Saturday, September 23, 2006

Just Duckie (the politics of John Hughes)

Slate has a great
article by Michael Weiss about the political views of writer/director John Hughes, the man behind the definitive portrayals of 1980's teenagers, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Pretty in Pink to The Breakfast Club.

Hughes, though, was never quite the antagonist of the status quo he made himself out to be. He was actually a political conservative, and his portrayals of down-and-out youth rebellion had more to do with celebrating the moral victory of the underdog than with championing the underprivileged.

The only thing that's surprising about this is that Weiss is surprised. Those movies were teenage fairy tales. And in fairy tales, Cinderella doesn't marry the guy who drives the pumpkin coach. I'm a Ferris Bueller fan, myself, but I've always found it chilling when Sloane and Cameron are talking, as Ferris is entertaining everyone by performing in the parade:

Sloane: What are you interested in?
Cameron: Nothing.
Sloane: Me neither!

Subversive? Sure. On an individual basis. But the values of the movies are always rock-solid suburban. Oh, and is there anyone over the age of 14 who doesn't think that Andie would have been much better off with Duckie? (Duckie would have, too. Cryer deserves a lot better than being the Felix for Charlie Sheen's louche Oscar.)

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I think he's looking way too deep into these thoroughy enjoyable flicks .. if you want to see real teen rebellion, watch Larry Clark, I guess .. you're right about these .. they're just fairy tales, and are best enjoyed as such