Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Can't Go Too Far In Scaring People About Texting And Driving

Okay, so this isn't the most cheery thing to watch, but please do. Studies show that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving drunk. If you know a teen driver sit them down and make them watch this.

This PSA was filmed in England. American television companies felt it was too graphic to show here. Two weeks ago a 19-year-old girl on Cape Cod, where I live was killed on our main highway, she crossed lanes, hit an elderly couple (who recovered) and died. How important was that message she just HAD to send at that moment? I doubt it was worth losing her life over. I don't think you can scare teens enough about texting and driving.

Let's make Don't Text And Drive as much a part of our culture as Don't Drink And Drive.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes: Writer, Director and Teen Whisperer

I wasn't a teen when John Hughes hit the big time, I was a twenty-something and a young mom. But I was young enough and also old enough to know he really got it. I was extremely sad to hear of his passing yesterday at only 59-years-old.

My first Hughes movie was "National Lampoon's Vacation," and from the opening credits with Lindsay Buckingham singing "Holiday Road" I was in love. The writing was so smart, so quick, and so unlike anything we'd been seeing at the movies. I was eight months pregnant with my second son. In August. A hard time to feel anything is funny, but I still remember walking around outside in downtown Chatham, MA on that summer night reciting favorite lines to my then-husband. Lines like, when talking about French kissing, cousin Vicki tells Audrey, "My daddy says I'm the best." Or, Clark flipping out about Wally World being closed: "We watch his program... We buy his toys, we go to his movies... he owes us. Doesn't he owe us, huh? F-----' A right he owes us!"

I read today online a quote from Steve Martin where he said he once asked the filmmaker how long it took him to write "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," the film Martin starred in with John Candy, to which Hughes humbly offered, "I wrote it over a weekend." To writers like me who took 3 years to write a novel, that is unbelievable. To say he was prolific in an understatement.

He will, however be forever known for his teen movies. "The Breakfast Club," "Sixteen Candles," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off and "Pretty in Pink" were spot on in how teens think, relate to their parents and each other.

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Michael Hall several times, and he counts the films he did with Hughes as something he's forever grateful for. Unlike some former teen stars, he is gracious when fans ask him about those films, he embraces the era, and knows he was part of something iconic.

In this era of practically everyone shouting "Look at me! Look at me!" via Twitter, Facebook and blogs (oops, well, I don't Twitter) Hughes was a very private and humble man. After an incredibly successful run, he kind of bowed out of the movie business to be in Chicago and spend time with his family. Married for 39 years to his high school sweetheart, he truly was one of the good guys.

As I said, I wasn't a teen coming of age in the 80s, but John Hughes was was nonetheless a part of my growing up, as a young adult. I was a stay-at home-mom when Michael Keaton was feeding a baby chili in "Mr.Mom," and I took my young children to see "Home Alone." Hughes' work touched all age groups.
I thank him for countless hours of entertainment, and even though I'm far from 16, for still keeping the hope alive that you never know when your own Jake Ryan might just drive up.