The Great Outdoors (1988) [review]

When it comes to John Hughes films, this is among his family films, moving on from the teen offerings he made in the mid 1980s. This film shows us more of the relationship between parents and their children; siblings of not only the younger generation, but their parents’ generation, and then there’s the relationship between husbands and wives. All of which offers the love and awkwardness of being part of a family.

There are the values of two families linked by blood, but who have taken different paths and idealisms in their lives. One which is more family oriented and the other more money minded. This, as you would expect, brings out the worst in the family gathering on a holiday and the best in the humour and our interest in what we enjoy here.

This really is a film which holds the two families together when there really is no reason to, but then again, there would be no film if that wasn’t the case. But, that would be to presume there is nothing more than what lies on the surface. There is always something more to pull us in than we presume and therefore this film works nicely in that we want to see a family at war with itself. This is a great hour and a half which is fun and takes us on a ride that spans over a few days of a holiday, which reveals the actual intentions of why certain people are as they pretend not to be.

This is a light hearted look at life that will make you laugh and find yourself enjoying the misfortune of those who have to put up with it. The younger generation of the film try to find their own interests and people they would rather hang around with. The added idea that both families are out in the country, away from their normal city lives which they are accustomed to, there is much to be enjoyed here, which is a grand sight to see in a way that it is neither abusive or over the top.

This is a film which I have watched numinous times and still find entertaining many years after its release in the late 1980s, and I’m sure I’ll see it many more times. There are moments which will make you laugh, some which will make you smile and some which will make you understand and appreciate family members for all their faults.


Class Reunion (1982) [review]

I have always felt that this is a film which has been left out in the cold, forgotten about. I have always enjoyed this film for the mixture of adult humour while being silly and playing with the mystery and murder which is all done in a tongue in cheek  style that does not presume to be tasteful… or care if the audience if offended. Although, saying that, there is nothing overly offensive.

The humour is most certainly of the time in which this film was released and there are moments which we may be familiar in what we see here with the jokes and the one liners; therefore it may feel a little obvious. But, if you care about that, you may be taking the whole film too seriously, which is something which you should not do.

This is a brilliant film that plays with the elements of a murderer on the loose in a confined space of a old rundown school. Of a man out for revenge, who has been waiting for a decade to get back at those who played a prank at his expense back in their high school days… which only adds to the fun of what is, that the killer had the patience to wait for an opportunity.

People have gone on with their lives, to return ten years later for a class reunion, but in those ten years, they do not seem to have matured that much. Maybe due to the style of the time, some of the actors physically look older than characters they are portraying.

This, as you would expect has a 80s look when it comes cloths, hair and what some of the characters deemed acceptable in their behaviour. If made today, I’m sure there would be a few jokes cut or watered down to be more acceptable to a modern audience, which would be a shame.

This is one of John Hughes early scripts and it feels a little more out there compared to what we know from his later; well know scripts. It is a comedy which is for an older audience, as it does not try to play it safe with what a younger person may be able to understand or deal with.

There are many enjoyable moments and characters to keep us entertained for an hour and twenty minutes. This has always felt like a film which I would say is one that you will love or hate.

Mr. Mom (1983) [review]

This is an early John Hughes script which already hinted at so much of what we loved about his storytelling, although this does suffer from not being in the right hands; the producers and director, which for me, didn’t quite fit the script. But saying that, there is so much to love about this film, in that it comments on the very familiar areas of our lives, in the lack of jobs and finding work can be harder to find than it should be… plus money is a little tight for the majority of the everyday people. Then, there are those in the work place who can be two faced and will stab you in the back at any and every chance they get.

It also looks at what takes to bring up a family when there seems to be no hope in sight. Jack (Michael Keaton) finding himself trying to figure out what it is he’s supposed to do when looking after his and his wife’s children. Realizing how much goes into everyday life at home, to the point where he finds himself not sure of himself any more.

Like many of John Hughes’ scripts, this is a look at people and what they go through when put in a situation they would rather not be in. In this case, Jack being fired, looking for work when there is very little work going around and therefore becoming depressed. Although, this film takes a more light hearted look at the situation; offering us moments which we can all recognise andasociate with.

