6 Life Lessons John Hughes Taught Me

So apparently the UK’s lucid paper The Guardian can’t count.  Their new feature ‘The guidelines: John Hughes RIP actually only contains 6 sage lessons from the man who single-handedly iconified teen angst and revealed American society exactly as it is.  Other sites have come up with similar lists, but this one is probably my favorite:

• Self-referential looks to camera are NOT A BAD THING (all John Hughes films)

• Best friends are best when they’re a bit troubled (Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Iona in Pretty In Pink)

• Teachers are self-serving Nazis (Mr Vernon in The Breakfast Club) or desperate, sadsack stalkers (Mr Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off )

• Geeks give good kisses: The Geek in Sixteen Candles and Duckie in Pretty In Pink both give surprisingly good lippage. (“He must practice on melons,” Iona says after Duckie unexpectedly plants one on her in Pretty In Pink)

• Sex is complicated. “If you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap.” (Ally Sheedy’s Allison in The Breakfast Club)

• If you want a real career, don’t be the main star of a Hughes flick. See: John Cusack as Best Nerd Friend in Sixteen Candles or a young Robert Downey Jr as Mean Spirited Jock in Weird Science.

If John Hughes ever had an ex-pat main character, it would be Evan Rachel Wood with hottie Emile Hirsch (hopefully) driving a convertible.  A mix between National Lampoon’s Vacation and The Breakfast Club, teenagers escaping across the world from the doldrums of American suburbia is reminiscent of Seth’s grand departure on his sailboat during the season one finale of The O.C.  Adam Brody may even make a guest appearance in this international Hughes flick as the awkward ‘best friend.’

I think Hughes would be in support of  any teen taking off to ‘learn something about themselves’ – as long as there was a geeky Austrian and a disaster or two along the way to keep things interesting.  Maybe if you trade being classy for a few dorky moments things will turn out for the best, and prevent any Eurotrip type drug-usage, which Hughes never bothered to muddle his films with.

Even the important David  Bowie quote in the opening credits of The Breakfast Club would support international exploration by any of Hughes’ characters: “And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they are quite away of what they are going through.”  Of course, they have to handle high school graduation first.  Don’t forget to pack a great jacket (leather or letterman), diamond studs to use as calling cards, and a t-shirt from the boy you left at home (Jake Ryan? Yes please!) or girl’s panties, if you didn’t have to rent them.  If you’re also going to take style tips from Bowie, pack a suit and tight black jeans; leave the chunky wool scarves at home.

At least I can send all my friends the YouTube video of Simple Mind’s Breakfast Club theme song in a sappy good-bye email before I take off.  I think the original video is more poignant with its I-Spy books-like set.  Perhaps I’ll run an international scavenger hunt to find those props in the bizarre corners of the world Hughes impacted.


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