Saw this recent article on John Hughes. My teenage angst came flooding back as I read it. I think demographically I was the perfect target for the genre he created. When "Sixteen Candles" came out, I was (1) sixteen, and (2) an emotional outsider seeking some validation.
As the article points out, Hughes switched the game and told all of his stories from the outsider's perspective. In fact, Hughes' best known film (though not my favorite) is "The Breakfast Club" where Hughes implies that we are ALL outsiders, no matter how we classify ourselves. My public school was similarly governed by cliques... divided into athletes, stage performers, brainiacs, and those who inhabited the smoking lounge (how was this ever an approved and authorized option for 14 year olds?). There were many options for self-segregation...
I didn't know anyone who was gay and "out" (though some of my suspicions have since been confirmed -- more surprising are the ones that weren't). But my high school would not have been the most accommodating environment for the first one to try. We certainly used homophobic insults with little discretion.
In not a small way, I'm sure that these films made me a more accepting and tolerant person. You've met some of my high school friends, GG, and must know that if I am open-minded, it's not due to engaging in enlightening discourse with them.
I don't deserve any extra credit for being your friend, Gay Guy. Well, I do... for so many reasons, but not because you're gay, I should say. But if it took some growing up on my part to see value in people that I don't totally understand, I have to give some credit to Hughes and his films.
He made 6 "outsider" films from 84 to 87, some better than others, but all arriving between my 16th and 19th birthdays. And I'm sure I didn't miss a single one.
- Sixteen Candles (1984)
- Weird Science (1985)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- Pretty in Pink (1986)
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
- Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
You mentioned that you identified with the outcast Rudolph from the holiday special, just wondering if these or any other mainstream films has a similar impact on you.
What films changed your perspective? Join the discussion here.