This year marked the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation. I certainly didn't celebrate it in any way--heck, I wasn't even invited to any reunion. But it got me thinking the other day about how I really started getting interested in films as a teenager.
The time period was the mid-80s, when the so-called "Brat Pack" films--usually directed or written by John Hughes--were all the rage. Critics back then talked about how "real" those movies were, and how much they influenced an entire generation of America's youth. Now those films are considered classics, and a window into how teenagers of that era looked, acted, thought, and communicated.
So what influence did the "Brat Pack" movies have on me?
Truth is, I hated being a teenager. I wasn't popular in high school, and my family didn't have a lot of money. All the stuff I was supposed to watch--or the stuff that critics assumed I wanted to watch--held no interest for me. I didn't want to spend two hours seeing beautiful fake teenagers deal with their fake problems. Did I have the hots for Molly Ringworm or Ally Sheedy? Uhhh, no.
It wasn't the work of John Hughes that spoke to me. It was directors like Sergio Leone, Terence Fisher, Alfred Hitchcock, and James Whale. My Brat Pack had members named Chaney, Karloff, Lugosi, Price, Cushing, Lee, Atwill, and Zucco. Tom Cruise? No thanks...I was too busy watching every Clint Eastwood movie ever made about 10 times.
I know that a lot of people my age have a fond regard for the Brat Pack films. I've got buddies who think FERRIS BUELLER is right up there with CITIZEN KANE. But they never were all that important to me. Looking back on them, they seem even more contrived and phoney then I thought they did 25 years ago. With all due respect to Mr. Hughes (whose greatest film was PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES, in my opinion), TV horror movie host Svengoolie did more to get me through high school than he did.
And if that doesn't explain how screwed up I am, I don't know what does.