5 John Hughes Movies Viewed Through Parental Goggles

In light of the recent news that the Shermer Club is going to be holding a John Hughes Fest in Chicago, IL (4 days of screenings, guest celebrity appearances etc..) I began my love affair anew with John Hughes.

It all had started with Sixteen Candles. Being of a certain age (ahem!) I was able to see most of the teen supreme movies in a darkened theater, unedited and unadulterated. We all wanted to be or to know them. The reason I spent 15 years being a redhead was because of Molly Ringwald.

But your memories fade and so does that red hair color. When you take a look at these films again, especially as a parent, things just don’t look the same.

Whether it’s the mildly mundane act of skipping school in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to the darker, drug infused, sexualized side of high school in The Breakfast Club, John Hughes’ movies strike different chords when you are the mother of a teen girl.

Let’s deconstruct these a little shall we?

Sixteen Candles — Sweet Samantha just wants someone to remember her 16th birthday… and to date the hottest guy in school, who happens to be taken and two years older.

⦁ Problem 1: No mother wants their daughter dating an older guy…ever.

⦁ Problem 2: The fallout from Jake’s party at his parents’ house. Adults do spend their hard earned cash on a nice home only to have a bunch of snot nosed, entitled suburban kids wreck it in one night. And let’s not even talk about what happens to the Rolls.

⦁ Problem 3: No way would Samantha have been allowed to skip her sister’s reception to drive away with a hot guy in a cool car. Family obligations come first, no matter how long you’ve been pining or just how cute the guy is (and he was).

Pretty in Pink — Andie is extremely smart and edgy with a gift for fashion but comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Of course she is hopelessly attracted to the guy with money.

⦁ Problem 1: Her dad has completely hopped the rails, doesn’t work and hangs out all day in a tank top, so no real guidance there.

⦁ Problem 2: Her best friend, Duckie, is an emotionally unstable, albeit adorable, slacker. Although, he can lip sync the hell out of “Try A Little Tenderness” he’s not exactly high on the list of eligible suitors.

⦁ Problem 3: Andie needs to be far more concerned with her college scholarship prospects than dating a guy named Blane which, as we know, is a major appliance, not a name.

Uncle Buck — A middle aged, unemployed, gambler and drinker is asked, reluctantly, to take care of his brother’s kids during a family emergency.

⦁ Problem 1: Does anyone want this guy near their kids? He can’t do laundry, makes a mess, gets weirdly involved with the neighbor lady and drives a car that needs a serious emissions check.

⦁ Problem 2: While hilarious, the parent/teacher conference would have gone a lot better without the suggestion that the principal get her wart gnawed off by a rat.

⦁ Problem 3: Cigar smoking and feeding the dog beer? No.

The Breakfast Club — An athlete, princess, criminal, brain and basket case spend a Saturday in detention.

⦁ Problem 1: Bringing a flare gun to school these days would result in The Brain’s expulsion, not a Saturday in the library. The same goes for The Athlete’s bullying that ended up with a kid’s butt cheeks duct taped together.

⦁ Problem 2: Our Basket Case needs to be in therapy, not smoking pot and getting a makeover. Although, she did look a lot better without all that “black shit” around her eyes.

⦁ Problem 3: The Criminal, John Bender. It’s shocking that he was in high school detention, and not in juvenile detention. And while his quips are amazing (“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”) can we please forget about him?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — Popular, cocky high school teen cuts class to show friends how to “live”.

⦁ Problem 1: Idiot parents. He so clearly should have been caught 57 times in this movie but his parents are made out to be very dense.

⦁ Problem 2: Borrowing the car. I don’t care how much of a jerk your dad is, that car, as Ferris himself says, is “choice” and doesn’t deserve its ultimate fate.

⦁ Problem 3: Ferris would have been arrested either in the restaurant or in the parade despite the admittedly cool “Twist and Shout” number.

All that being said, John Hughes’ movies are still the coolest part of 80’s pop culture. I can’t imagine having grown up without them to dream on, commiserate with and seek fashion guidance from (pink is NOT my color as I discovered) However, if my daughter walked in with one of her diamond earrings missing, I would be seriously irritated.

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