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March 24, 2008 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes? Related: Whatever Happened to John Hughes? which has an accompanying photo gallery: Where are Hughes' teen stars now? [A previous post about John Hughes here.]
posted by amyms (69 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Automobile?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:11 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Related to related: Whatever happened to John Hughes' son, formerly of Bill Ding.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:15 PM on March 24, 2008


...The Breakfast Club," which no less an authority than Courtney Love once called "the defining moment of the alternative generation."

Ahh yes, the defining moment when we all discovered that Courtney Love was full of shit.
posted by mattoxic at 10:17 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Juno," "A Beautiful Mind," and all of paul haggis' Oscar-bait will be utterly forgotten in 20 years. But people will still be watching "The breakfast club" in 100 years, maybe 1000.

You can fake it to win awards, but you can't fake soul, or whatever you want to call it.

that said, the Donger was not Hughes' finest hour. We get it, John, he's Asian. You don't have to ring a gong every time he comes onscreen.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 PM on March 24, 2008


And, says Watanabe: "We really need an Asian-American star, and it hasn't happened."

Well, there's this guy, but when was the last time he made more than fifteen million a picture?
posted by bunnytricks at 10:25 PM on March 24, 2008


Don't ask me why but when ever I read "John Hughes" I parse it as "John Waters". What kind of medicine do I need to correct this?
posted by nola at 10:37 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh. I never really like John Hughes's movies. But if Judd Apatow likes them, I'll have to take a second look.
posted by orthogonality at 10:37 PM on March 24, 2008


nola writes "Don't ask me why but when ever I read 'John Hughes' I parse it as 'John Waters'. What kind of medicine do I need to correct this?"

Divine medicine.
posted by orthogonality at 10:38 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Juno," "A Beautiful Mind," and all of paul haggis' Oscar-bait will be utterly forgotten in 20 years. But people will still be watching "The breakfast club" in 100 years, maybe 1000.

You can fake it to win awards, but you can't fake soul, or whatever you want to call it.


John Hughes' films always feature something or other that bothers me in some way. Donger is only one of the elements in Sixteen Candles. Another is the fact that in order to be considered cool by your peers you need to drink yourself under the table, get drag-out stoned, or have sex. I should say that I was first exposed to Hughes' movies long after they had been the hot topic; they are not of my g-g-g-generation. It is true that of all of his films Breakfast Club is the one with soul. And as much as I love it, there are two things that really irk me about it. 1) the fact that, as stated above, the fact that they only start relating to each other after smoking pot. Instead of some good writing that would justify this odd bunch becoming friends Hughes takes the easy way out; 2) Ally Sheedy's character's transformation. It is not true that they learn to accept each other as they are, or she wouldn't have had to go through the makeover. Her character is betrayed, and so any significance to the jock dating the freak is lost.

Even with those shortcomings, the point of the movie comes across loud and clear: the generational gap has never closed and when you are a teen you feel like an alien, trapped inside your own body and circumstances, with the rest of the world trying to keep you there. It never fails, whenever the reading of the letter comes around and Bender raises his fist into the air, in what is both angry defiance and joyful triumph, I always cry like an idiot.
posted by RayOrama at 10:48 PM on March 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Long Duk Dong character is originally from the story that spawned my favorite John Hughes movie, Christmas Vacation. In Christmas '59 the character's name is Xgung Wo and he's an alcoholic College student from Thailand, and Hughes writes all of his dialogue phonetically, of course. This combined with the use of the gong in 16 candles forces me to the opinion that John Hughes was a shitty writer. Which is too bad, cause I REALLY like Christmas Vacation.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:51 PM on March 24, 2008


**Looks through the photo galleries. Has visions of Time's winged chariot driven by a bejowled Judd Nelson. A similarly aged Ally Sheedy as the snickering eternal footman John Hughes no longer represents the potential of youth for me. His films have become a large blinking neon sign announcing my inevitable demise **

Oh god, I am so fucking old.
posted by bibliowench at 11:11 PM on March 24, 2008


I've been waiting for that NPR piece or something like it for a long, long time, but I was disappointed. Gedde Watanabe sounds almost mystified that he gets accosted when he's recognized by Asian-Americans.

