I like to tell people that I was born 20 years too late because most of my favorite fads are from the 1980’s. Seriously, ’80’s movies, ’80’s music, ’80’s fashion – I am obsessed with a culture that I never even lived to see one year of as a ’90’s baby. It all started when 13-year-old Caitlyn felt like she couldn’t relate to any of the trends her fellow junior high classmates were into, and now as a 20-something-year-old woman I carry that love for ’80’s culture with me around like an old diary. Not like the fact that I have dressed as said ’80’s girl for Halloween multiple times is a dead giveaway.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I am a big fan of John Hughes’ films, specifically his teen movies from the 1980’s. (Though who doesn’t love Home Alone, amirite?) If you can get past the glaringly all-white neighborhoods, homophobia, and cringe-worthy racist caricatures (Stay woke, kids.), there is an element of nostalgia that comes with Hughesian films in the era before internet, cell phones, and Netflix and chill.
Naturally, I discovered a whole selection of books that talk about John Hughes, his films, and other iconic movies of the 1980’s, and GIRL. I devoured those books. So for the ’80’s fanatics out there like me, here are four books about Hughes, teen films, and really big hair:
1.You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora
What I found most intriguing about this book is all the interviews Gora included with the young actors of that time and their insight into the making of such prominent films. This book covers the carefully selected music for the soundtracks, how the films were made, and how they shaped a generation’s views on love, friendship, and growing up.
2. Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to ’80s Teen Movies by Kevin Smokler
Peep that insane cover art. Smokler has presented his work on ’80’s teen culture at my current library of employment, and his writing is superb. He focuses on the significance of location for the canon of ’80’s teen movies, which is pretty cool if you’re from the Chicagoland area and get to read all about the real neighborhoods that made up Hughes’ fictional Shermer, Illinois in hits like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science. This book is packed with interviews with prominent actors and directors from the decade and provides some cool insight about your favorite movies.
3. Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Watching ’80s Movies by Jason Diamond
Man, does this book give you the feels. Part literary journalism and part memoir, Diamond tells the story of growing up in a broken home in Skokie, Illinois and how his emotional tie to John Hughes’ films spurred his quest to write Hughes’ biography and ultimately meet the man himself.
4. Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies by Hadley Freeman
For my fellow feminists out there, this one’s for you. Freeman spends quite a bit of time discussing feminism in the 1980’s in this book and how working women are portrayed in movies then and now. It’s a fun read, even if just for the iconic ’80’s movie quotes peppered throughout the chapters.
BRB, I have to go have a movie marathon now.