Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'You forgot ugly, lazy and disrespectful'

The two coolest things about being a journalist?
  • 1. Getting free stuff.
  • 2. Occasionally getting to write about something just because you want to write about it.
Which brings us to Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes, the subject of my latest Culture Etc. blog:
More than anything else, this new book reminds us why Hughes' teen films remain enduringly popular, even now that those '80s hairstyles, fashions and pop songs are so hopelessly outdated. Hughes demonstrated an ability to create human-scale sagas filled with characters we recognize -- including ourselves.
I spotted this book on the "discard table" at the office -- where people leave the promotional stuff they get free in the mail but don't want -- and immediately snagged it. Why? Yes, of course, John Hughes' teen films are timeless classics. But also ... Molly Ringwald.

In 1985, I attended a preview showing of The Breakfast Club. By the time I walked out of the Cobb Galleria multiplex, I had fallen hopelessly in love with Molly, who plays the preppy Claire. I totally related to John Bender, the disreputable hoodlum (played by Judd Nelson) whose love/hate obsession with Claire is expressed as merciless teasing:
John Bender: I like those earings, Claire.
Claire Standish: Shut up.
John Bender: Are those real diamonds, Claire?
Claire Standish: Shut up.
John Bender: I bet they are. Did you work for the money to buy those earings?
Claire Standish: Shut your mouth.
John Bender: Or did your Daddy buy those for you?
Claire Standish: Shut up!
John Bender: I'll bet he bought those for you. I bet those were a Christmas gift. You know what I got for Christmas? Oh, it was a banner f***ing year at the old Bender family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said, "Hey, smoke up Johnny." All right? So go home and cry to your Daddy. Don't cry here, OK?
There's a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written about the subtexts of that relationship -- Bender's self-pitying resentment, Claire's indignant resolve -- but mainly, there's Molly, the perfect symbol of every stuck-up rich girl any high school hoodlum ever knew (and secretly had a crush on).

1 comment:

  1. Shut up, bitch. Go fix me a turkey pot pie.