John Hughes Fan Club: Elisa Lorello
Today’s JH Fan Club post is from author and fab Duranie friend Elisa Lorello, whose latest book, Pasta Wars, will be available exclusively at Barnes & Noble on July 12th. (There have been reports of late June sightings!) It will be available everywhere later this year. Check it out the next time you’re in a (gasp!) real book store. On with the fun!
Favorite John Hughes film: A tie between Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. I tried to choose one and I just can’t.
And the runner-up, because let’s be honest—it’s hard to pick one: Tell me about it! I have to go with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the runner-up.
Favorite moment of hilarity in a John Hughes film: So many in The Breakfast Club—Anthony Michael Hall getting stoned; Emilio Estevez trying to climb over the magazine rack; the entire “could you describe the ruckus” scene… Yet they’re offset by scenes so powerful that I remember thinking, “Oh wow, that’s the entire high school experience boiled down to those five teens sitting on the floor in that library.”
Favorite poignant teenage moment in a John Hughes film: Oh god, how do you not melt like butter when all the cars leave and Samantha sees Jake Ryan leaning against his car, waiting for her? And then the two of them sitting on the dining room table, the birthday cake between them… ((my teenage self swoons yet again))
Best use of music in a John Hughes film: Another tough one to choose. Probably have to go with my favorites again—The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Although I snagged a used vinyl copy of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack a couple of years ago, even though it’s one of my least favorite movies. The other two soundtracks are much harder to find on vinyl, although I haven’t checked eBay lately—and I won’t, otherwise I’ll be broke.
Character in a John Hughes film that you most identify with and why: I’d have to go with Samantha because she was socially out of step and felt insignificant to popular and pretty girls, and that was me all the way. She felt invisible, and I think to some degree I did too—or maybe I actually wanted to be, I had such low self-esteem at the time. John Hughes made every “average” girl’s dream come true when her crush came to her, chose her, wanted to be with her because she wasn’t the stereotype of popular and pretty. I lived vicariously through that.
I also liked Annie Potts’s character (Iona) in Pretty in Pink even though I wasn’t wild about the movie (although, you know, Duckie). I saw a confidence and independence in her that I sorely lacked throughout my adolescence. And in my junior and senior years of high school I tried to dress like Allison (Ally Sheedy). I failed miserably.
Not to sound like a geezer, but why don’t they make movies like this anymore? I don’t think they can. For one thing, I don’t think the themes (class differences, clique differences, grown-ups just don’t understand, etc.) can hold up when today’s teen generation is bogged down by helicopter parents, a culture that no longer allows kids the experience of failure, cyber and other kinds of bullying that seem to be far worse than what our generation experienced, gay and transgender issues, and the inability to communicate face-to-face, to name a few. They’re being tested to death but not learning anything in school. They’re being political but are subject to the worst filters of information. They’ve grown up with the expectation that music and other forms of artistic content are to be free. And they’re under enormous amounts of pressure (as is every generation).
I don’t even know what the anthems for this generation would be. John Hughes was so brilliant to choose the music that wasn’t mainstream (until they appeared in a John Hughes film), yet spoke to his audience. Music that radio stations like WLIR on Long Island were one step ahead in playing. Rather than use something like Wang Chung’s “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” he used “Burning in the Twilight.” Instead of Thompson Twins’s “Hold Me Now,” he used the more obscure “If You Leave.” Those are my favorites. And yet, he probably didn’t realize that’s what he was doing.
Elisa Lorello is a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction, and a writing coach. Her works include Pasta Wars, Friends of Mine: Thirty Years in the Life of a Duran Duran Fan, and the international bestseller Faking It. Visit elisalorello.com to learn more or like her author page on Facebook.