If there's a God, then there's a hell, and I hope that Gedde Watanabe's hell involves soaking up every single bit of Long Duk Dong-related abuse every vaguely Asian-looking kid had to put up with. Watanabe was in his thirties at the time, and the eighties wasn't that long ago. It wasn't the stone ages. Even then, he should have known better.

When I saw him on ER, I was amazed. Someone who voluntarily stoops that low should never, ever work again, unless it's in a dunking booth at the county fair.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:19 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The photo galleries of the John Hughes stars have proved one thing to me. I was right in junior high - Cameron Fry *is* hotter than Ferris Bueller.
posted by Gucky at 11:22 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gosh, Freshwater -- you've got some balls to wish Gedde so much ill. He's pretty aware of himself and the place the role sits in the culture, and states in the story that he was naive about the role when he did it. Hindsight and all that, huh? Placing all the blame on him and wishing that he never worked again seems extreme. Hoping he burns in hell seems inane. He's an actor. 99% of the blame for a role like that should be pointed at John Hughes, and the rest split equally among the producer, the executive in charge of production, and Gedde. If the two guys from Giant Robot can understand the dichotomy in his situation, perhaps you can too.

As for the elements of The Breakfast Club that make you squirm, RayORama, that's actually the point. See, the kids are so fucked up that the only thing that makes them bond is the weed, and the only way the jock will date the freak is if she isn't a freak. He isn't saying that the stereotypes can be broken down and that high school cliques can be conquered -- he's saying that they're eternal and everlasting, and even in a closed situation like this, where they have every last chance to become friends, only weed or physical transformation will allow it to happen. When Brian points out to Claire that she won't talk to any of them come Monday, she denies it, but that's a lie. He's right; she won't even nod in Bender's direction. And Bender will surely beat up Brian. And Allison will try to hang out with Andy, but he and his friends will laugh at her. In this place, they can change, but outside of it, back in the real world, they're exactly the same and always will be.

At least, that's how I see the movie. Grim, huh? But that's also why I think it's his masterpiece -- there's a lot more going on than what's on the surface, and it's far darker than the basic tone lets on.
posted by incessant at 11:52 PM on March 24, 2008 [19 favorites]


Yes, the Donger was pretty offensive, but John Hughes is not a shitty writer. I must admit, I'm a little biased on this count, but still, his good movies touched me in a way that few have. And that's what they were, not films, but movies, in the best sense of that word. They didn't aspire to be Oscar winners. They aspired to be memorable entertainment with a touch of soul. And as much as I love the Breakfast Club, the most soulful of them all was undoubtedly Ferris Bueller, with the story of the kid taking his friend out to learn to live life to the fullest, told with zero judgments and no extraneous sex or drugs to get the message across, and the kid kicking a Ferrari out a window at the end and deciding to "take the heat" so that he and his dad can finally talk their shit out. Shitty writing my ass.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:02 AM on March 25, 2008


I thought the correct spelling would be Long Duc Dong.

Which reminds me of a quote from a famous 1982 movie: You know, you're too stupid to even be a good bigot! Not directed at you amyms. It just reminded me, dat's all.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:08 AM on March 25, 2008


The character's negative impact couldn't be as bad as the article makes it out to be. John Hughes movies were a little before my time, but I was in junior high in the early 90s, grew up with a lot of Asians, and my best friend as a kid was the son of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and I've never even heard of this character until today or heard anyone called "Donger". Sure, lots of standard-issue "you know karate?" type shit, but that's it. The negative impact couldn't have lasted much longer than the duration of the movie's popularity, which couldn't have been longer than a year or two. The article makes it out like "Donger" became a permanent, everlasting racial slur because of the movie.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:15 AM on March 25, 2008


DecemberBoy: The character's negative impact couldn't be as bad as the article makes it out to be.

