Category: Movie Talk


Inception: “Take a Leap of Faith”

I have watched Inception a total count of four times so far. Not only is that about seven and a half hours’ worth of oogling at Leonardo Dicaprio, but also of viewing a spectacular film dealing with the human’s subconscious. “Inception” is about a spy named Cobb (Leo) who agrees in a deal to take on a highly dangerous job of entering dreams to extract information as well as perform “inception” in order to go back home to his children in America. He constructs a highly talented team to assist him with the task, but there’s a part of Cobb’s own subconscious that just may disrupt their plan for good.

The idea of inception and extraction through the subconscious and people interacting in their dreams are all very intriguing ideas, but not unheard of. However, the fact that they were able to pull this off realistically (in an ironic sort of way) in a movie is magnificent. Being able to change things in a fake reality however you want it? Move roads and make glass shatter and build a bridge simply by will? Innovative? Heck yes. As the team of dream experts are constantly trying to go deeper and deeper into their victim’s subconscious, Cobb himself has an inner battle going on within himself. What’s so crazy and brilliant about this is that while Cobb is the master at screwing around with minds, he can’t even control his own. 

The script is one of the most important factors in understanding this movie. Not only do the characters explain to each other (and thus to the audience as well) about the dream world (Aye! Who wants to take a vaca down in Limbo?), but constant repetition of the same motifs, in script as well as images (such as the spinning dreidel), helps everything make sense in the end. You don’t know why some characters whisper certain phrases like “take a leap of faith,” but as the plot develops and mysteries begin to unfold, there’s always a sense of deja vu that comes back. The words come to haunt us as they haunt the characters.

In addition, the visual effects are excellent and the action is non-stop. Without giving away too much, “Inception” definitely brings “fast-paced” up to a whole new level. You’ll jump at the edge of your seat, and drop your jaw without even knowing it. You become so connected with the characters and with who they are and their situations that it is nerve-wrecking, even mind-blowing, to constantly see them in danger. With every risk they take, you realize all the more how important this mission is, and how every one of them is willing to do anything to make sure that the team sees it through.

-Wendy Lu

Horror Films Make Me Laugh

Another sector of the American media that continually befuddles me is — you guessed it — horror flicks. I guess one part of it is that I’ve never really understood the point of them. To scare you? I don’t like to be scared — is that such a weird thing to admit aloud? It seems like a common sense thing to me. “That movie was so good, I had nightmares!” …Right.

But it’s a moot point. I don’t find anything to scare me in most American horror films anyways. The only horrifying thing about them is their storylines (or lack thereof). No, that’s not true; the acting may be worse.

But as a writer, I automatically have the worst possible perspective on horror films. Find me a horror film that isn’t riddled with poorly-woven plots and unrealistic characters, and I’ll find you one without a saggy romance stuffed full of cheesy dialogue. Horror films are by nature sensationalist; they play to your emotions first and answer questions later (or not at all); and I cannot condone such behavior in storytelling.

The horror genre also falls into extremely predictable ruts. I feel like a seer every time I watch a horror flick because I can tell five minutes in advance when a scary, jump-out-of-your-seat moment is coming. The eternal army of netherworldly characters — zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and so on — has lost its fear factor, as far as I’m concerned. Originality is hard to come by with horror flicks, but that doesn’t stop producers from squeezing out contrived crowd-pleasers year after year.

Consider another genre: war movies. Some would say that war movies are all the same, stoic stereotypes leading their motley but brave troops into battles in which one or all of them will die. True, war movies may all have similar plot lines, but at least they have good messages (as long as that message is “war is hell”), and their subjects deserve some respect. Plus, war actually happened. Horror films, on the other hand, have no point other than immediate entertainment.

“Serial killer” horror movies have some redeeming value because at least their subjects really exist (and thus are more frightening but, wouldn’t you know it, that’s not a turn-on for me). True, not all horror films are equally awful, but I can’t lie when I say that I notice similar trends in every horror flick.

I won’t say I’ve never been afraid or jumped up during a scary movie — “The Sixth Sense” scared the living poop out of me when I was little, and yes, I will jump maybe once or twice sometimes if a horror film is any good whatsoever. But I think scary music is the one thing that really rattles me – and quick, high-pitched sounds can make anyone jump.

