My generation is every bit as annoying about John Hughes movies as the Baby Boomers are about all of their Age Of Aquarius stuff, and with good reason. Hughes was a prolific screenwriter whose career spanned thirty years, with the peak of his fame hitting during my teen angst years.
From 1984 to 1988 Hughes wrote ten movies and directed six, among them the finest, most on-point teen comedies ever made.
Part of what made a John Hughes movie great was the soundtrack. In some cases song and movie have become so intertwined it’s hard to think of one without the other — Yello’s “Oh Yeah” and Ferris Bueller, for example, or “Don’t You Forget About Me” and The Breakfast Club.
So here we go, some favorite musical moments from some favorite John Hughes pictures:
“If You Were Here,” Thompson Twins. From Sixteen Candles. Shut up, I am not crying. I had onions for lunch. On a dirty plate.
“We Are Not Alone,” Karla DeVito. Look, the nod for The Breakfast Club obviously goes to Simple Minds so let’s move on. Not really a fan of this song, but it evokes both the eighties dance montage and the Molly Ringwald dance. Come on!
“Tenderness,” General Public. Sure, Oingo Boingo’s “Weird Science” is more closely associated with the film of the same name, but I went with “Tenderness” because Hughes liked it enough to use it in two films. Although not on the soundtrack of Sixteen Candles you’ll hear it there, too.
Full disclosure: I absolutely hated this song when it came out. I still don’t think I’m over Dave and Ranking Roger breaking up The English Beat.
“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” The Dream Academy. Another example of Hughes going to the well more than once. He later used The Smiths’ original version in Pretty In Pink, but this instrumental version from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is amazing, as is the scene it accompanies.
For Pretty In Pink should we go with the Psychedelic Furs title cut or OMD’s “If You Leave”? Neither, let’s go for “Bring On the Dancing Horses” from Echo and the Bunnymen.
“The Hardest Walk,” The Jesus and Mary Chain. What? A movie about an angst-ridden teen artist and the cute little blond who loves him? I’ll take two, please. Here’s a cut from Some Kind Of Wonderful, the last great John Hughes teen epic, even if he didn’t direct it.
All right, let’s hear it. Lay on me your favorites from Mr. Mom, Vacation, and Baby’s Day Out. I’m listening.