Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bueller? Bueller?

Tributes to director John Hughes are all over the Web. (links to Roger Ebert and A.O. Scott)

But few are as personal as this one. (Via Waxy)

I haven't seen any John Hughes films on the big screen. So most of my recollections of his pre-1987 films are linked to cheap, pirated VHS prints. When I think of "Breakfast Club" or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", I can't see the sharp, neon-glow vividness of the 1980s. But still, those colors shone brighter than Indian state television's palette. So here was the perfect combination that young film-makers probably dream of: a new medium (cable TV/VHS), a new musical sound ('80s pop; music just filled his films), a new kind of character (the '80s teenager) and of course, a new audience (again, the '80s teenager).

It seems strange now, but I remember some of his films made me feel a little threatened. Not the content of the films but the form. They were just completely wrapped up in the sensibility of the period and it all felt very foreign - and hence both wrong and desirable - to me. But now when I see some of those Brat Pack films, I feel a mix of nostalgia, recollections of that foreignness and memories of wanting to grow up fast.

But the one film of his, other than "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", that I still enjoy is his road movie. Come Christmas time, I simply must watch that film on TV. (A very affectionate remembrance of the film in today's Opinion page in the Times.)

And finally, one more reason to love the man: in my opinion, John Hughes probably made the FINEST use of a Beatles song in a film. (See other films with Beatles music.)

R.I.P, John.


Tabula Rasa said...

wow, great post. you know, i haven't seen *any* of his films. but that post you linked to, the personal one, that post was just way amazing.

km said...

TR: Thank you. That girl's story is amazing.

I've seen several of his films - probably everyone that he directed (he wrote many more) - and I can't truthfully say I like them all.

But I do know this - he was a very important filmmaker. No one got the 1980s as well as he did. (And by no means was that portrait of the times complete or even accurate.)