But as a rule, I’m done sitting there shaking helplessly during horror movies. Instead, I laugh at them. I admit, it can be pretty funny trying to predict what jump is around the next corner, or what uninspired character will die next. I just can’t take it seriously anymore.

– Tim Freer

Okay, so this year has been pretty tough on movies. We had a long series of summer flops saved only by the box-office success of “Inception,” and the fall-winter line up didn’t look to be much more impressive. I was just about to hand in the towel and give up on 2010 as a year for movies when The Social Network came along. I’ll admit it, I was more than a little skeptical that the “Facebook” movie was already here, but from all accounts, it was supposed to be a good movie.

Well, all accounts were wrong.  The Social Network isn’t a good movie; it’s a great movie, and possibly one of the most culturally relevant films to come out in the past several years. The movie follows Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, from his days at Harvard trying to get into a Final Club through the creation of Facebook, its success and ultimately his legal battles with those who helped get him there, including his best friend and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin.

The movie moves quickly and keeps audiences captivated with some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve heard in years and a solid use of flashback/flashforwards as narrative devices.  The acting was solid and the film boasts one of the most impressive scores ever. The boating crew race, set to a rock adaptation of “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” is quite possibly one of the best scenes I have ever seen and will make any film fan geek out with joy.

The movie tracks not only the path of Zuckerberg as he becomes the youngest billionaire in the world, but also follows the growing social impact of Facebook itself. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to remember a time before Facebook came around. If you’re a senior, you were a sophomore in high school when it began, freshmen were still in middle school, and it has changed the way people, especially college students, socialize.

Social Networking used to be limited to personal blogs and other sites such as MySpace; Facebook, however, took the whole game to a new level and now dominates not only the social networking scene, but the entire internet. Google recently released a list of the top 13 websites visited in 2010. Facebook was No. 1 with over 570 billion page visits, consuming more than 35 percent of all Internet use in the United States. The No. 2 website, Yahoo, received 70 billion page visits – a mere 12 percent of Facebook’s traffic.

Anyone who has a Facebook account should definitely make a point to go see this movie because whether you would like to admit it or not, this movie is in part about you and how one little website created by a Harvard computer science geek changed the way you share your lives with your friends, family and the world.

Also, buy the soundtrack. It’s amazing.

– Samantha Ryan

Working class love: “The Shop Around the Corner”

I was talking with someone this week about the lack of film knowledge among the people in my generation.  It’s true.  The majority of us are film illiterate.

Just because you’ve seen The Godfather (’72) and Taxi Driver (’76) doesn’t mean you know about film.  It’s a start, but about the equivalent of reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and saying you’re versed in the classics.

We ended the conversation affirming something I’ve known for awhile now: my moral obligation to pass along the films that I’ve seen to others. Don’t confuse this as a statement of vanity.

We could argue all day about whether film needs saving.  I’m arguing that people need saving, and film can help.  Film is contagious.  It has a way of grabbing your mind and soul and not letting go.  If we root ourselves in good film, at the end of the day, we can all be film preservationists.

If you’ve ever seen a film that no one else you know has seen, it’s a bittersweet experience. On one hand, you feel like you’re the owner of a terrific secret while simultaneously you feel a great emptiness when you realize everyone else you know isn’t in on the secret.  So share it!

And so, we find ourselves in Budapest, Hungary at, well…the typical shop around the corner in Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner (’40).  It’s a charming place, busy with the hum of the proletariat, working hard but never getting ahead on their small wages.

Against this backdrop, we find one of the best romantic comedies of the Golden Age of Hollywood between Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart. The Shop Around the Corner is one of the film gems that I mentioned earlier.  Admittedly respected among film buffs, it’s wrongfully fallen into obscurity as the lesser companion to better-known comedies of the era such as The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby (’38) or His Girl Friday (’40).

If you’ve ever held down a service job, you’ve probably worked at a place like Matuschek and Co.  There’s the overbearing boss, the snobby dandy, the brash kid, the older man ticking off the days until retirement, the young man unhappy with his place in the world (Stewart) and the newly hired go-getter (Sullivan).  Stereotypes were common in early Hollywood pictures, but Lubitsch’s characters come across as familiar friends and associates rather than offensive caricatures.  The film deals with such serious topics as suicide, depression, joblessness and adultery.

