While I was in Block Island for a week, neither I nor my mother read The New York Times, except for a cursory glance at headlines if we were lucky enough to spot a copy (they get delivered by boat and are snatched up like rare pearls).
"I miss the obituaries," my mother confided one morning. "I want to know who died." I thought it was kind of morbid, but then I got back to New York and discovered that John Hughes, director of seminal 80s movies like Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful, had passed away of a heart attack at 59. And I wish I had known.
I came a tad late to the John Hughes canon, as I was only four when Sixteen Candles came out—if I'm honest with myself, I really belonged to the Home Alone generation—but when I did discover him, circa the early 90s, I fell hard.
I suspect that this is why Hughes' movies were such instant classics: every character encapsulated perfectly the angst and lust and humiliation of high school. For girls, there was Molly Ringwald as the quirky and smart but unpopular heroine of Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, Mary Stuart Masterson as Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful, the tomboy who's unrequitedly in love with her best friend (who hasn't been there?), or Ally Sheedy, the unrepentant misfit who eats a sandwich made of Cap'n Crunch (I would so eat that). For guys, there's the geeky fabulosity of Anthony Michael Hall, the nervous, cute WASP-iness of Andrew McCarthy, the heartbreaking pseudo-gay shenanigans of Jon Cryer, or the lovable misanthrophy of Judd Nelson.
And then, of course, there is Jake Ryan. I'm speaking of the
And for that, I will be forever grateful.