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Friday, August 07, 2009

R.I.P. Mr. Hughes

A number of the movies I have seen repeatedly over the years are films that John Hughes wrote, directed or produced.

If I had to pick an absolute favourite, which is hard because many of Hughes movies would make it to my "top of the top" list, I'd have to go with Planes, Trains & Automobiles, even though I've watched Christmas Vacation every year pretty much since it first came out (it's a tradition, like many other Christmas movies that are aired that time of year).

There are so many memorable quotes from the movie, that I wanted to walk through here. But I'd be writing this all day.

One of the many ones I regularly pull out (particular when Francine and I are driving somewhere) is the following one that takes place when Del is driving on the wrong side of the highway shortly after a near accident where he re-enters the highway via the exit ramp. Across the divided highway, another car driver and his wife are frantically trying to tell them they're on the wrong side of the highway:

Neal: He says we're going the wrong way.
Del: Oh, he's drunk. How would he know where we're going?

Classic human miscommunication.

Two things that appealed to me so much about this movie are the friendship born out of the misadventure between two dynamically different strangers as well as the never-ending tangents they are thrust on in their attempt to get home.

Interestingly, the very first short story I sold was a young adult humour tale "The Progressive Sidetrack" -- it was about a student doing everything he can to get to a girl he has a crush on to ask her out to the dance that night. From the beginning, circumstances continue to thwart him at every turn, and the entire day becomes a huge misadventure with obstacles thrust in his way and preventing him from getting in contact with her. I first wrote it as part of a writing assignment for a grade 13 writing class, and my teacher at the time mentioned how it reminded her Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

I suppose that is an apt enough description of the story (since I'd seen a ton of John Hughes movies and could say I was heavily influenced by them), but I like to think that while my story certainly was a young adult comedy/adventure tale, it was more akin to the simple goal and obstacles as laid out in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. They want to get home to Chicago. He wants to ask a girl on a date. And unlike Ferris, my main character isn't quote so popular. He was more bumbling and a bit of a nerd. (Yes, I know -- he was based on me, which is why he couldn't possibly be cast in a Ferris Bueller kind of light)

That, alone, should be enough evidence of how well I have always admired the writing of John Hughes. You know, that whole imitation/flattery thing.

1 comment:

lime said...

these are my two favorites of his as well. the girlier movies he did just didn't appeal to me but i LOVE these two.