The film’s hook is the relationship between Stewart and Sullivan, and it’s not a stretch to see the same kind of knowing, honest comedy fans see between Pam and Jim in The Office. Stewart’s relationship with Sullivan begins on a sour note as he tries to convince her there are no vacant positions at Matuschek and Co.  Sullivan, desperate for work, won’t hear it.  She impresses Mr. Matuschek (Frank Morgan, best known for his portrayal of the Wizard in Wizard of Oz (‘39)) to such a degree that he hires her as a full-time clerk, leaving Stewart with egg on his face.

While Stewart’s professional life might not be going according to plan, his personal life is red hot. He’s in love with a woman he’s met through a personal ad in the newspaper.  They write letters to one another, filling them with passionate, intelligent language.  As far as he’s concerned, Stewart’s met the love of his life in the Mystery Woman at the end of those letters.

Sullivan has also found her true love through written correspondence.  More than once, she points out the fact that Stewart could never be as intelligent and romantic as her Mystery Man.  All the while, the two give each other grief about the petty things we encounter in our daily lives.  If this premise sounds somewhat familiar, it was remade in 1998 as You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, which does a good job capturing the farce and good nature of the original.

The action is bound to only a couple of locations, but the character interactions are so enjoyable, that we barely notice the change in scenes anymore than we would for a stage play.  However, for such a simple production, Lubitsch’s photography is excellent.  Stewart and Co. are captured in rich black and white. Lubitsch is constantly moving the camera and there are some amazing dolly shots, particularly in the scene where Sullivan excitedly sticks her hand in the post office box only to find it empty.

The film’s writing, acting and technical achievements remind us that The Shop Around the Corner is a special comedy and one that deserves to be shared like love… or a letter.

– Jonathan Michels

Dede Allen: A Cut Above

Three weeks ago, on April 17, the world lost a great artist. Dede Allen was the premier film editor.  Just one of her many films would be enough to cement her place in history.  Her film credits include: The Hustler (’61), Reds (’81), Bonnie & Clyde (’67), The Breakfast Club (’85) and Wonder Boys (’00).

Undoubtedly an inspiration to other female editors like Thelma Schoonmaker, Allen asserted her own influence and creative personality into her work like few editors before her.  She became known as one of the first “auteur” film editors, not an easy feat considering the strong personalities she worked with: Warren Beatty, Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn and Sydney Lumet, to name a few.

You’ll often hear people argue that a film’s editing should be delicate and balanced enough so the audience isn’t aware of the cuts.  While I understand this sentiment, and perhaps on some level even agree with them, such critics don’t understand or appreciate the artistry and craft of film editing.

It seems like each time Allen made a cut or spliced film, she chipped away at these stereotypes. But she understood the importance of story.  Nothing was more important than the story.

Dede Allen was 87 years old.

NPR broadcast a great tribute to Allen.  Follow this link to hear it at NPR.org.

– Jonathan Michels

An Evening with Peter Bogdanovich

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Peter Bogdanovich attended the screening of his film “Paper Moon” at the RiverRun International Film Festival in April to accept the Festival’s Master of Cinema Award.  He’s also teaching a class this fall at the N.C. School of the Arts.  Apart from his work behind the camera, he’s famous for his tireless work on behalf of film preservation.  You can see him in dozens of making-of documentaries on classic film DVDs like Budd Boetticher’s “Seven Men From Now” (’56) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (’58).

His film articles for Esquire magazine led to a series of interviews with the great directors of the Golden Era of Hollywood, including Orson Welles and Howard Hawks.  These culminated in the classic documentary, “Directed by John Ford” (’71), and it remains one of the most candid portraits of the great American director on record.

After the screening, Bogdanovich slowly shuffled onto the stage of the ACE Theatre.  He might not move as quickly as he used to, but there’s still fire in the man’s eyes.  And they burn for film. He was dressed in his identifiable uniform: jacket and scarf.  For half an hour or so, he let us into his world, seeing film through his eyes.  He is greatly respectful of the medium, but never takes the trappings of fame or craft too seriously.  He was completely down-to-earth.

Throughout the evening, we witnessed his frighteningly accurate impersonations of stars from Jimmy Stewart to Orson Welles.  And his personal stories capture his love for film.  He recounted the time he called Orson Welles to ask for his opinion on the title, “Paper Moon.”  “It’s great!” Welles told Bogdanovich.  “It’s so good, don’t make the movie, just release the title!”

