Thursday, August 6, 2009
Remembering John Hughes
It's a sad day for Generation Xers everywhere. One of our best spokespersons--John Hughes--has died. He was only 59.
Hughes was a brilliant writer, director, producer. Even if you don't know his name, then you know his work--which includes classics such as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles." And who can forget the "Home Alone" and "Vacation" series--or the hilarious "Mr. Mom" from way back? Oh, and I can't not mention "Uncle Buck" or "The Great Outdoors," which I saw in the theatre with my siblings back in the day and which Tanna and I watched just the other night. I could go on with more titles, but you get the idea.
John Hughes' entertainment not only imitated life, but also life imitated (and still imitates) his entertainment. His work defined our generation. And his words live on in our vocabularies. Who doesn't know at least a handful of quotes from various John Hughes movies? (Maybe the Amish--maybe. (No offense to the Amish, by the way.))
For me, one film of his stands above the others. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is a movie that spoke to me even in middle school--and still speaks to me today. FBDO came out in 1986. I was in the sixth grade, going into seventh. I remember watching it on Beta with my brother when it came out on video. Before I entered high school, I pretty much had the film memorized.
A FBDO DVD was on our wedding registry. And I was so thankful to receive it as a wedding gift! I have an original movie poster--a gift from a relative from the movie's opening at a local theatre--and I had it matted and framed. Just a few weeks ago, I bought a music/jewelry box that features Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," the artwork featured in the movie's museum scenes. A magnet of the piece has been hanging on the fridge for years.
Likewise, I have ordered bibs and onesies for Kate that read "Save Ferris"--perhaps you've seen them. In fact, I just ordered some stationery with that same infamous line just the other day. No joke.
There are a lot of things about FBDO that resonate with me--and with the world. It's a film about living life to the fullest. About taking the time to enjoy your surroundings. About seizing opportunity. About friendship. And about having fun.
"Life moves pretty fast," Ferris says twice in the movie. "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So true, so true.
Thank you, John Hughes, for giving us such great lines ... such memorable characters ... such classic films.
I never met John Hughes, though I did have the wonderful experience of meeting Matthew Broderick--Ferris himself--twice while in New York City. I cannot emphasize how excited I was to meet the guy who brought Ferris to life. A photo taken during one of those chance encounters ended up as my Christmas card that year. People still bring it up today, some seven years later--because they, too, know and love Ferris Bueller. And many other John Hughes movies.
The world of motion picture will never be the same again. I don't know if John Hughes knew Jesus. It is my hope that he did--because I'd love to meet him (and Ferris) in heaven. His untimely death is another reminder that life, indeed, moves pretty fast. Death, it can be said, is like Christ's return--no one knows for sure the day or the hour when it will happen, except the Father in heaven. So we must be ready. And make the most of every opportunity. Kind of like Ferris might do.