Posts Tagged ‘john hughes’

Stephen King is having a really cool year. The second part of IT was in the theatres (it was bloody awesome … no pun intended … ok, maybe just a little). And the sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep (which I reviewed several years ago … feel free to look it up), made it to the movies this month (about bloody time). Needless to say, I saw it and Rebecca Ferguson played a delightful Rose the Hat (gave me the hibby-jibbies). So when I heard that this book was on the horizon, I just couldn’t wait and it was spared very little resting time in the stacks at my branch. But enough with the blah-blah-blah, pleasantries and other such bollocks and let’s get on with the blasted review. Yeah?

Tim Jamieson has come to a sudden dead-end in his career, as cop in a Florida town, and has decided to settle for the “greener pastures” of (get this) New York City. An overbooked flight changes his mind and he ends up hitchhiking (with over two thousand dollars for giving up his seat on the plane) towards the North. He soon finds himself in a small, unknown town in the South Carolina. He settles and finds a job as a night knocker: basically a cop that patrols the town and knocks on the doors of businesses and certain individuals in order to make sure all is well. The pay sucks, it is simple and he is unarmed, but life in this town is just as simple and nice. Or so it seems … for the time being.

Luke Ellis is twelve-year old kid. He is your typical twelve year old with a few minor exceptions: he is quite the child prodigy and when he is in a certain mood eating utensils and other things tend to move around on their own. Yes, Luke is telekinetic. And then one night, Luke’s parents are murdered and Luke is kidnapped and brought to a strange place in Maine known as …. (wait for it) … The Institute. The institute is run by a psychotic, Nurse Ratched type named Mrs. Sigsby and is staffed by a bunch of motherless, ex-military types of varying specialties. On entrance to the Institute many of the kids are told a yarn about them serving their country and saving the world …. and then the brutality …er, testing begins. Despite these are pre-pubescent teens, failure to confirm is met with physical abuse and even a form of water torture that makes waterboarding feel like a quaint baptism. Wait, a minute … children being separated from families and treated badly? Sounds familiar. Maybe not, only from the strange and twisted mind of King. Aye, that’s it. Along the way Luke befriends Kalisha Benson (who sounds like the Afro-American girl in last season’s Stranger Things), Nick Wilholm (the rebel), Avery and George Iles. Sort of like a twisted verstion of the Breakfast Club, except that these kids never go home, detention seems permanent and Mr. Vernon does not give out 500 word essays to write when they act up … they either get pummeled or tortured. But all is not lost, since the kids have found a friend in the form of Maureen Alvorson (a woman that re-stocks the vending machine that offers cigarette-type looking candies and alcohol … yes, you read right, among other things). The bad news, in all this, is that the kids don’t know that mom and dad are dead. The really bad news is that Maureen has a sinister ulterior motive that is unknown to these desperately, trusting teens. The kids find out that the Institute is divided into two parts: The Front Half where the new “recruits” are initially deployed for the Guantanamo Experience and then … there is the Back Half where kids simply disappear and are never heard from … ever … and it also features are weird humming sound. When that weird humming sounds changes to a pitch somebody in the world dies … puppies (thankfully) are spared. Somewhere along the line, Luke finds out the fate of his parents despite the Institute’s attempt to isolate him from that information and decides to go Freddy Mercury … and break free. It is during his strange odyssey (which would explain the cover) from the Institute that he crosses paths with Tim Jamieson … and needless to say … the shit hits the fan. And this where I stop for I fear that I will be spilling some unnecessary beans. To say more would be a complete and utter tosser to spoil for everyone … so there.

It. Is. Premium. King. Grabbed from various goings-on in this messed up world King stitches together a frightening quilt of a tale (or is it?) that is bloody disturbing yet intensively-mesmerizing that’ll leave you clinging on to the edge of the covers, as you battle insignificant things like eating, sleeping and bodily functions … all the way the breathtaking conclusion. Though there aren’t any preternatural creatures lurking around, this just might be his most disturbing and frightening yet. Why? Just look around us. Need I say more. And some of us just might utter a silent prayer and hope that this stuff remains bound and condemned to the pages of fiction. Mr. King, you remain America’s scary yet delightful uncle. Jolly good show, my good man.

