Sunday, February 11, 2018

Brat Pack movies & Gen X Nostalgia

And then out of the blue, the Facebook page was created and the invitations and comments started coming - I just turned forty-eight and thus am approaching the 30th anniversary of my high school graduation. Ah, Generation X, how far we've come. While I probably won't make it home for my class reunion, I've been entertained by the nostalgia of classmates who have been planning an 80s theme for the weekend. Inevitably the references to songs and movies come along, and it's no surprise that John Hughes references are aplenty, for, in many ways, he raised us.

Coincidentally, I have been making my way through writer Jason Diamond's poignant and nostalgic memoir Searching for John Hughes: or Everything I thought I needed to know I learned from watching 80s movies. The book came out a couple years ago, and it's been sitting on my shelf with other pieces of Gen X commentary and criticism. But I picked it up recently and have been reflecting on my own John Hughes obsession as Diamond explains the origins of the book as his plan to kickstart a writing career by composing a biography of John Hughes.While Diamond is almost a decade younger than I, and his experience with the Hughes canon was on DVDs, rather than the theater, I appreciate the spirit with which he acknowledges the Hughesian influence and insight on his coming-of-age.

The nostalgia that comes through revisiting the pop culture of our youth is particularly strong for Gen Xers who can arguably be considered the first pop culture kids. Artists like Hughes - a Baby Boomer himself - were attuned to the powerful presence that media, film, and music had on the identities of young people in the 80s. And Diamond's book is an admirable contribution to the growing canon of Hughes/80s studies. One of my next reads is a reflection on Hughes' film settings, notably the suburban North Shore of Chicago. Gen X writer and book/film critic Kevin Smokler published Brat Pack America: a Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies last year, and I'm looking forward to his take on the genre as well.

Other 80s film commentary and criticism that I've enjoyed, or plan to read, includes:

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from 80s movies and ....

You Couldn't Ignore Me if You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation

Don't You Forget about Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes

John Hughes: a Life in Film - the Genius Behind Ferris Bueller, the Breakfast Club, and more

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