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Breakfast_Club.jpgJohn Hughes died
of a heart attack while taking a walk in Manhattan today. He was 59. So sad. We send blessings to his wife of 39 years, his two children, and four grandchildren.

If you were born in the 1970s or 80s John Hughes is likely not only one of your favorite directors, he is part of your emotional DNA. Do I like dark-haired guys because I like dark-haired guys? Or do I like them because of Jake Ryan? I think of myself as part prom-queen and part freak because those are two of the main categories of existence to me (The Breakfast Club). David Bowie’s “Changes,” which I sadly had not heard before it became a Breakfast Club soundtrack anthem (I was 12 when the movie came out), still makes my heart beat faster. Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” still gives me chills–partly because it’s the first song I ever made out to, and partly because it was also on that soundtrack. When people say “Molliere” I instantly get a flutter thinking of Claire and Bender. And a deep yearning in me, for better and worse, will always, always be waiting for Jake to show up in the Porsche and speed me away to a private birthday celebration.

Were these all great message movies? Sixteen Candles has pretty racist and sexist stuff in it, and hellooo Prince Charming complex! The Breakfast Club might have reinforced more sterotypes than it dissolved, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off–well, OK, that movie just makes you want to play hookie and carpe diem to “Twist and Shout.” But still. These movies (and I haven’t even gotten to the genius that is “Pretty in Pink”!) started a cultural shift that began showing adolescents as complex, non-“Porky’s,” thoughtful, angst-ridden, sentient beings. 

This lyric from “Changes,” quoted at the beginning of The Breakfast Club and then played as the credits rolled has always stuck with me. I know it’s Bowie, but it’s the brilliance of John Hughes that applied it to this movie; it somehow catalyzed something in my pre-teen, tortured, adults-don’t-get-it heart, and inexplicably validated me:

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.

Thank you John, for getting it.  

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