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Posts Tagged ‘Brat Pack’

Like a lot of you Gen Xers, I have been feeling down since hearing the horrible news Thursday about the death of John Hughes, the creator of the “Acne Film” genre, the man who brought the Brat Pack into national consciousness and made America laugh at our growing pains. That may sound like a brief list of accomplishments, but of course, it doesn’t quite sum up the man’s enormous influence.

Because John Hughes was not just a jokesmith in such great classic ’80s films as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Sixteen Candles.” He was more than that. He offered us a mirror on our teen lives. He not only accurately portrayed our pain with humor, he made us aware of how we were all simply playing parts in our own teen drama, and thus helped us transcend it. He did so with a keen eye for sexual mores, class divisions and pastels.

So, oh how I wish I had John Hughes here now to get me through my sadness. How I wish I could go through this melancholy with a Duckie or a Farmer Ted or a Jake or Watts or Amanda Jones. Or get a warm, loving talk from a portly, single, self-righteous and perhaps half-drunk working-class Dad. How I wish I could commiserate with a former high school cheerleader, and that we could cry together until, I don’t know—maybe she started kissing me and took her shirt off. How I wish I could be comforted by a wise member of building maintenance.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a John Hughes movie—perhaps one called “Dad’s Dead, Now What?”—to help us go through the steps of mourning in a humorous and thoughtful way?

Of course it would be full of stock characters, like adolescent cousin Joey, who has 80 facial piercings and offers us many seemingly cruel wisecracks about death—because in doing so he somehow helps us reflect on the inevitability of our own demise.

Or wouldn’t it be great to have jocky straight-laced older brother Aaron there to be judgmental about the rest of us and act like a total douchebag at just the wrong moments?

Wouldn’t it be great if Grandma Leslie showed up and threatened a lawsuit over some 40-year-old debt for a student loan she never got paid back? Wouldn’t it be great if one sister resented another sister for crying too loud at the funeral and making a big show of it? Wouldn’t it be great to have a Vietnamese foster child there named Flik Mai Bic?

Or wouldn’t it be great if distraught, aging uncle Ernie brought a whore to the funeral? I’m pretty sure that Kelly LeBrock is available for that.

Or perhaps one of the younger siblings could use his grief to get a high school cheerleader into bed. If only John Hughes were here, he could tell us: Worse things have been done by people at funerals.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a John Hughes movie unless we added a song by Oingo Boingo, destroyed a very expensive car and threw a high school principal out a window.

It could be a tragedy or a comedy. Or both. Life is like that.

Yes, there was pretty much no other way for a lot of us to get through adolescence, young adulthood and then parenthood without the guiding hand of Mr. Hughes. This is the greatest tragedy of his death. He taught us how to get along, but not how to get along without him.

Now we go off on our own, as awkward as new hatchlings, stumbling about in a world we will have to function within according to our own desires, flaws, idiosyncrasies, defense mechanisms and projections. At least I’ll know what to do when Oingo Boingo starts playing: I will dance.

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