John Hughes vs Shane Meadows

Cinebeats has published a brilliant thought-provoking article on John Hughes’ films vs Shane Meadows’ “This Is England”:

I’m told in countless obits written about John Hughes that some segment of ’80s youth culture found comfort in the way that his movies portrayed teenagers as well as outsiders and malcontents. But if you were actually questioning authority during the ’80s it was impossible to identify with any of the faux rebellion found in Hughes’ movies. The man preached conformity over and over again. The so-called “outsiders” in Hughes’ films rejected other teens like themselves so they could date popular jocks or beauty queens. In other words, if you followed the social rules laid out by John Hughes you’d get a “hot date” for the school prom and be “accepted” into Reagan’s America.


Without a supportive family and a college fund, the future looked incredibly bleak which often led to an increase in recreational drug use. Like the kids in Meadows’ film, we ended up forming makeshift families simply based on our musical tastes and wardrobes. But our clothing wasn’t just worn for kicks. What we wore often reflected our social class and attitudes. In other words, wearing an anarchy t-shirt wasn’t just a fashion statement. It was a social statement that could get you kicked out of school in the ’80s.

Eddie: Another thing about the John Hughes films was that the music seemed ‘pasted on’:  let’s license a bunch of current, obscure british songs of now, and stick ’em on the soundtrack to give it some cred.  Doesn’t matter what goes where, ‘cos the kids in the movie aren’t really interacting with the music.    Probably not a fair comparsion, because in ‘This Is England’, the music in the film actually defines the mood and times of when the film is set.

2 Responses to “John Hughes vs Shane Meadows”

  1. Thanks so much for linking to my rant!

    Your observation that “the kids in the movie aren’t really interacting with the music” is spot on. I think that could even add to the disconnect and coldness some of us find in his films. I’ve also always thought that a lot of the bands or songs had been played out by the time they made it on a John Hughes soundtrack so the music didn’t really do all that much for me. But whoever compiled the soundtracks knew what they were doing.

  2. Yes, you are right – the soundtracks were almost ‘retro’ by the time the movies were made!

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