Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jake Ryan, Where Are You?

Last month as I reflected on the one year anniversary of John Hughes' death, I had an epiphany. All middle and high school students traveling today's hallways like salmon swimming upstream to spawn should be made to watch John Hughes Filmology 101: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. I say this with the utmost of sincerity - there are no movies of value being produced to come of age to anymore.

Now I would be less than truthful if I did not own the fact that the first time I saw "American Pie" I could not breathe for laughing so hard. And in "Superbad" when Jonah Hill was hit by the car and sent flying ten feet in the air, I actually re-wound it to watch it again. It was that funny. However, I was an adult when I saw these movies, not 16 years old.

I am dismayed to see so many movies today targeting teen audiences are all centered around ridiculous debauchery. "18 Year Old Virgin" and the soon-to-be-released "The Virginity Hit" should be considered insulting to all of us. Don't get me wrong...we had our "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" but there was depth and dare I say morals hidden within the story. We actually cared about the characters (although I despised Damon - what a dirt bag.) Today's movies are sex for the sake of sex with no lasting impression or redeeming value.

I have watched "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and I can only pray today's teens don't sit around talking about how much they are having and with who. Really? Back in the day, many didn't do it and if they did no one went around talking about it. As Breakfast Clubber Allison {Ally Sheedy} informs her fellow library prisoners, "It's a double edged sword, isn't it? Well, if you say you haven't, you're a prude. If you say you have you're a slut. It's a trap. You want to but you can't, and when you do you wish you didn't, right?"

The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink are love stories; pure, honest, and true falling in love stories with all the angst and heartache that goes with it. All three movies break down social and economical barriers to get to the basic human need - to love and to be loved.

We need a Jake Ryan reincarnation. Sixteen Candles is the ultimate teenage coming-of-age-intelligent-yet-shy-girl-gets-the-gorgeous-"maybe I'm looking for more than a party"-eating-birthday-cake-while-sitting-on-the-table movie. Who doesn't feel for Sam{Molly Ringwald} when she laments "Donger has been here for six hours and he has somebody; I've lived here my whole life and I'm a disease." What woman doesn't want to be rescued by Jake Ryan in a red porsche? This is the stuff love stories should be made from...not dweeby guys web-camming young women portrayed as too stupid to know any better.

John Hughes (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Well put my literary friend. Although not a Hughe's production, let's not forget my old time favorite teen movie "Can't Buy Me Love" starring Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson and who would have guessed it, Seth Green! Looking back at this movie, its simplicity was filled with social and emotional depth that stands the test of time.


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