Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Thursday I was out running errands and such when I got a text message from my husband, Steve. It said, "John Hughes died today. What's going on this year?" I couldn't believe it. The man whose movies helped define 80's teen culture was gone. I know it all sounds a little dramatic on my part, but the more I thought about it, the moved I was. I mean, who else's films have become such an intrinsic part of my life and family traditions?

First, there's Thanksgiving. Every year since Steve and I got married, we have had a Thanksgiving Day tradition. Sometime during that day (or during that week if we have company), we watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. There's no Macy's parade on the Gray family TV. Just Steve Martin and John Candy bumbling their way across the US. Every year. And every year, I sit waiting for Steve Martin's profanity-laced meltdown at the rental car counter. Steve and I can recite it together. Sometimes he's Steve Martin and I'm Edie McClurg. Somtimes we switch it up. It's funny every time.

On the heels of Thanksgiving comes Christmas, and with it comes another John Hughes tradtion. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. While we put up the tree and decorations we watch Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story (not Hughes, but still great.) Actually, we put up our tree around Thansgiving, so this doubles as a Thanksgiving tradition, too. Then we rewatch Christmas Vacation several times as the merry holiday approaches.

Then there's the dreaded sick day. Feeling feverish? Got a stomach bug? Too sick to leave the house? That's when I pull out the greatest sick day movie. Ever. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I've seen this movie probably hundreds of times, and it doesn't matter. It never gets old. I love Ferris. I want to be Ferris. Alas, I'm not even Sloane Petersen. I'm probably more Cameron Fry than anything. Oh, well.

There are sentimental favorites, too, that have no association with holidays, but are still a major part of my life. There's The Great Outdoors, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Weird Science. And dont' forget She's Having a Baby. These movies are like comfort food for my soul. I know what everyone's going to say before they say it, and that only makes the films better.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I would have to least with regard to John Hughes' films. Steve and I are obsessed with movie quotes and trivia, but we both have a weakness for Hughes quotes. We can do whole blocks of dialogue from Ferris Bueller. It's like remembering the words of a friend. In honor of John Hughes, I have been posting quotes from his films on my Facebook status. When I used one of my favorites from Ferris Bueller, a friend immediately responded with another quote, and we went back and forth, amusing each other and wallowing in nostalgia. Do I feel guilty? Not a bit.

You may wonder at my leaving out some Hughes classics such as: Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. These aren't as close to my heart as the ones I mentioned above, but if they speak to you, celebrate them. There's nothing wrong with a little Judd Nelson quote or a Molly Ringwald quip. Lay it on me. Or just turn up your boom box and pretend like you're dancing in the library.

I leave you with the words of a very wise individual:
"-Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, 'I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.' Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

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