I hated high school.
I look back at my experiences and shudder when I think about how bad
they were. It was a horrible time, as
we’ve all experienced our fair share of high school induced pain and
torture. Friends, backstabbers, love,
broken hearts, pimples- all high school mainstays that unite us all with our
inner outsider. Interestingly enough,
it wasn’t the usual stuff that made me hate high school. No, it was John Hughes and his empty
I was a late 80s kid. Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats and Ninja Turtles were my
bread and butter. Obviously, given my
age, I was too young to watch the John Hughes teen epics, but I did know about
them. When the time was right, I
finally sat down to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and was mighty
impressed. Not with Broderick (who was
great) but with the principal, Edward Rooney.
By far the greatest principal known to man, I immediately got restless
about having to start high school in a couple of more years because I wanted a
principal like Mr. Rooney. I wanted
high school to come right then and there.
To tide me over until the “greatest years of my young adult
life”, I surrounded myself with John Hughes’ timeless Brat Pack cinema. Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink prepared me for the long and bumpy road
ahead. When the first day of grade nine
arrived, I was ready. I was ready to
meet my Edward Rooney, get to know computer nerds Gary and Wyatt, have a
foreign exchange student named Long Duk Dong spend a semester over at my place
and have a best friend named Duckie, complete with 80s fashion and music. Then I actually arrived at my high school
and everything came crumbling down.
First and foremost, I went directly to the library. As soon as I walked in, I realized that I
did not want to spend a Saturday detention there. I know John Bender would’ve kicked my ass for being such a wuss,
but at least the library he spent detention in was spacious and actually had
Then a group of nerds approached me and let me tell you,
they were not Brat Pack material. They
were mean, callous little bastards, not the heartwarming rejects from Shermer,
Illinois we grew to love. After giving
them my lunch money, I thought to myself, “Could it be true? Has the almighty John Hughes forsaken
I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Before high school I thought high school was
a sure thing. John Hughes films were
survival guides, they taught us who to watch out for, what to do and how to get
a date with a beautiful woman. None of
that helped me, though. I had so many
confrontations with kids that were bigger than me that I lost count after the
first week. All of the crazy antics
that the characters did in those films didn’t work out for me and lets not even
talk about me trying to get a date with a beautiful girl. It just didn’t happen. The entire time. I felt betrayed and angry.
If the geek could get a girl in Sixteen Candles (hell, even Long Duk
Dong got one), why couldn’t I? What was
I missing? Was it because I didn’t have
a headset to go with my braces? Was it
because I didn’t have an accent? Was it
because I didn’t dance in the library in a well-choreographed fashion, smoke
weed in one of the empty rooms or have a beaver shot in my wallet? I certainly hope not.
All kidding aside, John Hughes’ high school films are, and
forever will be, universal. The time
and fashions change from decade to decade, but the emotions prevalent in each
story stay the same. The only problem
is, for schmucks like me, they present a worldview that is too good to be
true. And sure, maybe I was just
exaggerating a little (so sue me, I’m a screenwriter) seeing as how high school
wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t like the way it was shown through John
Hughes’ eyes and words. These were
characters that were so well developed, and spoke such volumes, that we felt
like we knew them for years.
Nowadays too many teen flicks are inundated with angst and
melodrama. They forget that life can
also be quite funny and a little weird.
Thankfully Hughes’ classic films will be there to remind us that if we
don’t slow down and take a look around, we just might miss the little things in
life that make it worth living.