Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thanks for nothing, John Hughes and Winnie Holzman

I've been reading this book. It's a collection of essays inspired by John Hughes films.  I've also been watching My So-Called Life reruns on Sundance.
And I had a revelation.
No wonder I'm fucking single.

John Hughes and Winnie Holzman ruined romance for me at a very young age.  And continue to ruin me.  If I'm flipping through the channels and I come across any John Hughes film (ok, except The Great Outdoors, I don't like that one) I stop and watch and sigh and cry.

And, oh my, My So-Called Life - how much was I like Angela Chase? I think I still AM like Angela Chase.  I do have trouble wrapping my head around Jordan Catalano being the same dude who now has a pink mo-hawk and fronts one of my favorite bands, but whatever. 

I just wanted the MSCL episode where Angela and Ricky go to Jordan's band practice and she thinks the song he is singing he wrote for her.  Double sigh.  I can't tell you how many band practices I went to, just to be in the same building as the boy I liked, and hoped and prayed that the special meaning I inferred from the lyrics were true.  Thankfully, I don't do that anymore.  Yes, I still know a few bands, and I'm sure they do practice somewhere, but I think it would be pretty pathetic of me to hang out there and flip my hair and sigh.  But still - that episode had my stomach turning - in nostalgia and bittersweet ness.

One of the essays I read recently was about Some Kind of Wonderful - which happens to be my favorite John Hughes movie.  I was Watts. In a lot of ways, I AM Watts.  Ok, not thin, and I would never wear my hair that short, but in many other ways.  The essay was all about the high school and college love triangles, or as the song says "You love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else, you just can't win".  The essay was pretty black and white - the writer wondering if she had paid attention to the ones that loved her if her life would have been different.  Oh, fuck, this could not have hit closer to home.    And I do wonder, often enough, what could have been if I had been paying better attention back then.

I now realize that my Blane, Keith, Jake Ryan, Jordan Catalano, even my Duckie will never ever exist.  There is no guy who will buy me a cake and pick me up in his Porsche on my birthday.  No one will ever tell me he loves me, always to the aching tune of "If you Leave", no one to, while dyslexic, write a song about his car that I will instead pretend is about me.  And no one to ride his bike past my house on a daily basis.  And for all of these delusions of romance, I still have to blame John and Winnie. 

I need to give it all up.  Ok, maybe not the dream of playing the drums like Watts in the opening credits of SKOW, because that's still pretty awesome, but the rest of it.

It may be time to let a real man, faults and all love me for me, and not the me I think is Angela Chase, or Amanda Jones, or Andi, or even Watts.


Jennifer said...

Lovely post, Vonnie... full of lots of truth.

First of all... Jake Ryan. DEAR. LORD. Jake Ryan was even too much for the actor who played Jake Ryan. He couldn't even live up to Jake Ryan, so he left it all to do woodworking, which somehow makes him even more awesome than Jake Ryan... he's a real man.

Yes, give a real man a chance. They're worth it. And you might be surprised to find that while not Blane, Jake, Keith or Jordan, they do have moments of them, but better yet?? They're real!! :) And... they often put up with real women... who are full of their own craziness. :)

Wishing you nothing but love and reality.

Jennifer said...

Let me also add that I'm pissed that my cable company discontinued The Sundance Channel... Grrrr. Of course there will still be the NASCAR channel...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You don't love NASCAR, Jennifer???

/shocked and stunned

mikey said...

NASCAR is dumb. They ought to either make it a lot easier to pass each other, or they ought to allow offensive weapons. Because now all they can do is line up and drive around in circles waiting for the dood in front of them to fuck up. I'm sure it's interesting for the drivers, but the spectators are reduced to drinking horrific American Lager and imploring passersby to "show us your tits!". It's a cautionary tale.

I've never seen any of the movies you reference, but I'm completely familiar with the syndrome. We always find someone to identify with in movies and teevee shows (which is why I simultaneously LOVE "Unforgiven" and find it virtually unwatchable), and we can identify just as easily with that character's best features as his worst.

Sometimes, though, it can be a learning experience, helping us to see past our own image to what we actually aspire to be, and what we actually believe ourselves to have become.

On the whole, I'd advise you to approach the whole concept of a "real man" with both caution and skepticism. First, all those little doses of reality when you first start spending extended periods of time together, the flatulence, the incoherence, the lack of common sense, the impulsive and self destructive behaviors...People are just easier to get along with when you don't have to try to get along with them. I mean, all your missing is the sex and some late night conversation, and hell, that's what the internet is for...

Jennifer said...


Kathleen said...

I hear ya Von. I hear ya. Just the other day I was thinking that if I had spent more time in high school studying instead of caring about not having a boyfriend I could have gotten better grades and become a doctor.

(this is totally serious btw, I really was just thinking that)

fish said...

I was just thinking that if I had my dad's Ferrari again for the day, I wouldn't be going to a ball game, I would be hanging out at the beach trying to get laid. CURSE YOU HUGHES FOR MY VIRGINITY!!!

Brando said...

No doubt, fish. With that set up, I would have taken a different approach to being the sausage king than Matthew Broderick's.

Here's what I learned from 16 Candles: Jake Ryan may have been the most attractive and pre-steroid Anthony Michael Hall the sweetest, but nobody had more fun than the Donger.

Jennifer said...

Donger need food!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

she thinks the song he is singing he wrote for her.

Seems to be a common affliction.

I have to confess, I've never seen an entire John Hughes film. My go-to 80's teen comedy will forever be Better Off Dead.

Jennifer said...

I love Better Off Dead!!! Frensh Fries... Frensh Dressing... :)

Von said...

I do love Better off Dead. Great movie.
Two dollars! I want my two dollars!

Von said...

B4 - you will have to sit down with me at some point and watch at least two John Hughes films. It'll be fun.