Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: "Searching for John Hughes" by Jason Diamond

While it is not my favorite movie (although it does belong in my “Seven Movies in Heaven” list), I don’t think there is a movie I have seen more times than The Breakfast Club. My feelings for it have grown, wrapped and changed dramatically since I first watched it a few weeks before I started my own disappointing high school journey. I can quite it almost verbatim and every time I see it I spot something new. That love for a movie inhabits every page of Searching for John Hughes, the memoir of writer Jason Diamond. And it is that love that makes it such a charming read, even though I have to admit that some of the writing is not that good and, from how it is written and it’s approach to external, non-cinematic components, I don’t think Diamond has grown as a person as much as he thinks he has. Diamond was born in Chicago to Jewish parents who took all their frustrations and disappointments out on their son. His only solace came in the form of movies, mostly the teen cinematic universe of Shermer, Illinois, created by writer/director John Hughes. From the moment a babysitter let him watch Pretty in Pink a few years too soon for him, his life was changed, and through all his hardships, loneliness and social betrayal, the movies become a lifeline for him, so much so that he starts to write an ill-fated biography of the then reclusive filmmaker. It’s a fool’s errand, and we, as well as Diamond, are aware of this when it is first brought up over drinks with a long lost friend. It’s a journey of self-discovery that is littered with failed ambition and self-hatred that anyone who has ever felt less than and unable to move on from point A to point B will see their reflection in the life of Diamond. It is too bad that it is sometimes comes off as a shoddy megalomaniacal journal written by someone without the awareness of other people and the world beyond their feelings and emotions. But if you are one to see yourself more in the context of pop culture and less in the world around you and have ever felt stuck, this book will charm the pants off you.

Rating: 4/5

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