Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was one of my favourite films as a kid. The Breakfast Club was another movie I loved. Planes, Trains and Automobiles; National Lampoon’s Vacation; Weird Science; I loved them all. The man behind them all was, of course, the late John Hughes, whose work, even when slapstick, always had a big heart.
So it was really great to stumble across this blog post, which details a wonderful exchange of letters between a teenage fan and the brilliant writer and director as he wrestled with, and ultimately walked away from, Hollywood.
Below is an extract:
I was babysitting for my mom’s friend Kathleen’s daughter the night I wrote that first fan letter to John Hughes. I can literally remember the yellow grid paper, the blue ball point pen and sitting alone in the dim light in the living room, the baby having gone to bed.
I poured my heart out to John, told him about how much the movie mattered to me, how it made me feel like he got what it was like to be a teenager and to feel misunderstood.
(I felt misunderstood.)
I sent the letter and a month or so later I received a package in the mail with a form letter welcoming me as an “official” member of The Breakfast Club, my reward a strip of stickers with the cast in the now famous pose.
I was irate.
I wrote back to John, explaining in no uncertain terms that, excuse me, I just poured my fucking heart out to you and YOU SENT ME A FORM LETTER.
That was just not going to fly.
He wrote back.
“This is not a form letter. The other one was. Sorry. Lots of requests. You know what I mean. I did sign it.”
He wrote back and told me that he was sorry, that he liked my letter and that it meant a great deal to him. He loved knowing that his words and images resonated with me and people my age. He told me he would say hi to everyone on my behalf.
“No, I really will. Judd will be pleased you think he’s sexy. I don’t.”
I asked him if he would be my pen pal.
He said yes.
“I’d be honored to be your pen pal. You must understand at times I won’t be able to get back to you as quickly as I might want to. If you’ll agree to be patient, I’ll be your pen pal.”
Read it all here.