Some friends visited us recently from out of town, and I was excited for them to come to our new house (well, new to us).
“I love your neighborhood!” my friend said as she got out of the car. And then her husband said, “It looks like Ferris Bueller is going to be running across the lawns and jumping fences any minute.”
Oh my gosh. I might have gotten a little teary-eyed. That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.
Joking aside, it really was a cool thing to hear. I’m a huge John Hughes fan, so if my world looks anything like the one where his memorable characters lived and his true-to-life stories were told, that’s a good thing. Hughes’s movies reflected awkward but lovable teenagers navigating the challenges of adolescence and family life; and while some of the conflicts might have seemed like the end of the world to the characters, there really was always a feel-good ending around the corner.
I just wish there was a John Hughes world awaiting my kids in their teenage years. High school in the 80s seemed so much simpler…the list of horrible school tragedies included a group of boys paying to see your stolen undies, skipping school and almost getting caught, or even having to spend Saturday in detention with a bunch of misfits. I'm sorry to be so dramatic, but doesn’t that list seem a lot more manageable than the threat of bullying to the point of suicide, opioid overdoses, and school shootings? I’d pick Hughes’s tragic high school experiences any day.
Hughes was a master of character development as well. So many character “types” that usually weren’t the center of storylines found their way into Hughes’s tales; and he always gave the “nerds” their due respect. This realism is exactly what I love about these movies, and what I would wish for my children as they grow and develop into their own little characters. Just do you, babe! Everyone is perfect and “script-worthy” in their own unique way.
I know this is a little bit of a crazy daydream, but who doesn’t want to live in a world where their uncle threatens to have a rat gnaw a mole off their principal’s face? Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where a kid left behind in his family home can scare away a couple of burglars with hilarious booby traps? And who wouldn’t want to live in a world where you could bring your own perfect girlfriend to life through a computer program while wearing a bra on your head? (Okay, maybe not everyone would be into that last one.)
So, again, I’ll take the compliment that my neighborhood resembles one from the magnificent movie mind of John Hughes, especially since we are indeed very far from Shermer, Illinois. I love that these tree-lined streets look like ones Ferris could run down at any moment or maybe Molly Ringwald could drive down with Bender, Jake Ryan, or Duckie. I might not be able to create a perfect world for my children, but I can try…even if that means buying a house in a neighborhood straight out of an 80s movie.
P.S. If any of these references are lost on you, you have some movie-watching to do. Seriously, a John Hughes binge will be well-worth your time. You're welcome.