Aug 7, 2009

How John Hughes Changed My Life

To say that I was shocked to hear about yesterday's death of legendary film writer, producer, and director John Hughes would be a massive understatement. Much of my entire childhood was spent watching his movies on cable and that new-fangled thing called VCRs, and the non-conformist, trend-ignoring, path-unfollowing person you see before you (well, the person whose words you're currently reading) was solidified by those lessons learned from those movies. Loved them all. The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles. Weird Science. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Uncle Buck. The Great Outdoors. Vacation. Christmas Vacation. Home Alone. Curly Sue.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I think above everything Mr. Hughes ever put his creative input on, it's that movie that pretty much set the standard for the way I want to live my life. I've realized that, in reality, I'm actually more like Cameron, and even today, I'm still like that. I always wanted to be Ferris, and I guess in the end, I ended up being a little of both.

I was a little kid when this movie initially came out in theaters, but when it came on cable, I watched it, even eventually getting it on VHS, one of the first real tapes I remember getting. As a young teen, this movie spoke to me like no other movie had before at the time. The protagonist of the film (Ferris Bueller) wasn't a label, that is, he wasn't a nerd, a geek, a jock, a preppy, a goth, a class clown, a slacker, a drama student, et. al. He was simply Ferris, a guy who pretty much has his life together, or at least had the semblance to realize what life is supposed to be. He doesn't worry, he doesn't panic. He's not trying to get laid or find a girlfriend because, well, he already has a girlfriend.

On the flipside, you had Cameron, Ferris's best friend who constantly worried about every little thing and scared to come out of his bed, let alone doing things like impersonate a friend's father to get her out of school and borrowing his father's car to go on a day-long adventure. Ferris pushed Cameron, even though Cameron didn't want him to, and in the end, he learned from his best friend that if you took life too seriously, you'll spend all your time worrying.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Good advice, and something that stuck to me to this day.

So, Mr. Hughes, danke schön, thank you for all the joy and pain, and thank you for making films that made me realize I'm not odd, strange, and unusual, but rather normal. Thank you.

1 comment:

E.A. said...

There's a big hole in the world now that John Hughes has suddenly left us. We'll try to fill it with watching and re-watching his films.