eighties teen movies

Angsty Black Girl Essay #2: FUCK JOHN HUGHES.

Yes, I said it. Fuck John Hughes. Fuck him and his old, narrow-minded white ass, racist ass ass. Fuck that guy.

I am so sick of white art being revered and called “classic” and “cult status” when it really ain’t shit. Everybody loves the Beatles when they really weren’t even that good until they started doing drugs. White mediocrity is always rewarded. I am so sick of white directors not being held responsible for their fucked up views of society just because a bunch of people think their movie fits a certain aesthetic or widely has its dick sucked for being an embodiment of the culture and society of the time. But this was before social media, so everything was fine.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and the Home Alone movies. I grew up watching Macaulay Culkin slap his cheeks with both hands and scream in the mirror. When I was a teenager and going through my 80s phase, I watched a lot of John Hughes movies and paired it with a helping of Joy Division and Kate Bush. I fell in love with the romanticized, almost shoegaze-y, pastel glow of these 80s teen movie classics. But I didn’t realize that the director of some of these movies seemed to have a pretty homogenous take on what his view of teen life is.

In Sixteen Candles, a really whiny girl named Samantha is pissed because her oh-so-cruel parents forgot her birthday, although they literally had a million things going on. They even apologize about it, wholeheartedly after they realize they fucked up. It wasn’t like her parents were evil people who just didn’t like Sam. They just made an honest mistake. Her dad even consoles her after Sam cries about not being able to date the guy she barely knows, has never spoken to and only likes because he’s hot. But that’s a major component of the movie. I get that Sam was basically feeling unimportant even though she was going through a major life change, but I mean, nothing really happens in this movie except a bunch of sexist, racist bullshit.

Besides Jake basically allowing someone to potentially date rape his ex girlfriend–who was, might I add was not even an asshole to the protagonist and was, if anything, just cocky and a bit conceited but her whole existence was to show how she’s the “wrong” type of girl and Sam is the “right” type of girl–what the fuck were they really gonna do? Jake is all of 18 or 19 and Sam is 16. Not only is this illegal but…you don’t even know each other? And to top it all off, they insert a wacky Asian stereotype into the mix, gleefully poking fun at the fact that he is not white.

Then there’s the cute little scene beforehand where Sam and her stupid friend discuss birthday gifts. When she thinks Sam wants a black guy and a pink Trans Am, she steps back in horror at the thought of her bestie letting an ugly black dick enter her sweet, pink domain. When Sam reassures that no, you got the colors wrong, she rolls her eyes in relief. 

Then you have Hughes’ white entitlement series called National Lampoon’s, in which one white guy from the all-white city known as Chicago with a family decides to make their vacation the best as it possibly can be, and when it starts to unravel due to his own dumb ass decisions, he turns into a psychopath and resorts to illegal measures. But he doesn’t get into trouble. Ever! No jail, no community service, no nothing. This man has held up an amusement park hostage with a fake gun, basically been an accessory to a kidnapping, had a SWAT team called on him, stole money from a hotel, accidentally killed a dog, etc. But does he ever get punished? Of course not! He’s a white guy, just a well-meaning type o’ guy who just wants to do right by his unappreciative family. Oh, and I love the bit in the first of these movies where he points his gun at the black cop and makes him get down on the ground, humiliating him. I also loved the scene where they were driving through the “hood” and a guy comes over to his station wagon bouncing a fucking basketball. At night. Sometimes I wonder if John Hughes had even seen a black person in real life.

I get really fucking irritated thinking of all the angsty little white teens who collectively worship movies like The Breakfast Club who can see themselves on television displaying all the emotions they feel, but someone like me can’t even see a black woman as an extra. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black woman in a John Hughes movie in any capacity unless in a service position. And I’ve seen very few black men. But then again, what could I really have expected from the era that gave us the Reagan administration?