Don’t You Forget About Me (Review)

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME
(7/13/10; Documentary)
Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Kelly LeBrock, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Roger Ebert, Jim Kerr / SCR: Matt Austin, Michael Facciolo, Kari Hollend, Lenny Panzer
DIR: Matt Austin
MPAA: R for language.
1 hour 30 mins

In 2008, four young filmmakers hit the road searching for elusive director John Hughes, who had long since retired and dropped off the Hollywood grid. But instead of a feeble indie-minded road comedy, what emerges from this collection of clips and interviews with his actors and collaborators was how Hughes’ effortlessly tapped the vein of the teenage experience.

DYFAM isn’t just a love-letter to The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) but tackles noteworthy ideas, such as the contemporary studio climate that would make it impossible for a “John Hughes movie” to exist today; and how critically-reviled his movies were at the time.

It’s refreshing to hear from the likes of other unique writer-directors Jason Reitman (Juno), Kevin Smith (Clerks) alongside average moviegoers and teens that cite his coming-of-age material as revolutionary. Roger Ebert refers to Breakfast as the “My Dinner with Andre of teenage films.”

And although Hughes staple Molly Ringwald features prominently into a segment about the lack of an aggressive celebrity culture in the 80s, the actress is conspicuously missing, as are Anthony Michael Hall, Matthew Broderick and Emilio Estevez. Much is made about the possible reasons why Hughes dropped out of sight, but my best guess: Hollywood is an exceedingly soul-sucking place.

One actor’s poetic analogy referred to his own being “enamored with all the palm trees, not realizing rats sleep in the tops of them.” The crew ultimately tracks down his house but the denouement is tragic and bittersweet.

Hughes died suddenly in New York on 8/06/09, cementing his legacy through his work and the countless people who saw aspects of themselves depicted in his films. Hughes’ death elevates this movie and suggests what a proper doc about the man might illuminate. Right now, this is as good as it gets. (Phase 4 Films)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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