Oh, and he doesn’t like it when people say, “I just watched an old movie.”  Does anyone say I just saw that old Shakespeare play? he asked.  Does anyone sit down and listen to that old Mozart opera?  So why should it be any different for film?

The former dean of the N.C. School of the Arts presented the director with the award.  It wasn’t much bigger than a paperweight and looked like a crystal ball.  Bogdanovich, a smirk on his face, curled his fingers around it to predict the future.   “I see great things,” he joked.

If his future is anything like his past, it should be a bright one.

– Jonathan Michels

Taken by Amanda Porter-Cox

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –While this year’s RiverRun International Film Festival at the N.C. School of the Arts offered film buffs dozens of new narrative, documentary and short features, it’s ironic that I would choose to see a film made in 1973.  On Friday, April 23, I rode the bus up a steep hill to the School’s ACE Theatre.  I didn’t know what to expect to find in “Paper Moon,” but as I stared up at the gorgeous black and white print, on loan from Paramount, I fell into a state of film euphoria.  “This,” I thought, “is why we go to the movies.”

By 1972, Peter Bogdanovich had scored back-to-back hits with “The Last Picture Show” (’71) and “What’s Up, Doc?” (’72).  So, at the height of his power, what does he do?  Bogdanovich gambled on directing a Depression Era story in black and white, the complete antithesis of the typical ‘70s picture.

Although Bogdanovich cast one of the most popular stars of the ‘70s, Ryan O’Neal, it didn’t mesh with the other stand-out films of that year like “American Graffiti,” “Deliverance” and “Soylent Green.”  Admittedly classic films, they were heavy-handed, unabashed products of their time that echoed the political and cultural divisions of the early ‘70s.

“Paper Moon” tells the story of nine-year-old Addie (Tatum O’Neal) and Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal), a friend of her recently deceased mother who may or may not be Addie’s father.  The film opens on an extreme close-up of Addie’s scowling face. It’s an opening more reminiscent of Sergio Leone than “The Grapes of Wrath” (’40), but right away, we know we’re watching something we’ve never seen before.

In the first five minutes, we know everything we need to know about our two characters.  Moses is a huckster.  He plucks the flowers from a nearby gravesite to place on his dead lover’s casket.  Later, we discover he prowls the obituaries to sell Bibles, deluxe Bibles, to the family members of the recently deceased.  He tells them the dead ordered it expressly for them.  Addie demands honesty… and her $200, which Moses swiped from under her nose.

Even among the period clothing, hairstyles, vintage cars and Jack Benny radio programs, there’s a definite modernist spin to the film.  Addie puffs away on her cigarettes like she’s eating candy.  She grew up fatherless, and seems to compensate for the loss by sacrificing her femininity.  It’s reawakened when she meets Moses (spelled ‘Moze’ by Addie), and perhaps the sweetest moment of the picture comes as she stands in front of the mirror dousing perfume on herself, shaking her hips.

The film’s appeal is also indebted to the extraordinary work of cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs (a Bogdanovich regular), screenwriter Alvin Sargent, and the supporting cast, including Madeline Kahn, P. J. Johnson and John Hillerman.

See it.

– Jonathan Michels

Name That Movie (Better)

You ever wonder where writers come up with movie titles?

Half the time, the titles make sense and we understand what the movie is going to be about. “Date Night,” “Death at a Funeral” and especially “Hot Tub Time Machine” are pretty self-explanatory.

But there are some movie names that I just don’t get.

So I’m going to play a game. Looking at a list of movies coming out this summer, I’m gonna take a stab at what each one is about without having read a description or looked at the poster. Game on, Hollywood.

Mother's Day

“Iron Man 2” – The story of Iron Man’s son, Iron Man II.

“Letters to Juliet” – the follow-up to “Dear John.”

“Stone” – The Rock has an identity crisis.

“Mother’s Day” – a loving story about a family celebrating Mother’s Day.

“Robin Hood” – a white man named Robin moves to the Bronx. Hilarity and cultural understanding ensue.

“Shrek 4 Ever After” – Shrek becomes immortal.

