One of the most recent and popular films that was heavily influenced by John Hughes is The Edge of Seventeen (2016). Even if you didn’t know the director was heavily influenced by Hughes, you would likely be able to tell. While The Edge of Seventeen has its own charms, Hughes’ influence is still evident in so many places. Similarly to Hughes, director and writer Kelly Fremon Craig wanted to make the type of teen movie that hit home. Craig strayed away from the type of teen film that relies off of a popular soundtrack, modern references, and stars who were casted just because of their names. Instead, she aimed for the audience of teens and adults who could relate to what the film was about. Craig also casted Hailee Steinfeld who the author of the article considered “one of the greatest teen protagonists in history.” Steinfeld gives off an awkward, nervous, and angsty charm. Her character, Nadine, makes no apologies for it either. In the film, Nadine must also go through alienation and self hatred and these issues are portrayed just as serious as they are in real life. These two issues were also applicable for many of Hughes’ characters. The author of the article even considers Steinfeld and Nadine as the perfect mix Claire Standish and Allison Reynolds, two of Hughes’ characters in The Breakfast Club.

Not only has Hughes been an influence in film, but he inspired many plots and episodes of television shows. For example, Bob’s Burgers, Victorious, The Vampire Diaries, Lizzie McGuire, and Riverdale have all dedicated full episodes to a Hughes inspired plot. The majority of these shows paid homage to The Breakfast Club and had their characters directly represent one of Hughes’ characters or play along with one of their tropes. John Hughes is also a large influence for the team behind Stranger Things. Tim Ives, Stranger Things’ cinematographer, took direct inspiration from Hughes’ films for the Snow Ball dance set piece in season two. Ives stated that they watched multiple of Hughes’ films when creating the set piece, and that Hughes is generally a large inspiration for everything else that goes into the show. The love triangle between Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan has also been compared to the love triangle in Pretty In Pink.

It is clear that Hughes made an impact on the subject of teen film as a whole. He was seemingly the first well known film director that was taken seriously for his work in the teen genre. His portrayal of serious teen issues have seemingly carried over into today’s world of film too. While we still have fun classics that remind us a lot of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, there has seemed to be an influx of movies where teens and their issues are put at the center and are portrayed respectfully and accurately.

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May 13, 2019 3:09 pm

This is very interesting to look at. It is very apparent that Hughes is still influential today and I didn’t necessarily realize that. Maybe it would be good to look on the larger societal effect and how these tropes influenced by Hughes’ work have indirectly affected society.

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