Some Time in Shermer, Illinois

This the beginning of what’s wonderfully termed ‘awards season’ in Hollywood (is there a ‘public-flogging season’ next?  Yes, it’s at NBC.  And what other company towns even have an ‘awards season’?).  There are literally 2,864 award shows leading up to the Oscars on March 7th, including tomorrow night’s Golden Globes, and with Ricky Gervais hosting tomorrow night and the Martin / Baldwin combo on the 7th, there’s a good shot some of ’em will actually be funny.  (And speaking of wit, my year-end movie post is coming.)

But after thumbing through the trades this morning, getting a text from a friend, watching a few clips online– apparently, there was one last night, the 15th Annual Broadcast Critics’ Choice Awards, on VH1 (oh-kay).  And while my pic for Best Pic did indeed take it home (rent it now, people!), the awards show seemed memorable for one thing:  A tribute to the late, great John Hughes.

Anyone of a certain age has their own John Hughes memories; for me it’s afternoons spent up in my bedroom, watching The Breakfast Club on TBS, quoting along and wondering where I fit in, and, of course, finding out “… each of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”  It’s watching Pretty In Pink and trying to figure out how, in any sane world, Ducky does not get the girl (but instead winds up making a fortune on CBS’ Two and a Half Men).  It’s singing along with Ferris in the parade sequence of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (“… never took a lesson in my life.”).  It’s one of my sisters particularly falling for 16 Candles.  He was the Wilder, the Crowe of writers for a certain generation.  These and other films, of course, had huge cultural impact:  They coined the term ‘The Brat Pack’ (would there even be a, say, St. Elmo’s Fire without him?), there was a band called ‘Save Ferris,’ Molly Ringwald became a huge star, and no one else defined high school quite as well.

For real. The power of Hughes.

Then there are flicks we don’t even define as “John Hughes” flicks:  the hilarious Planes, Trains & Automobiles, complete with its contribution to ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ (yup, he’s the yuppie businessman).  Say what you want about the Home Alone franchise, but the first one’s both a good slapstick comedy and a heartwarming holiday movie, and, oh yeah, it made a gazillion dollars, and he wrote it.  And then the kicker:  He created Clark Griswold!  (Without him, there’s no Marty Moose, no Walley World!)  He wrote those flicks, including the oh-so-quotoble Christmas one.  Can you imagine any writer having this kind of career today?

Seriously, the power of Hughes.

And then, at the height of his power and a relatively young age, he, for the most part, walked away.  Left Hollywood for a D.C. reason: To spend more time with his family.  He pulled a La-La-Land Salinger so famous that he inspired a documentary.  For a guy who died at the age of 59, did he know something we didn’t?

So, from last night night’s little-known awards show, here’s Death Cab for Cutie performing a particularly poignant “Don’t You Forget About Me”.  As if we ever could.


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