Splice

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” – A prince must defeat an opponent in Pictionary before the sand in the timer runs out.

“Sex and the City 2” – everyone has sex twice?

“Killers” – A band of ordinary citizens are hired by the CIA to assassinate terrorists. “Mr. Brightside” plays in the background.

“Marmaduke” – a documentary of how the jam gets made, from the factory to your kitchen! Wait… that’s marmalade

“Splice” – Slacker bio majors start a pizza chain in NYC.

“Get him to the Greek” – A dude must transport another dude to Greece, perhaps to consult with the mythological Greek gods about an STD.

“The A-Team” – Well they had to name the movie this, no one would go watch the flippin’ C-Team.

Jonah Hex

“Jonah Hex” – Jonah Hill plays a cursed teenager.

“Grown Ups” – a spin-off of “Parenthood”?

“Eclipse” – Sequel to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but in documentary form. Morgan Freeman narrates.

“Knight and Day” – Story of an insomniac horseman.

“The Last Airbender” – Two hotshot Frisbee teams from opposite sides of the track face off to see who will rule the park (coincidentally positioned between their neighborhoods) for the summer.

“Leaves of Grass” – A gardener creates a mutant. It’s Frankenstein for the botanist.

“Predators” – Human traffickers are pursued by cops.

Despicable Me

“Despicable Me” – A serious, Oscar-worthy drama about a woman’s descent into drug use.

“Inception” – A porno?

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – Harry Potter looks back on his childhood. Dumbledore narrates.

“Ramona and Beezus” – A tale of two lovers. It is uncertain whether one of them is a cartoon.

“Salt” – Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but sodium for 30 days.

“Beastly” – Sequel to “Beauty and the Beast.” The Beast gets his revenge.

Takers

“I Love You Philip Morris” – It’s “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” but for guys.

“The Other Guys” – The ones who didn’t win a date with Tad Hamilton.

“Eat Pray Love” – An overweight, middle-aged woman comes to terms with her body, and life and religion in the process.

“Priest” – A church father looks back and tells his coming-of-age tale. Mel Gibson directs.

“Scott Pilgrim v. the World” – A grueling look at pilgrims coming over on the Santa Maria; they fight the Native Americans for territory.

“The Expendables” – Story of those who auditioned but didn’t get cast in “The A-Team.”

“Takers” – Shoplifters fight the system.

– Sonya Chudgar

Tim Burton in Wonderland

This past year, Tim Burton comes off a career-high with the simultaneous release of “Alice in Wonderland” and the opening of a collection from his personal oeuvre at the New York Museum of Modern Art.  Is this the Year of Tim Burton? Many die-hard fans would like to think so, but before we get all gushy, let’s examine the work.

It has all the makings of a Tim Burton classic. Johnny Depp stars, Danny Elfman scores, and Chris Lebenzon edits, but “Alice in Wonderland” won’t change cinema. On the surface, Lewis Carroll’s 19th century novel fits perfectly with some of Tim Burton’s larger themes of fantasy vs. reality and loss of innocence. And, of course, it lends a great deal of freedom to a visual master like Burton.

Interestingly, the writers present the remake as a sort of quasi-sequel. In the film, Alice is 19 years old.  By nature, Alice is a dreamer, and she doesn’t look too deeply into recurring dreams of adventures in a strange wonderland. Instead, she focuses on more pressing, real problems. Her family plots to marry her off to a boring and unworldly bachelor.

These problems threaten to snuff out her youth. Alice swears she sees the white rabbit and she begins her adventure by following him down the shaft of a rabbit hole. In Burton’s vision, I wonder if the appearance of the white rabbit isn’t the creation of a desperate dreamer whose mind is being taken over by …life. Although we’re invited to believe Alice has never visited Wonderland, there’s something familiar about these events.

Part of the fun stems from the filmmakers’ acknowledgement that the majority of the audience already knows Carroll’s story before they walk into the theater. They’ve taken a familiar story and put a fresh spin on it. The first hour of the film is a wonder. Every trick of the eye and surprising voice talent moves the viewer soaring through Wonderland. But sadly, the film doesn’t continue the momentum.