Let me guess, you're not Asian-American. You yourself tell us that you are not of the generation of 'Sixteen Candles'. How are you in any way qualified to tell us what the impact of that stereotype was on Asian-Americans?
posted by gen at 3:46 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't know how I could restate it more clearly. I was of the age where everyone made fun of everyone else in every possible way shortly after the height of the movie's popularity, grew up in a community with many asians and had many asian friends, and never once heard anyone call anyone else "Donger". I would bet that most people who aren't currently around 35 years old would have no idea what "Donger" even means. People who are 25 and under most certainly wouldn't. Therefore, "Donger" was hardly a permanent addition to the lexicon of racial slurs. Were asian kids called that for a brief period in the mid 80s? Apparently, yeah. I'm sure it really sucked to be asian when that movie was at its height of popularity. But they apparently haven't been called that since the mid 80s. The UrbanDictionary definition for "Donger" has one reference to Sixteen Candles, and the rest are mostly about male genitalia. Search Google for it and it's all either direct quotes from the movie or penis references. If it were such a common, current racial slur you'd expect to find someone using it on a forum or something, but no. By contrast, I've heard the "sucky sucky" bit from Full Metal Jacket about a million times. I know who Stepin Fetchit and Amos n' Andy are and they were popular 40 years before I was born.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:59 AM on March 25, 2008


Were John Hughes really that big of a deal? I saw Breakfast Club when it came out and thought it was just another glossy teen move, it didn't really register much; I don't think I've seen any others. They all sound like dumb comedies, what am I missing here?
posted by octothorpe at 5:10 AM on March 25, 2008


RayOrama,
That "pot saves the day" element bothers me too. It bothered me even more in Revenge of the Nerds.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:19 AM on March 25, 2008


Child of the 80's here... yes, John Hughes movies were the bomb. Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and toss in Winona can't finish that because Winona is such an awesome name. Teenage Fapage.

Loved the movies, sorry... never even thought about Long Duc Dong as being any sort of slur. More surprised that the two Asian girls in my school had the same last name but were not related in any way.

Yeah, you're missing out by not being from the generation. I'll watch a John Hughes movie anytime I come across it on the TV. 80's teenager thing. Don't think about it too hard.

What my teenage self wouldn't give to (nevermind...).
posted by zengargoyle at 5:37 AM on March 25, 2008


You all shut up! Pot does save the day!
posted by grubi at 6:18 AM on March 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


John Hughes' films always feature something or other that bothers me in some way. Donger is only one of the elements in Sixteen Candles. Another is the fact that in order to be considered cool by your peers you need to drink yourself under the table, get drag-out stoned, or have sex.

I know what you mean, but this attitude is prevalent in pretty much EVERY Hollywood teen movie. I think Hughes does a good job, comparatively speaking, in presenting it from the viewpoint of the person going through the angst, than the vast majority of teen flicks do. Think of Porky's, for instance. Utter tripe. The thing about Hughes is that in his mixing of princesses, geeks, jocks and stoners, he pretty much gets at least one character in the movie that you can strongly identify with.

For me, it was the Anthony Michale Hall Farmer Ted character- the geeky nerd who didn't let his geekiness stop him. I would have loved to be that outgoing in high school.

I was able to watch the movies in the same vein, I suppose, that John Hughes made them- from the "graduate of adolescence" perspective. They resonated with the uncomfortable memories of my own awkward teen years, but in a way that said, "Don't worry, you haven't been through anything that any of us haven't." He made some sense of adolescence.
posted by Doohickie at 6:21 AM on March 25, 2008


Hey amyms, thanks for this post. I was working on something similar for Drillbit Taylor, but it ended up elsewhere.

Incessant, I think you have it exactly right. There's no way the kids in TBC go back to school on Monday morning and remain friends. In a way, the final freeze frame on Bender and his upraised fist is the giveaway; this is a moment in time that will not, and can not last.

You're also right to point out that much of Hughes classic teen flicks are a little darker than they let on. Hughes admits as much in this article, when he says: The studios never perceived those films as hits - they'd always bring them out in February, which is when the studios usually dump the movies they have no confidence in. Of course, I was naive, I thought, "Fantastic! Right in the middle of that long stretch between Christmas and Spring Break, your coats are getting dirty, everything's dark, dingy - what a great time for a movie!" Especially one that's a little depressing. You see, one of the bits of wisdom I've picked up about adolescence is that joy and sorrow are equally pleasant to a teenager; those extreme states of mind are pretty cool whatever they are!

