Documentaries are never easy films to review because at the end of the day you end up reviewing the source material as much as you are reviewing the actual filmmaker’s talent. That said when you pick a topic like John Hughes you are extremely hard pressed to disappoint film fans.
After creating some of cinema’s greatest teen films — The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more — John Hughes vanished from the Hollywood scene in 1991. Don’t you Forget About Me is the story of four young filmmakers set out to find him and find out what it was that enabled him to leave such a mark on generations of fans and why he has gone completely off the grid for over 15 years and walked away from his career, his friends, his fans and Hollywood.
I grew up watching John Hughes movies and to this day his films are some of my all time favourites. What made John’s films connect with the audience was his ability to capture us. Hughes created some of the greatest teen movies at a time when teen movie wasn’t the dirty word it is today. Now a days teen movies get sold on the premise of somebody f**king a pie, or the casting of the latest Disney teen heart throb turned actress.
When I watch The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which I do frequently, I don’t feel like I am watching actors I feel that Hughes has captured my essence and is airing all my dirty inner feelings for the entire world to see. He captivates and pulls in his audience by making you the subject matter as much as it is about the actors and his ability to not only connect with you the audience but make it hold up through the test of time is what defines John Hughes as the master cinematographer.
This film does a great job at showing how much John Hughes touched not just my generation but three different generations with interviews from the stars of the original films, filmmakers like Kevin Smith and today’s teens who much to my surprise share my passion for Hughes and his work. This documentary documents Hughes career with interviews with all the key people involved in his films and also is a revealing look at his fans, his life within the studio machine and in particular four die hard fans who wanted to make a film that did two things. Reminded John Hughes how much he is missed and is needed in a Hollywood fixated on plastic teens and big budget remakes and that we won’t forget about him even if he has forgotten us.
John Hughes was never respected by critics of his time but he has inspired filmmakers worldwide and has garnered the admiration and respect of bloggers everywhere and I sincerely hope he saw that critics be damned, his movies were ahead of their time and 30 years from now we will still be watching them ad pointing to his genius and hopefully talking about new directors who have brought back his vision instead of the stale Hollywood nightmare we all see now.
John Hughes is one of the greatest directors of our time and has not been matched. When he passed away in 2009 from a fatal heart attack the world lost much more than a filmmaker we lost a cinematic genius. Don’t You Forget About Me is a very moving documentary that will make you laugh, make you think and remind you of better times in Hollywood when it was less about who and more about what and context and talent drove the business of movies. The only thing sadder then Hughes passing away after 15 years of isolation is the fact that had he of gotten back into his game no studio would have touched him because what he offered was real, heartfelt stories that don’t appeal to studios execs who are more focused on formulas then delivering an experience to be remembered.