I recently decided that my children are now old enough to appreciate the genius of John Hughes.* After all, I adored his movies when I was a teenager. I have seen The Breakfast Club enough times to recite most of the scenes by heart. If they did Rocky Horror Picture Show-style renactments of this movie, I could totally play any one of those characters without a problem.
So naturally we started with The Breakfast Club. When I told the kids we were going to watch it, my son said a friend at school “loves old movies like these” and the Breakfast Club is a particular favorite. I was almost offended but then I did some quick math in my head and realized that the movies from my teenaged years are just as old now as movies from the 60s were when I was a kid. Then I wept silently for my lost youth.
My son is just about the right age to agree with the characters’ opinions of adults in general, and to feel just the right amount of angst to identify with them. My daughter is not quite 14 yet, so I figured she would find a couple of the references in the film a little awkward but would have a proper appreciation for most of the humor. I was almost spot-on in my predictions. Encouraged, I decided to continue the cinematic education.
We were going to watch Sixteen Candles next, but I couldn’t find my copy, so instead we watched Uncle Buck. The kids laughed most appreciatively, and my son declared Buck to be “totally awesome”. Of course I doubt he would feel the same if Buck were in charge of HIM, but that’s beside the point. The real lesson here is my kids were learning that Mom actually has some good movies in her arsenal. Damn straight.
The next day on my lunch break I purchased up a copy of Sixteen Candles for only $5 bucks. After watching this movie, my son declared that we should watch ALL the movies from when I was his age. That should keep us busy for a while, right?
So far the high point of our 80’s movie spree was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The kids laughed so hard at one point that we had to stop the movie so they could calm down. It may not be as funny out of context, but here’s the bit that finally pushed my kids over the edge:
My son said “This is my new favorite movie EVER.” Not that I blame him; everyone loves Ferris. Well, except for his sister Jeannie, of course, but she doesn’t count.
I asked Facebook for suggestions of what movies from my teen years I should introduce them to next. The list of movies my friends suggested was pretty great, and I was pleased to say that my kids were already very familiar with the majority.** However, there were others on the list that I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even own. A discrepancy which will soon be remedied, thanks to the wonders of Amazon.com. I have two more Hughes masterpieces on order, and delivery is expected this week.
In related news, I have recently picked up a side job cleaning my parents’ house. Which is the same job I had when I was a teenager, before I started working at Burger King. Except now I have car insurance, rent, and other bills to pay, plus two teenagers to feed. I guess that means I am now The Man.
What movies from your teenaged years would you consider essential viewing for teenagers?
* If you don’t know who John Hughes is, then I am extremely sad for you. Also, I’m sorry but I don’t think we can be friends anymore.
** The list includes:
- Say Anything
- Better Off Dead
- Real Genius
- Weird Science
- Pretty In Pink
- One Crazy Summer
- War Games
- Dead Poets Society
- Revenge of the Nerds
- The Outsiders
- Top Secret
- Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
- Buckaroo Banzai
- The Fifth Element
- Pirates of Penzance
- Romancing the Stone
- The Great Outdoors
- Big Trouble in Little China
- The Lost Boys
- Already family favorites: Labyrinth, Princess Bride, Monty Python, everything ever made by Mel Brooks, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Back to The Future, Tron, Grosse Point Blank, Goonies, The Neverending Story, Flight of the Navigator, Adventures in Babysitting