Anyway, I'm having a hard time resisting the urge to engage in a little shame-full self-promotion, so I'll just cave in... I was just sitting down to write the last few pages of my Master's thesis when I saw this post. It's about "themes of authority and rebellion in American movies about high school." Here's the related blog, and here's the chapter about The Breakfast Club.

Or download here. (It makes reading endnotes much easier).
posted by eric1halfb at 6:58 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know... it's funny, I always did kinda wonder where John Hughes disappeared to, but didn't realize he'd cut ties almost entirely with the film industry. I guess I never thought of Long Duk Dong as anything other than a hero -- that mysterious wildcard who had the night of his life in 16 Candles. Is he really that different than McLovin?

'Course, my absolute fave highschool movies from that era were always the Savage Steve Holland flicks like One Crazy Summer and Better off Dead.
posted by ph00dz at 7:08 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


FWIW, The Breakfast Club would be the... hmmm, what's the term for it?... "worst ageing" movie I've ever seen.

Thought it was great at the time. Thought it was terrible - utterly terrible - when I saw it 20 or so years later. I can't think of any movie that rivals it off the top of my head.

The Young Ones would equal it in that respect, IMO, but that was a TV series.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:14 AM on March 25, 2008


Hey, at least he got to be Long Duc Dong.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:18 AM on March 25, 2008


I used to be a supervisor of foreign exchange students back in the 80s. I remember watching 16 Candles with a few of them and the Donger was practically a hero to them. They liked the fact that he just took this opportunity to escape the grandparents and party relentlessly as a heroic act.

I did cringe at the stereotyping of the character but I still can't help but crack up when I think of the "Hey Howard, there's your Chinaman" line. I saw way too many clueless older couples take in exchange students and have no idea what they were getting in to.
posted by Ber at 7:27 AM on March 25, 2008


"... and then there's "Pretty In Pink" which I can't watch with this tubby motherfucker any more, because every time we get to the part where the red head hooks up with her dream guy, he starts sobbin' like a little eight-year-old with a skinned knee and shit. And nothing is worse than watching a fat man weep."
posted by bwg at 7:42 AM on March 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I see your 80s Hollywood racist Asian stereotype, and raise you...

BOOGER: OK, Takashi, show me your cards.
TAKASHI: OK. Two, and four kings. That's good, yes?
BOOGER: No, you got too many kings. So you gotta get rid of these here. Take three of these kings out and replace them with. Three. Fresh. Cards.
TAKASHI: Oh, OK. Thank you.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:48 AM on March 25, 2008


Hughes apologists? Those movies aged as well as an open bottle of Boone's fortified wine left in a dumpster. Terrible.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was listening to the NPR story yesterday and was thinking about the Donger character and the other characters in the movie. Let's face it: nearly every character in that movie who had a speaking role was more caricature than character. Long Duc Dong is clearly more of a culturally damaging stereotype, but each character is an exaggeration of what Hughes thought was a prototype from a high school kid's point of view: scrawny geek, privileged jock, binge-drinking cheerleader, bridezilla, dork little brother ("Mike is a dork."), and so on.

Then I was thinking if this was better or worse than Mickey Rooney's bucktoothed, Coke-bottle bespectacled Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Somewhat - in that it's an illustration of emancipation from what was effectively indentured servitude at the hands of well-off Caucasians, but like all the characters in 16 Candles, Dong still has the depth of a rain puddle.

Oh and freshwater_pr0n - Watanabe was not in his thirties. He turned 29 a month after the movie was released and it was his first real gig. Watanabe himself admits to naivete.
posted by plinth at 8:00 AM on March 25, 2008


Precisely right, Incessant. The reason The Breakfast Club affected me as much as it did when I was sixteen was I knew, just as the characters did, that their experience was singular, and would not be repeated in the hallways the next day. As one of those kids with the crazy hair and the pants with too many zippers, and with crushes on the pretty blond cheerleader types, I desperately wanted my own Breakfast Club moment.

