I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the passing of John Hughes since I read about it yesterday. How do you summarize someone who’s had such an affect on American culture? OK, so maybe I’m being over dramatic – but let’s be honest, he was one of us. John Hughes was that misunderstood kid or that love-able loser who was desperately trying to fit in or that person who just yearned to come out on top and hoped that he get the girl (or in Molly Ringwald’s case, the guy) in the end.
Isn’t that want everyone wants and considering how painful the teen years were, it’s nice to know there’s someone else out there who understands.
It was the teen flicks that made John Hughes a legend. He gave hope to the nerds, made the pretty popular kids seem attainable and basically invented that diagram that most films in that genre are built from. He made characters that were relatable and like-able. They were like the kids we hung out and the kids we wanted to be. While watching his films, it was hard not to sit there and think ‘oh so & so is just like Farmer Ted or Bender’ or think about some horrifically embarrassing moment your grandparents put you through. Granted, yours might not have felt you up – but you felt Andy’s pain. Who didn’t wonder how they would handle Saturday morning detention or if it was really necessary for the bras to worn on your head while messing with electricity?
But Hughes was much more than just a teen comedy director, he created the Griswalds (who were loosely based upon his family), he helped make some of John Candy’s greatest movies, he made Macaulay Culkin a household name and inspired a laundry list of directors from Wes Anderson to Kevin Smith (Remember when Jay & Silent Bob decided to go to Shermer, Ill to ‘corner the drug dealing market?). Hell, he inspired me. My boss pulled me aside one day a few years back and told me if I was going to continue ‘this whole writing thing’, I was going to have to do it under another name. So after a day of trying to figure out what it would be, I flipped on ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and in between having a panic attacks over the idea of losing my job because of something I’d written and then spazzing over the prospect of have to explaining to my parents why I was jobless, I looked up and there was Cameron Frye was sitting in his p.o.s. trying to decide whether he should help Ferris on his latest scheme.
Cameron Frye was a neurotic mess who constantly lived in fear of his parents. He grew up in a cold household and didn’t feel like he could be himself unless he was with his friends and a lot of prodding. These were the same friends who supported him and taught him how to stand up for himself. The character Cameron hit close to home. I wanted to be Ferris and not give a fuck and take risks – but like Cameron, I’d make myself sick thinking of the repercussions of living a dangerous life. I constantly played it safe and I figured the name ‘Cameron Frye’ would be the perfect fit.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was and always will be my favorite film by Hughes. As Kevin Kadunk from Big League Stew pointed out yesterday on Twitter, it did have “the best scene of my lifetime” and it taught us one of life’s greatest lessons:
“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
It’s true. Maybe that’s why Hughes stopped directing and focused on writing. Hughes kind of went all JD Salinger on Hollywood and laid low. He lived with his family and stayed out of the spotlight. When Hughes was asked in an interview with Ink 19 if he’d ever direct again, Hughes respond, “I would like to. I don’t like getting up early, and it takes a long time, but it’s different when I don’t direct. I do like working with actors, and editing. Shooting is a big social experience, but in the cutting room, you can do anything. Shooting is like gathering information, editing is more like writing.”
No point to do something you don’t like. I mean, considering how short life is, you might as well do what makes you happy and that’s what Hughes did. We should all do at that at some point. Because as a young lad in a leopard sweater vest once told me, life does move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you could miss it.
– Cameron Frye