The second half of the film sags under the weight of its updated storyline. Fans will be disappointed when they realize Burton’s Wonderland resembles Middle Earth more than it does the 1951 Disney classic. Burton’s films have always relied on visual strength and less on literary prowess.  Ironically, in a film about the conflicting forces of fantasy and reality, Burton’s visual strength is trumped by a defined storyline that leaves little wriggle room for creative impulses.

For Burton, “Wonderland” is an aesthetic departure on a few planes. First, he used color to great dramatic effect. By desaturating the color of Alice’s insipid Victorian reality, he is able to contrast the vivid color of Wonderland, Alice’s fantasy.  Burton has already proven himself to be a master of shades of blacks and grays and heavy-handed primary colors (think “Edward Scissorhands”). Remember, this is a man who insisted that “Ed Wood” be shot in black-and-white.

Second, Wonderland is a world created almost entirely using CG effects. Burton dabbled in the use of this technique in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), another remake. But here, Burton is limited only by what his imagination can put on the screen. Watching the film, I was reminded how disappointing it was to see such a visual storyteller flail in what is quickly becoming a computer-driven medium. Burton does more to stimulate my imagination with paper and pen than he does with all of the effects of “Alice.”

Kudos to Rejendra Roy, 37, chief curator of film at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Roy unveiled the museum’s Tim Burton exhibit to smashing success. In March, the New York Times reported that 450,000 people had visited the exhibit since it opened in November.

Exhibition pieces range in medium, from 2-D paintings, to drawings, and sculpture. Burton’s importance in film is finally being recognized as terms like “Burtonesque” are thrown attached to works that looks particularly dark or deranged. But the exhibit represents a nod for the creative genius of Tim Burton the man, not just the filmmaker.

I was only five years old when my jaw dropped onto the sticky floor of my second church: the movie house. Up until that point, my early childhood memories were fairly typical: pain and ecstasy.  I remember every stubbed toe and scraped knee.

But my earliest memory of joy came during a matinee showing of Tim Burton’s “Batman” (’89). To a five-year-old kid, it was the Sistine Chapel, the touch of life. One could argue that “Batman” didn’t change cinema either, but it sure did change that five-year-old boy.

– Jonathan Michels

And the winner is… John Hughes

John Hughes, 1950-2009

The Academy of Arts and Sciences made history this year. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the best filmmaker award for The Hurt Locker.  The Academy picked Mo’Nique for her role in Precious, becoming only the fourth African-American woman to win an Oscar.  And Avatar won the award for best cinematography.  Strange though, that most of it was created in a computer…

But one of the biggest winners of the night came from someone who never won a gold statue.  A surprising tribute was delivered to the late John Hughes from stars of his biggest films, including Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald, Macaulay Culkin and Ally Sheedy.

Frequently underestimated and criminally unappreciated, Hughes was the ultimate Hollywood outsider. He didn’t make movies in New York or Europe either, choosing instead to film in Chicago.  In case you’d forgotten, Chicago is in the Midwest.  You could even go so far as to say that Chicago was a character in Hughes’ films, as it does in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (‘86).  And of course, Steve Martin wants nothing more than to get back to the Windy City in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (‘87), even if it means going cross-country with John Candy (“Those aren’t pillows!”).

Hughes will always be known for making ‘80s teen movies.  But if anyone doubts his status as a great filmmaker, please observe that movies like Sixteen Candles (’84) or The Breakfast Club (’85) didn’t exist before Hughes and nobody’s made any quite like them since.  Hughes was one of the first writer/directors to deal with the teenage American experience with honesty and realism. He showed the brutality, even cruelty of teenage life and he did it with a light touch.  I’m still mesmerized when Cameron begins violently kicking the hood of his father’s Ferrari in Ferris Bueller.  My stomach turns when it punches through the garage window.  And of course, it’s funny, too.

I never got the impression that Hughes was living out his lost childhood through his films and I couldn’t begin to comprehend why he made the films he did.  All I know for sure is that he did make them and he made them well.

John Hughes was 59 when he passed.  If he had lived a bit longer, I’d like to believe that a biopic about his life might end this way:

INT. ACADEMY AWARDS — DAY

JOHN HUGHES walks onto stage.  “Everytime You Go Away” by Blue Room plays over scene.  Hughes takes the lifetime achievement award from STEVE MARTIN.  He waves to the audience.

FREEZE-FRAME: Hughes smiling.

FADE TO BLACK

– Jonathan Michels