And I don't see the pot smoking itself as the thing that brought them together. Bender shared his stash because they had already made the connection. Smoking up was the celebration of that fact.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:07 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Another is the fact that in order to be considered cool by your peers you need to drink yourself under the table, get drag-out stoned, or have sex.

Were you homeschooled?
I kid. Sorta.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2008


I always thought The Breakfast Club should be remade a every 10 years or so, taking into consideration the current angst. We'd all relate go our own Breakfast Club and maybe a little bit to the other ones too.
posted by furtive at 8:35 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm with uncanny hengeman; Hughes' movies age horribly, with the exception of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which succeeds purely on the strength of Matthew Broderick's talent and charm. Judd Nelson's performance in The Breakfast Club is particularly excruciating.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:45 AM on March 25, 2008


I always thought The Breakfast Club should be remade a every 10 years or so, taking into consideration the current angst. We'd all relate go our own Breakfast Club and maybe a little bit to the other ones too.

Make it five years. When Pretty in Pink came out it was such a big deal because we were all wrapped up in stuff like prom and who kissed who and whether it was worth it to try to leave whatever your high school clique was if you were into someone in another group. And we were 16. And it didn't help that I was a sullen redhead from a broken home from the small country town that merged with the bigger suburban town and was having an on-the-side ongoing note-passing flirtation with the preppy guy/student council president who had a normal preppy type girlfriend. It was all so desperately important at the time.

I like to think I have aged better than those John Hughes movies.
posted by jessamyn at 9:16 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm 35 years old!
posted by spinturtle at 9:28 AM on March 25, 2008


My brother, who is five years older than me, is definitely of the John Hughes generation. The Breakfast Club was his favorite movie until he realized that he could rent Risky Business from the video store without my parents knowledge. Bender et al were unceremoniously kicked to the curb in favor of Bob Seger and full-frontal nudity.

I, on the other hand, am of the age group that was stuck with the later Hughes canon. I was 14 when that masterpiece of teen angst Uncle Buck was released. No wonder I found solace in grunge when it came about; all the good teen comedies were for people my brother's age. Ick.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 9:31 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm not getting involved in this one. But I'm glad my old friends at GR are still fighting the fight.
posted by cazoo at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2008


If you don't cry during the waiting room scene in Hughes' She's Having a Baby while Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" plays, you are not a human being.

Tell me I am wrong and we're gonna rumble.
posted by punkfloyd at 10:54 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


jessamyn said: It was all so desperately important at the time.

That totally sums up my teen years. I think that's why most of us who love John Hughes' movies were able to connect to them so much: he recognized the desperate importantness of adolescence, from the big moments to the minutiae, the good and the bad, and he was able to distill it into characters and scenes we could all identify with in some way or another.
posted by amyms at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Breakfast Club would be the... hmmm, what's the term for it?... "worst ageing" movie I've ever seen.

Same. Then again, having been born in '74, the quintessential "John Hughes movies" were all released while I was still in grammar school, so I was culturally disconnected from their initial release. At some point in high school I saw "The Breakfast Club" and liked it, but then seeing it again at the age of 22 made me leap back in near-revulsion.

I don't think I found any teen comedies to be good until I saw Heathers and Clueless.
posted by deanc at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2008


gen: Let me guess, you're not Asian-American. You yourself tell us that you are not of the generation of 'Sixteen Candles'. How are you in any way qualified to tell us what the impact of that stereotype was on Asian-Americans?

But unsubstantiated anecdotal arguments from Asian-Americans are okay?
posted by kid ichorous at 11:36 AM on March 25, 2008


Jesus, I hated Hughes at the time. I can profess some nostalgia now (plus my eternal love for saint Molly, she still looks great), but if there were any movies that had nothing to do with my life it was them. I was busy watching Suburbia.

