John Hughes is often cited by critics as the godfather of teen movies. His films focused mainly on young people trying to survive the social pressures of teenage life, as well as high school issues. He is known for mixing comedy and drama with popular synth music of the 1980’s.
The Breakfast Club is considered his greatest film. It tells the story of five students who are forced to spend their Saturday morning in detention as punishment for their misdeeds. The principal informs them that they must write an essay explaining who they think they are.
Throughout the course of their morning each member of the group opens up a little more and they realise they are all connected. A key theme is stereotyping and social groups. One of the characters is a typical jock. He later discovers that he has more in common with the “nerd” of the group than he first thought.
They all sit together and talk about what it is like to be a teenager. The range of topics they discuss include sex, parental neglect, violence and depression. By the end of the film they have each formed a tight bond. Despite this they worry that they will just ignore each other when Monday comes.
When the film was released it soon gained a cult following. It was popular due to its dealing with complex and dark issues. The teen comedies of the time were more reluctant to focus on heavy subjects. In contrast, The Breakfast Club felt like a breath of fresh air.
John Hughes also managed to make the movie fun. It is first and foremost a comedy. There are several side splitting scenes, especially ones where the youths rebel against their principal. The humour of the film helps to make the five characters even more endearing.
Hughes was aware of the popular music of the 1980’s. This can be seen in the quote by David Bowie which is used to open the movie. Throughout it’s running time The Breakfast Club features a number of pop hits. Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds plays during the end sequence. It has since been recognised as one of the most iconic endings of all time. New generations continue to find this gem and enjoy it. The music helps to bring universal appeal, even to the young audiences who were not born when it was first released.
An Impressive Saga
The Lord of the Rings was once thought to be unfilmable. JRR Tolkien’s books were so long and full of epic visuals that it would take a multi-million production to do it justice. Luckily New Line Cinema were able to finance such an endeavour.
The trilogy was directed by Peter Jackson who at that time was more known for low budget gore films. He had become obsessed with the world of the books and had the vision to put it on screen. His production company Wingnut Films used cutting edge special effects. These helped with the scenes where thousands of soldiers are seen fighting all at once on screen.
Jackson released all three of these films to great acclaim. They won a record number of Academy Awards and helped Hollywood to recognise Jackson as one of the most important directors of his time. The main accolades were focused on the acting, effects and soundtrack of the films.
The story centres on a hobbit named Frodo who must take a magical ring to a volcano. On his quest he meets a wide range of heroes and villains. As he gets closer to his destination the stakes get higher as several large scale battles unfold. Throughout the course of the films there is an abundance of magic, action and fantastic creatures.
Perhaps Peter Jackson’s greatest achievement is managing to make the land of Middle Earth such a believable place. The geography and different people who live there are very well defined. This is helped by the fact that many of these places were filmed in real world locations throughout the country of New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings proved so successful that Jackson would eventually return to this world with the Hobbit trilogy. It revisited several characters from the Lord of the Rings. This time, Frodo’s uncle is the focus of the story.
The prequel takes place a number of years before the original trilogy. Bilbo Baggins goes on an adventure with the wizard Gandalf to defeat a dragon. These films expanded on the lore that had been established earlier on. This was a treat for fans who wanted to see more of this magical world.
However, the Hobbit series was not nearly as critically successful as its earlier counterpart. The heavy reliance on CGI was the most common criticism. The story line was also attacked for being overlong. This is likely due to the fact that Jackson chose to base three films on only one short book. Many felt that one movie would have been enough to satisfy them. Despite this reaction, he managed to create an immersive fantasy universe that will be enjoyed by future generations.
Jaws is an example of how to do a film right. Director Steven Spielberg was new to the industry but proved that he could be a master at the craft. His use of suspense and action in this film helped to make him one of the most recognised people in the entire industry.
Jaws focuses on a police chief who must save his town from a shark that is attacking people. He brings along a scientist and shark hunter to help him bring down this menace. The film has a number of iconic scenes and characters. It is perhaps best remembered for the atmospheric and intense score composed by John Williams.
While filming the movie there were problems with the mechanical shark being used. Eventually it proved to be unusable. Therefore Spielberg resolved to shoot the film from the shark’s point of view instead. This helped to create an even more intense sense of menace.
The various production problems have been talked about in several books. There were technical issues with the times of day that they could shoot at sea. Several cast members were causing friction on set. The fact that Spielberg faced these and still managed to create such a fantastic film is extremely impressive.
When it was released in cinemas, Jaws terrified audiences. There are reports of people running out of the theatre. It is the reason that many people are afraid to go into the sea. It remains one of the best executed horror films of all time.
Shaun of the Dead is a great example of how to create a hybrid genre film. In this case it mixes horror with comedy. The movie does not sacrifice one for the other. In some scenes the zombie rampages are scary. Other times the character’s decisions are hilarious.
The movie has also been noted for its high level of foreshadowing. Throughout the running time the director leaves little Easter eggs which inform the viewer of events that are soon to come. This can be seen in one of the earliest scenes where the entire plot is secretly spelled out through clever dialogue.
The high quality of the film can be attributed to the collaboration between the director and cast. they had previously worked together on the sitcom Spaced. This meant that they had enough experience to get the best results from one another.
Often the best movies come from productions where the people have been working together for some time. Getting a troupe of actors together and developing a rapport is a useful tip for new filmmakers to learn. Knowing an actor’s potential and range is an important skill.