I just finished watching Some Kind Of Wonderful. You know the flick. And if you don't, then we can't be friends. Seriously. There is something wrong with you. I've seen this movie at least a few hundred times. It gets me every time. EVERY time. John Hughes you devil you. How do you do it? Molly Ringwald isn't even in this one... and here I am bawling my eyes out after this timeless scene. And then I CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE by Lick The Tins swells as the couple stroll down the lamppost lined street.
No matter what I'm doing, where I have to be or what time it is.. if a John Hughes movie is airing on TNT.. I'm watching. No matter that it's interrupted every three minutes with commercials, no matter that the swear words (translation: the good parts) are edited out so sloppily that Andrew McCarthey looks like an actor in an old japanese kung fu movie, no matter that I have the DVD right there on my shelf.
I. Am. Watching.
I will cry. And I'm a tough chick dammit! I hate romantic comedies, really I do. Reese Withersoon and her Legally Blonde brigade are not for me. Nor was that leering jackolantern Julia Roberts and the ridiculously overrated Hugh Grant starring as, who else, Hugh Grant. Keep your Kate Hudsons and your Jennifer Garners to yourself.. I've just never been interested.
Ironically, I will never tire of Some Kind of Wonderful, Can't By Me Love, Pretty In Pink, Say Anything.. You know the ones. Any movie starring any variation of John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall. These movies are as much a part of my growing up experience as my own travails in junior high and high school.
Judd Nelson as Bender in The Breakfast Club instilled deep within me an immense admiration for the bad boys. He hooked me at "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?" He began reeling me in with his ingenious impersonation of his parental plight at home..
"Stupid worthless no good goddamn free loadin' son of a bitch retarded big mouth know it all asshole jerk! You forgot ugly lazy and disrespectful- Shut up bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie! What about you dad? Fuck you. No, dad, what about you? Fuck you. No dad what about you?! FUCK YOU"
He is angry! I am in love! From Bender to the man every girl is still looking for.. Jake Ryan, where are you?
From my journal: August 10, 2003 Why must I be so concerned with boys? I don't like girls that live for men, so why must I? I'm perfectly content on my own. You know, movies have dones the women of the world such an injustice. You see these perfectly wonderful relationships on the big screen, that it took 50 takes and 20 pounds of make-up to get right - and the rest of us bastards have to try to live up to that crap. It will never happen. I'm 26 years old and I'm still longing for Jake Ryan to pull up in his red porche while the Thompson Twins IF YOU WERE HERE swells in the background. Fuck. Fuckity Fuck! Is it true that I could find the guy of my dreams, my best friend who sees the best things about me, that can't imagine living without me or is it all a crock of bullshit?"
Apparently, that same entry exists within the pages of almost every American woman's journal. In his article "Real Men Can't Hold A Match To Jake Ryan" Hank Stuever says the movie Sixteen Candles offered the hope, before life dashed it. Stuever urges women to finally admit that Jake Ryan is not coming for us. "Not in the red Porsche 944, and not wearing that Fair Isle sweater vest. Not with his shiny black hair moussed gently heavenward, not with his gooey brown eyes and square Matt Dillonesque jaw. He will not be standing there with his hands in the pockets of his 501 button-fly jeans (while leaning against said Porsche), and he will not be shyly waving at you from across the street. ("Yeah, you," he mouths, just as in the movie, after you look behind you to see what girl he could possibly be interested in.)"
So he's not coming. Fuck you Stuever! Can't we have our dreams? Since y'all aren't capable of living up to Jake's impossibly high standard (seriously though, who would dump the blonde cheerleader that puts out for red-haired freckle-faced Molly Ringwald?) let us have Jake on our TNT reruns dammit! A girl can dream.
All of the glorious movies mentioned never stray far from the same theme on high school stereotypes. Jocks. Cheerleaders. Nerds. Burners. Freaks. Geeks. Neomaxizoomdweebies.. Whatever.. But we can all identify because all the stereotypes are represented properly. We can find ourselves in there somewhere..
High school to a certain degree defines our personalities. For life. For the most part high schoolers are empty vessels waiting to be filled with pop culture, what's allegedly cool and not cool. The NOT COOL moniker is a sticky motherfucker. You can say you don't care, but in a way, you spend the rest of your life trying to prove those high school fuckers wrong. Clothes, hair styles, who you eat lunch with.. all of it takes on a ridiculously intense level of importance. You go to school to get grades, yet every day you're graded by your peers. And it's so easy to fuck up.
For much too long after high school, many of us secretly continue to believe those labels.. It's tough to shake that mental image of yourself. Were you fat in high school? You might be the thinnest person in the room now, but you still feel fat, don't you? Were you beautiful in high school? That's even worse because you will spend the rest of your life trying to be the pretty girl and inevitibly, you'll grow old. And depressed. I say being the beautiful person is worse than being a freak. A freak can always turn into the hottest person at the reunion. Everyone is secretly checking out the former beauty, glorying in every wrinkle, every pound of weight gained..
You either hate who you were in high school, always trying to escape that persona.. or as in the case of the former beauty you'll never live up to who you perceived yourself to be in high school (D.G. Nielsen, the asshole jock quarterback that tried to screw me in the back of his truck then ignored me the next day after I refused, I'm looking in your direction) Thing is, despite his obvious assholeness, everyone loved D.G., the football star. Because in the end, you are identified by the sport you may play, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, how you wear your hair. That's why we all love John Hughes. Because as obvious as his stereotypes are.. one of them rings a bell deep within us all. And we remember, even though many of us want to forget.
"Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basketcase, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.