For all the talk about Hughes movies being about the teen outsider, they were deeply loved by the people who were beating the crap out of me on a regular basis.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:57 AM on March 25, 2008


For all the talk about Hughes movies being about the teen outsider, they were deeply loved by the people who were beating the crap out of me on a regular basis.
That's a good observation, but keep in mind that everyone feels like they're a teen outsider, even the ones who were beating the crap out of you on a regular basis, so those movies resonated with them (though the reason they felt like they were outsiders was because they thought that everyone around them was inferior).
posted by deanc at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2008


So... who were you in the Breakfast Club? I was definitely Brian Ralph Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall).
posted by punkfloyd at 12:17 PM on March 25, 2008


I don’t think the themes are dated in The Breakfast Club, but some of the details - whoa. Like the nerd bringing a (starter) gun to school and getting only a Saturday detention.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:17 PM on March 25, 2008


Theory: If you watch a cross section of Hughes films chronologically, you can practically see him go from teen angst to family love. I figure either he realized that it was time to stop because he had covered everything he wanted to cover...OR perhaps he realized that all people seem to want now are goofy family films with heartwarming moments at the end or remakes and sequels of such.

Hughes' visions didn't fit into a Disney world (ever seen The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller's Day Off edited for television?). He probably figured that out somewhere around writing Flubber (or Home Alone 3).
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:09 PM on March 25, 2008


The Breakfast Club was an important movie for me because of the scene where Anthony Michael Hall's character tells why he got suspended for the day, after his shop class project failed and he knew he'd be facing shit from his parents for blowing his perfect 4.0 GPA. It was the first time I saw a movie where the smart/geek character (like myself at the time) actually had an inner, emotional life.

The one thing I wish Hughes had done was have an out gay character in any of those. I mean, c'mon - Ducky from Pretty In Pink? He's gotta be gay, right? And yet we're supposed to buy he's got a crush on the girl? A great gay character in those movies coulda done a lot of people my age a lot of good back then.

(Oh, and punkfloyd, you're totally right - that hospital scene still makes me bawl. I love that movie.)
posted by dnash at 1:17 PM on March 25, 2008


Only white people in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, hmm?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on March 25, 2008


John Hughes' finest moment. Bwaaaaah. sniff, sniff...I need a tissue.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:43 PM on March 25, 2008


I don't know about you, but I'm off to add all Hughes' films to my Netflix list and have a marathon. I remember watching "The Breakfast Club" when it came out and realizing just how powerful words are, and how they must be tended to carefully.
I like to think that my books have a little bit of heart in them.
posted by willmize at 2:08 PM on March 25, 2008


I saw "16 Candles" about 240 times because I had a summer job as a movie usher.
Not as bad as seeing "Red Dawn" 240 times after that.
Still haunts my dreams...
posted by Dizzy at 2:09 PM on March 25, 2008


Only white people in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, hmm?

Eh? Sadly minor and (perhaps again) stereotypical roles, but you've got the dudes working at the car shop and a huge chunk of the dancers at the parade...

I feel badly for Long -- I never attributed his character to stereotype save for his awful name, I just thought dude was crazy.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:09 PM on March 25, 2008


smedleyman: speaking as an educator, and from a school that has had a shooting within the school year, I can tell you that if our valedictorian accidentally brought a started pistol to school, I'm pretty sure heaven and earth would move among the school security administration to keep that from happening.
posted by absalom at 3:11 PM on March 25, 2008


It was a flare gun, by the way. And damn if those movies aren't dumb!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:12 PM on March 25, 2008


Doohickie: Think of Porky's, for instance. Utter tripe.
Porky's was by the same writer/director as A Christmas Story! And come on... the light-hearted sexual assault scenes MAKE A Christmas Story, no?

But that's besides the point. I always loved John Hughes movies, just as much as I hated them. It made me feel kinship in alienation, but it also made me angry that real life never turned out anything like John Hughes movies. As far as stereotypes: weren't all the characters in every John Hughes movie a wild magnified stereotype? I wonder how many of the gothy-type girls I knew in the 80's were mad at Ally Sheedy? (I wonder how many of them made cap'n crunch sammiches, too.)

Other than that, yeah, what everyone else here said.

punkfloyd: Who were you in the Breakfast Club?
Carl the Janitor.
posted by not_on_display at 3:18 PM on March 25, 2008


While the NPR piece is interesting, "Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes" is a ridiculously stupid title. I suffered through the trailer for The Love Guru earlier today and was more than mildly embarrassed for Mike Myers, Verne Troyer, Hollywood and, well... America.