Caroline Butler (Teri Garr) finding work faster than she and Jack expected and being great at the her job. Caroline finds herself in moments in which we see her boss be a little more hands on with her than he should. All the while Jack becomes friendly with the neighbourhood women who seem to have very little to do with their days, some of who seem be a little too interest in Jack.

All of which makes a comedy that is enjoyable and feels very early 1980s, while trying to say something, but not wanting to slap the audience hard in the face, presuming that we are smart enough to notice and have our own thoughts and feeling on the matter, all while entertaining us .

While Jack and Caroline’s children may seem mature for their age, it is grand to see them outsmarting the adults in certain situations.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) [review]

This is a pure joy to watch as we not only have Ferris himself go through all we wished we could at that age. There is also Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) and Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) who come along for the ride. Although, I do see them just as much a perfect part of what we enjoy here. The three of them are a great trio and there is a perfect dynamic between them. Although, there are moments which it feels Ferris comes across as a user when it comes to Cameron. There is a monologue to camera in which Ferris realises that after leaving school, the pair will probably find themselves no longer in each other’s company, that it may not be the strongest of friendships after all.

Ferris being the kind of person willing to take chances and take his closest friends with him, showing them there is more to life than has been preached to them by older generations… by those who have been jaded by what their lives have become.

Jeanie Bueller (Jennifer Grey) is the perfect jealous sister who finds it hard to let go of the idea that her brother is excellent at getting away with so much. Throughout the day she tries to prove that he is not as perfect as people think he is. Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) is great, knowing that Ferris is up to something, and therefore goes out of his way to prove what he knows.

When it comes to John Hughes films, especially his 1980s work, he managed to write teen films in ways which were relatable and did not treat the character or audience as some kind of creature that anybody over the age of twenty one must look down upon.

The film very nicely takes us through a day in the lives of those involved, with many gloriously funny moments, touching moments and ideas of what we should not lose as we grow up. Sad to say that life can take the joy out of us if we let it. This is a perfect reminder that we can take life too seriously and we should try to enjoy our lives when we can, do not take it all for granted and take a day off and enjoy yourself. It’s not as much hard work as we’ve let ourselves believe… at least not all the time.

So, if you get the chance, take a look at this film, remind yourself of its brilliance and let it jog your memory of your younger days,  let it rub off on you, behave like the rules should be at least bent.

She’s Having a Baby (1988) [review]

The beauty of this film is that it doesn’t try to over complicate the story. One which is very everyday in the events which occur, of a couple in their early twenties trying to find where they stand in the world. The new responsibilities of adulthood; while still having hopes and dreams for their futures; as they are not yet jaded by what could happen in a world that could grind them down if they were to let it.

While being their own family of two as the film starts, this also deals with their parents of the couple wanting to be involved in their children’s lives, with both sets of parents bringing their own thoughts and theories of how a life should be lived. This does raise a few moments what the couple want from where they find themselves. A lot of this feels like moments that we have been through ourselves and therefore we relate to the two main characters. There’s not some over the top Hollywood feel to this, but a more down to earth, real life moments to be had… which I very much liked.

What I also like about this is; Jake (Kevin Bacon) is somebody who, like many people in their early twenties, is not somebody who is completely sure of himself and does not want to settle down in some mundane job. While Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern) is the more mature of the two, not to say that she does not want more out of her life, but is somebody who is more practical.

John Hughes gave us a story which we find ourselves sympathising with the main characters as they muddle through their lives. Figuring out what it is to live with not only themselves, but their other halves, their neighbours, work colleges.

There is also a look at the single life of Jake’s and Kristy’s friend Davis (Alec Baldwin), which offers us a look at those who find the single life more to their taste. How some people cannot look beyond themselves and what they can take without giving.

The neighbours are also a pleasure to witness, with their conversations which are fantastically entertaining while we glimpse something as ordinary as they talk of what is going on in their lives in the few moments we see them.

We have another fine soundtrack in this film, something which John Hughes films of the 80s did perfectly. Along with the Stewart Copeland score, giving this film a great sound to what we are seeing on screen.

This is a film which is great way to spend a hour forty five minutes, as we witness the big important moments with the smaller situations of a couple’s  early married years together.