Sunday, 13 December 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 89 - John Hughes

This a double bill that I wanted to do following the death of John Hughes earlier this year, however I did not own a copy of The Breakfast Club. That's what Lovefilm is for.
So following the X Factor final (sad I know but I can't help getting sucked in), I stuck on the double bill, inspired by Olly doing Twist & Shout from Bueller, complete with dance moves.

369 - The Breakfast Club - 2 stars
"Don't you forget about me" sang Simple Minds, and it's tough to forget this film. One of the definitive teen movies of the eighties, from the master of the teen movie John Hughes (responsible for among others Sixteen Candles and my personal favourite of his, Weird Science). Hughes takes the usual school stereotypes, locks them in detention for 8 hours and attempts to strip back the layers to reveal that deep down 'we're all the same'. So we get The Jock (Estevez), The Nerd (Michael-Hall), The Outcast (Sheedy), The Prom Queen (Ringwald) and The Rebel (Nelson), all regular members of 'The Brat Pack', and continuing the trend of having teenagers played by actors in their mid-twenties.
So how do 5 teenagers pass the time in an all-day detention? They sleep, slag each other off, claim that they are "nothing like them" especially in the case of Bender, smoke dope, dance around, give heartfelt confessions, etc, etc.
But do they manage to break down the barriers and become BFFs? Not really. Whilst they bond during their time in lock-up, the conclusion made is that the class structure within high school will prevent them from becoming friends as they move in different circles.
And how unfair is it that the nerd ends up alone? Ringwald and Nelson hook up and Estevez and Sheedy get it on, leaving poor Anthony all alone. Totally unfair that they are off smooching while he has to write the essay for ALL of them. Perhaps he doesn't need to because of Weird Science where the nerds created their own woman in the form of Kelly Le Brock.
A portrait of school at a more innocent time, imagine a modern day version with hoodies in the classroom!, but it has aged quite badly and doesn't quite have the charm to this (nearly) thirty-something that it had in his teens.

88 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off - 4 stars
Now here is a film that doesn't tire or get old. Ferris's message of "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it", is as valid today as it was back then.
It has to be said that at my age it is a lot more difficult to pull a "sickie" and take the day off to pursue some wild extra-curricular activities, especially since I am the boss. Curse my position of responsibility!
His day of fun includes many iconic moments such as the trip to the museum, and the 'Twist & Shout' performance at the parade.
He effortlessly coasts through life and because of this, Ferris is a great hero for the eighties generation, who else could have pulled off a leopard-print sweatervest, but every great hero needs a great villain, and Ferris has his in the form of Ed Rooney, a man who "won't let some snot nosed punk leave his cheese out in the wind", and determined to catch Ferris out. Rooney is played in a great, slimy performane from Tim Burton regular Jeffrey Jones.
I wonder what Ferris Bueller would be doing now? Still bunking off work? Maybe a sequel would be fun...

Days remaining - 276 Films remaining - 369

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