Apart from the numerous jokes at Troyer's expense, there's the fact that the basic premise of the movie comes from perceptions of India as old as the British Raj. I don't think Hollywood will be giving up on stereotypes any time soon.
posted by eric1halfb at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2008


Eh? Sadly minor and (perhaps again) stereotypical roles, but you've got the dudes working at the car shop and a huge chunk of the dancers at the parade...

I love it. "See, there's blacks in the background, what are you talking about, you people are totally in that movie!"

Yeah, it would been nice to see a black character in the Breakfast Club. The movie always struck on a personal chord (I could identify with not being the cool or popular kid) and as part scifi(Where was this high school this had no black kids, even in detention) It was so surreal, as if all the parts were there, I knew real life examples of all the characters and yet it didn't quite add up. Of course it was only later that I realize that all white high schools were probably the majority at the time, by sheer numbers.

I always thought there should have been several more BC movies, chronicling each generation or trying to, but never a sequel to the first one. There's a poetic ambivalence, IMHO, about whether the kids will ever speak to each other again. Some probably would, but for others who knows? To me that question hangs in the air and we're left to decide on our own and in doing so, realize the type of person we are. Or even better: would they realize that there are spaces/times where barriers come down and people relate as individuals, not as stereotypes and in recognizing that, seek out those experiences?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on March 25, 2008


In an early draft of the Breakfast club, the teacher was a much more sympathetic character. His wife had recently died of cancer IIRC, and early on Bender started in with generic wisecracks about his wife which set the tone for their interaction. It's a shame none of that made the final draft, I think it added realism and less of a pandering tone to the movie.

What I hear about Gedde Watanabe is that he is a genuinely nice guy, the kind of person who spends Thanksgiving serving a dinner to homeless people. Given that the characters in early hughes movies are all exaggerated stereotypes, and the different time and sensibilities I don't think the vitriol is warranted.

"Where was this high school this had no black kids, even in detention"

Chicago. My understanding is that the schools were still pretty segregated, at least in Hughes experience if not by the time BC was filmed.
posted by Manjusri at 6:32 PM on March 25, 2008


I always thought The Breakfast Club should be remade a every 10 years or so, taking into consideration the current angst.

Judd Nelson would make a great Vice Principal Bender, no?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:52 PM on March 25, 2008


Manjusri, I was just about to mention that.

Most of Hughes's movies take place in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. Aside from Evanston, there are not too many minorities in this area. Some of you are making it sound like Hughes hand picked the extras in the school scenes.

I'd also like to thank Burhanistan for telling us three times that he doesn't like John Hughes's movies.
posted by crashlanding at 8:54 PM on March 25, 2008


Twice. But they were awful emotion string pulling dreck. So there's your third time, sir.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on March 25, 2008


But they were awful emotion string pulling dreck.

No, John Hughes didn't direct AI.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:16 PM on March 25, 2008


Or Requiem for a Dream.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:56 PM on March 25, 2008


Speaking of Juno...(yeah way up at the beginning of the thread) here's a New York Magazine article that seems to think Ellen Page is going to be the new Molly Ringwald. Ellen gets a bit testy over the Ally Sheedy makeover scene in The Breakfast Club. Somehow I can't see 1980's Molly playing the vigilante teen from Hard Candy.

Even though I was a short time out of high school in the mid eighties, I still very much loved all of the Hughes comedies. I think Ferris Bueller is still my favorite even though it was the last of the teen comedies he both wrote and directed. Of course, seeing Heathers in the theater a couple of years later lovingly pissed on my Hughesian utopia. Heathers is a gateway drug...
posted by hotmud at 11:04 PM on March 25, 2008


It's always weird to see the way in which these films are revered by a certain age-group in America. John Hughes' films have always been part of the whole 80s right-wing thing over here, along with Raygun, Thatcher and Yuppies.

I.E. Shite
posted by fullerine at 3:04 AM on March 26, 2008


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