John Hughes died today, and as longtime readers of our Twitter feed know, I am a huge fan. As an admittedly dorky teenager, I spent more than a few Friday nights at home with a well-worn VHS copy of Pretty in Pink, hoping for my own Duckie to waltz into my life. And it could have happened, because in Hughes's world, it didn't matter if you weren't the most popular or beautiful girl. It didn't matter if your hair was a mess or if you didn't fit the "perfect" mold. (In fact, as shown in Some Kind of Wonderful, the polished scene queens often aren't as cool as the tomboy drummer.) If anything, Hughes made the unusual girls beautiful because of their quirks.
I'm not saying that high school was a breeze simply because of his films, but they made a difference in how I got through it. When you're 15 and you aren't a total knockout, it's easy to feel inadequate among the girls who are. But there's something comforting about seeing characters like Watts, Andie, Allison, Jeannie accept themselves as they are. Hughes's films weren't perfect (ugh, Long Duk Dong is the worst), but they sent a message that you don't have to be or look "perfect" to be cool. I never knew John Hughes, but I felt like he knew me, and he'll be missed.