After watching almost every John Hughes film over the course of four weeks, I feel as though I have a good grasp as to whom Hughes is as a director/writer and what he was trying to convey through his films. If I wasn’t a big fan of John Hughes before, I definitely am now. I read Raymond Wood’s article addressing four reasons why John Hughes wasn’t so great and with careful thought, I’d like to disagree on every point Wood makes in his article. Raymond Wood starts his first point, by stating, “he can’t write well rounded adult characters”.
Wood also states that most movie critics complain about this when it comes to Hughes’ films and that it’s “probably his most annoying trait. ” Listen, I get it. I understand what Wood is saying, but in my opinion, if you’re going to write a movie centered on teens, you don’t need the adult characters to be “well rounded”. When I hear that statement, it’s like saying a movie that’s about farm animals needs a prominent role involving the farmer because the farmer takes care of the farm animals.
The audience does not care about that! When a film is focusing on a theme such as the pressures that parents put on their teens and the struggle for teens to be understood by their parents like in, “The Breakfast Club”, the audience is wanting to focus on the stars of the film, the teens! They want to know how the teens feel about their parents and their personal struggles with their relationships, so having a well rounded, adult character in that specific movie if irrelevant.
In my opinion, the audience only cares about what the film is focused on, so if that’s a film about a child being left home alone, then they won’t care about the child’s parents or even why they left him home alone. If a film is about adults and whatever struggle they’re dealing with, then the audience will only care about the adults and not so much bout the children and whether or not they’re “well rounded” characters. Why? Because the children aren’t the focus of that particular film, so it just makes sense that no one would care. Wood’s next point was that Hughes is a racist.
Now, l’d just like to say that calling someone a racist is a big deal to me. It’s not something to take lightly and that’s why I find it outrageous that John Hughes could be considered a racist. When Hughes put in the character, “Long Duk Dong”, as a “walking punch line” for the film, “Sixteen Candles”, I just thought it added a different comedic tone to the film. Anytime Hughes added in a cultural tereotype to his movies, I believe he did it to get a good laugh out of the audience and nothing more. You shouldn’t call that racist when it’s supposed to be light-hearted.
I just think people are too sensitive and like to call things racist just to cause drama. In my opinion, most people aren’t racist and you should just learn to laugh at yourself when someone decides to make fun of your own ethnic background. I do! There’s a stereotype for every ethnicity, every culture, etc. and no matter how much certain people want them to not exist, they will always be there. It’s only a negative thing if you make it that way. To be honest, I didn’t even notice the “racism” in the films that were being used as examples by Wood and I think that’s a good thing.
The best way to get rid of the negativity that’s put on a stereotype and racism as a whole is to just keep things light and just laugh it off. I think that John Hughes wanted to do that in his films. Previously, I stated that I’ve seen almost every John Hughes film, but I did not see “Pretty in Pink”. I don’t see things from Raymond Wood’s perspective because I don’t know the character Andie and how she behaves in the movie. I may not be entirely certain, but just because Andie says that she doesn’t ant someone to see where she lives doesn’t mean she thinks she’s poor.
There could be a slew of things that would make a teenage girl embarrassed for someone to come over. Yes, I think that one, specific instance is considered overly dramatic, but Cameron in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is certainly not. Cameron had a lot of deep-rooted feelings toward his father, so it just made sense for him to spill his guts out to his friends. He was keeping that in for a long time; it was predictable that he was going to have a melt down at some point. I don’t call that being overly dramatic. I call it being a human, whether you’re a eenager or an adult.
The same idea applies for the characters in “The Breakfast Club”“. As for the last point, I find it utterly ridiculous to state that Hughes “steals thunder away from better teen films”. Listen, you can’t force a bunch of people to like or dislike a film. Most people love his films without anyone having to tell them that they’re great. I know of a lot of people who would say that Steven Spielberg was and still is a big time movie writer/producer/director, especially in the 80’s. I don’t know what random people Wood had to ask, if he even did ask, to state that people immediately identify with John Hughes.
I’m a firm believer in being able to give credit where credit is due, without devaluing others that work in the same area of expertise. Stating that it was quantity over quality that made Hughes stick out is absurd. In my opinion, you can make a bunch of films, but if they’re all mediocre at best, that’s all people are going to say about them. The thing is, you don’t have people saying that his movies were bad nor mediocre. No one would have remembered him if his movies weren’t as good as many say they were and currently still are. To be completely honest, my favorite movies were the ones that had John Hughes s the writer and director.
What’s interesting to me is that Raymond Wood ended his article by writing, “Hughes’ talent with a pen was able to take him a long way in Hollywood but one of the places he should have avoided was the director’s chair. ” He also agreed with Mr. Fine who stated, “John Hughes was a mediocre director and prolific writer who wrote more than three dozen films and directed eight. And of those, there are about three that stand the test of time: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. ” Wood stated that he would also add in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Weird Science to that list of three.
How odd that he would write that, but for all five of those movies, John Hughes was the writer and director. Overall, I think Raymond Wood underrated Hughes; however, I believe most people appropriately rate him as being a great film writer/director/producer. At the end of the day, this is all subjective so to me, no one’s opinion matters to me except my own. John Hughes deserved all the credit he received for his films. The next time Raymond Wood decides to state his opinion on something, he should be careful not to contradict himself, like he ended up doing with his final statement. I rest my case.