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Running Title – You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes And Their Impact On a Generation.

In the movie, The Breakfast Club, the antagonist known as Bender (Judd Nelson) berates Ally Sheedy’s character. Molly Ringwald, in defense of Sheedy’s character, instructs her (Sheedy) to ignore him to which Bender replies, “Sweetie, you couldn’t ignore me if you tried.” And hence, the title of the book.

I’m coming home from my late shift at the library on a Thursday night, and I’ve got Big Country blaring through my headphones (I had nominated that week as 80s week on my Zune). Ah, mp3 players, don’t you just love them. It is like have your own portable radio station. One week its 80s, the next is grundge … and once in a while it is all things Irish, Canadian and New Age (Enya, Clannad, Loreena Mckennit). Splendid bit of technology. And it seems that I have detoured. Dear, oh dear.
Written by Susannah Gora, the book was a very intimate, behind-the-scenes journal of all those classic wonderful, teeny, 80s movies. For me, that grew up as a teen during the 80s, this was literary time machine that brought back a heightened sense of nostalgia. Ah yes, women with big hair, oversized shirts clasped in double-crossed belts, neon lipstick … oh such neon colours. Sorry, can’t help those bloody flashbacks. In some way, at most, Ms Gora’s book is a fitting tribute to the mind behind those timeless teen movies: the late John Hughes. What is revealed in the book is the astonishing relationship that Hughes had with his teen stars and the complete trust he had in their acting abilities to the point that he’d let them make changes to scripts. In some cases there was a hint of a possible romance between Ringwald (as she got a bit older, of course, none of that Polanski bollocks) with the Hughes. One of the interesting facts that came out of this book was the strange link of the Simpsons and Futurama to one of Hughes most popular teen films. If you’re expecting me to be a wanker and spell out the answer to for you, well I guess again … yes, you proper bollocksed up on that one. You Couldn’t Ignore Me is about as intimate as we could get with the life of John Hughes and the inspiration behind his movies. By the way, did you know there was an alternate ending for Pretty In Pink that pretty much got booed at the test screening? Interesting stuff. In an age where teen movies seem more about pushing socio-political messages or cause celebre down unsuspecting audience’s throats, Hughes movies were about teenagers being … well teenagers. Yes, there was scenes of abortion (well implied anyway) teen sex and drugs but the movie didn’t revolve them. Rock concerts, mall trips, clothing, the popular girls, the jocks, the nerds, and getting your driver’s license – you know, the fun stuff that made being a teenager being fun …until cell phones, texting, and possibly the Internet (note I didn’t say computers) came along and cocked it all up. A moment of silence for this cheated generation. Aye, so much for that.

If you grew up in the 80s, love the 80s or loved the John Hughes movies, the You Couldn’t Ignore Me is the absolute must-read book to … well, read. Ms. Gora does a fantastic job of “archiving” the 80s through the eyes and the movies of Mr. Hughes. And it is no coincidence that so many 80s references are popping up in teen movies recently. Of course, they are just bloody rip-offs and the death of originality, but there …. To optimally enjoy this book (though you really DON’T need to DO this) would require you to create a playlist consisting of Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds, Thompson Twins, Psychodelic Furs and Orchestral Maneuvers In the Dark (what a bloody pompous title for a band) purring over your earphones or speakers as you enjoy the mental time travel. Sure, you might get blind by the bright colours, bombarded with smells of Aqua Net mousse (or for some of us Soul Glo or whatever the major Jeri Curl brand was) … but whatever you encounter, just enjoy the ride. Thanks Ms. Gora for the time travel. And thanks for the interesting teenage years, Mr. Hughes, we’ll miss you.

Pathetic confession: It was my last day at school back in Guyana and I remember leaving the gate and walking over the field, that we played a lot of softball cricket on, and raising my fist in the air. No, I didn’t grow up to be a criminal, just a computer technician and a librarian. Yeah, I know.

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