John Hughes was probably the filmmaker with the most influence over my childhood after Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. His scripts were my inner monologue (I can still lip sync most of The Breakfast Club), although I related to Duckie Dale more than Princess Claire. Though he’s gone too soon, he left behind a legacy of film that both subverts and conforms to the mainstream. Here are five things John Hughes taught me about life:
I’d rather be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong ones
The actual quote from Some Kind of Wonderful is, “I’d rather be next to somebody for the wrong reasons than alone for the right ones,” but the opposite sentiment was the obvious takeaway. Well played, Mr. Hughes.
“When you grow up, your heart dies.”
Maybe Allison was being melodramatic in The Breakfast Club but when we were kids, my brother was afraid of nuclear war and Freddy Krueger; I was afraid my heart would die when I grew up. In order to stay young at heart, I maintain a strict regimen of goofing around and making sarcastic remarks.
Rotaries are tricky
Summer vacations in Massachusetts reinforced this lesson. I can’t even see a rotary on TV without quoting European Vacation: “Big Ben! Parliament!”
Don’t neglect the major crevices
I don’t know why but Kevin’s bathroom mirror monologue in Home Alone always fascinated me. I have him to thank for my present day ear hygiene.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I consider Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to be a perfect film, and Ferris himself is surely one of the great sages of my generation. When I got a little older, it was deflating to realize that nothing really happens in the movie, it’s just a goofy moment in these kids’ lives. But then, that’s the whole point. I’m not saying Ferris Bueller laid the foundation of my entire world view, but he definitely spray painted his initials on a cornerstone.
The same could be said for John Hughes. I hear him in the way I talk and write, and I know he’s influenced the way I look at relationships. Part of me is sad he never got the chance to come out of retirement, and part of me is glad the good will always outweigh the bad on his filmography. As far as I’m concerned, he walked away with his fist held high.