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Another look at John Hughes’ films

August 11th, 2009

We lost a fine filmmaker last week in Mr. John Hughes who had a cardiac event and died at the all too young age of 59. Despite being a big fan – what person who came of age in the 1980’s doesn’t have some affection for Mr. Hughes, who pegged our adolescent angst so perfectly – as someone who does violence prevention work, I’m very glad that Amy Benfer over at Salon.com has written a postmortem where she takes him to task, rightfully, for being not so good when it comes to matters of date rape…

the barely conscious drunk girlfriend in question is Caroline, the evil prom queen. An epic party at Jake’s place leaves her leveled. (“I have Caroline passed out in the bed upstairs,” Jakes muses at one point, trying to put his finger on what’s missing in his relationship with her, and why he feels drawn to Sam. “I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.”

Ms. Benfer does a good job of upholding respect for Mr. Hughes’ skills in terms of his acumen for dissecting class, while acknowledging shortcomings on how he dealt with gender and sexism. This is the often over-looked aspect of dissecting the popular culture, we often have to take people who we revere in some ways to task for their less-than-perfect behaviors. It’s a well written, and thought-provoking piece.

It makes me want to rent the Hughes canon and view those films again, twenty years later, with an adult awareness, and with the eyes and ears of someone who has worked in the movement for nearly that long.

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