A Hughes Influence
Nobody exploited the severity of high school cliques and the nervous insecurities of the teen years than John Hughes, who passed away at 59 on August 6. His coming-of-age movies were as much part of the 1980s milieu as Vans sneakers and big hair. When news broke of his death from a heart attack, my 45 single of “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds immediately began spinning in my head.
Who didn’t want a day off with Ferris? Or get stuck in detention with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal? And who didn’t want a date with Jake on her 16th birthday? This Gen Xer did. Thanks to Hughes.
While many of my male friends dreamed of reincarnating Kelly Lebrock from a Barbie doll via “Weird Science,” I wanted to be Molly Ringwald. I wanted to pout and challenge stereotypes of spoiled kids who lived on the right side of the tracks, or a cool kid who fashioned her own styles from thrift store finds while wooing the most popular boy in school. When I didn’t want to be Ringwald, I wanted to be Mary Stuart Masterson who jammed on the drums while secretly pining for her best friend who was overtly pining for Miss Amanda Jones.
Hughes movies helped my generation form a sense of X-hood by identifying with his satirist presentation of suburban teens. We learned the fashion. We danced the moves. We sang along with our soundtrack cassette tapes when our parents let us borrow their cars. And to this day, at age 40, I still carry much of that cultural residue from the 1980s.
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