes' teen-themed movies could be uneven, and not all of them aged as well as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." But he almost always gave you The Moment, the one that made up for Judd Nelson's scenery chewing or the wrongness of Long Duk Dong. I am also grateful for his hand in making a star out of Molly Ringwald, who helped broaden the teen cinema standard of pretty. She was not a typical Breck girl, and some of us really appreciated that.

One of these days when my kids are older, we'll "Pretty in Pink" together, and they'll laugh at the clothes, roll their eyes at some of the plot points and wonder why Andie is so hung up on Blane (Because he's played by Andrew McCarthy! Hello?). But I also bet that, deep down, they'll kind of dig it.


downtown guy said...

My favorite Hughes film is actually one he wrote but didn't direct, Some Kind of Wonderful. I was so in love with Watts, the badass tomboy drummer.

You know why the 80s teen flicks rocked and the 90s teen flicks sucked, in my opinion? The 80s ones were largely about working/lower class kids dealing with school and society and the 90s ones were about upper class kids doing upper class things.

downtown guy said...

Oh, and let's not forget Uncle Buck. That was a funny damn movie.

EDP said...

I forgot about Some Kind of Wonderful! Eric Stoltz. Swoon!

I couldn't agree more with your opinion about 80s vs. 90s teen films. With a few rare exceptions (Rob Lowe), the kids in 80s teen films did not look like they stepped off the runway, and they were very relatable. I'm not sure a Fast Times at Ridgemont High would get made today.

downtown guy said...

It would be a completely different flick, that's for sure.

EDP said...

It would be focus-grouped to death, and all the actors would look like they just came from the "Gossip Girl" set.

downtown guy said...

Lord help us.