Chicago, Humor, John Hughes, Music, Screenplay

Screenplays and Books and Wet Dreams

 

This has sat in a bottom drawer of my desk since 2018

 

I was pretty excited at the prospect of a person who was actually connected to the late John Hughes reading a screenplay that is about John Hughes.

But here is the thing about my screenplay: it kind of sucks. It does, you don’t have to be nice.

Over the past five years, I have fallen madly in love with the characters of Kate, Regina, and Val. I can see them, hear their voices, I can even see what they would wear every day. I have crafted them for so many years, that I have developed a relationship with them and I think most writers can understand this.

In the process, I’ve also fallen in love with the other characters- the ones who are real-life people BUT I have given them personalities of my choosing. Meaning, they are most likely totally different in person, so if Anthony Michael Hall reads this screenplay, the screenplay with HIMSELF in it and says, hmm I am nothing like this, that could pose a huge problem.

So much of a huge problem that he could stop wanting to read it altogether and then poof, bye-bye screenplay.

What I need is to get myself IN FRONT OF Anthony Michael Hall.

I know what you’re thinking, that is a big ask.

 

My friend Jen, Sarah, and I at a Chicago Ikea in 2015 posing ala Ferris style on a busy Saturday with a shit-ton of people watching. Photo courtesy Natasha Nicholes

 

I make a better impression in person and I think most of my IRL friends would agree. You think you like my writing? Wait until you catch the live show. Not that I would give him a “live show”. I am making this much worse for myself.

What I really need is to discuss things with him, tell him my vision for the screenplay, per se.

Let me back up a bit.


After I finished my screenplay a few years ago, I read an essay written by Molly Ringwald that changed how I looked at my screenplay completely. It took the proverbial wind out of my sails a bit and made me look at John Hughes differently and that made me a little smad.

Yes, I knew that sexism and racism existed in media, in film, on television and it has always bothered me.

I like to think I am evolved, I consider myself an ally to my friends, but here I was writing a screenplay dedicated to a man who had some flaws in a few of his movies, stereotypes such as Long Duck Dong from Sixteen Candles, a truly sexist character (Bender from The Breakfast Club) and I was trying to turn those on their ears in my screenplay. Trying to make fun of the people who played those characters to make up for the characters which they played, if that makes any sense.

After I read the essay, I was mad at Molly Ringwald for writing it. Then I felt like I was betraying women for being mad at her. Then I felt like I was betraying John Hughes for being mad at him.

So I went back and feverishly tore out scenes in my screenplay.

I added in a sub-plot, and then I got a crazy idea: I added in a brand new character, John Hughes’ wife, Nancy.

Unbeknownst to anyone, I made her the heroine of my screenplay.

Nancy Hughes, inspiration and wife of filmmaker John Hughes, has ...
Courtesy/Chicago Sun-Times

I had read an article years before this about John Hughes talking about her and how she was the real person behind all of his movies, how he wouldn’t be the powerhouse he was without her. After much research, I would notice that the common theme behind most of his interviews was Nancy.

His movie, She’s Having a Baby, was his love letter to her, so I rented it on Amazon one afternoon and rewatched it but looked at it totally differently, this time studying it. I fell in love with a woman I had never met, this person who was out of the public eye but yet such a part of our lives. She was the reason all of those movies came to the screen. So I knew it had to be her, in fact, part of me wanted to take the screenplay and completely scrap it to write about their love story but I was balls deep in menopause (yes I know that isn’t how it works) and so instead, I was feverishly writing about Nancy coming to the rescue of Kate, Val, and Regina and getting them the money for the museum, then finding all of the museum materials, movie artifacts, everything. Which when you think about it, makes complete fucking sense! Why WOULDN’T Nancy have all of that shit in her basement?

I remember writing one day for six hours straight and being so ridiculously happy about all that I was creating. I had heard the song If You Were Here by The Thompson Twins (also used at the end of Sixteen Candles) and I KNEW it would be perfect for a certain scene that I had written. It was a scene where Nancy was walking through the museum the night before it was revealed to the public. She was walking the halls, looking at all of the movie posters, the screenplays with his writings in the margins, directors’ chairs, touching pictures and museum items, and taking in all of her husband’s life from his work. The music is playing and Molly and Kate are watching this alone and realizing that it was Nancy’s life, Nancy’s doing, and Nancy’s work too, and that this is her museum too.

When it came on Pandora while I was writing, I cried. I was typing and crying and laughing all at once and it was such a beautiful moment. I felt like John and Nancy were both in the room with me while I was writing it.

 

I finished it, submitted it to Script Revolution, and breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like if the Universe wanted it to be made, so be it.

Then, sadly, Nancy passed away last September and when I heard about it, I grieved for her in more ways than one. When she died, so did my screenplay.

Again.

I didn’t want to proceed. I felt like that was my big sign. I mean, can you think of any bigger sign that my main character dying?

Then COVID came to town.

Then migraines came to town.

Then Josh Gad did that amazing Ferris Bueller YouTube reunion and HANDS TO GOD, I thought that was the Universe’s answer to my John Hughes museum conundrum.

You’re just now questioning how my brain works? 

Until a few weeks ago.

 

 

If you are just catching up, you can read the blog post here but essentially, my dear friend Ani had ordered me a Cameo video on a Universal whim and in it suggested to THE Mr. Anthony Michael Hall that I had written a screenplay titled “Don’t You Forget About Me” in which he said he would like to read when he was done with his busy summer.

It got my ass in literal gear.

So within the course of three days, I broke apart said broke ass screenplay and took out an entire two scenes, an entire character altogether (may she still rest in peace), and added three extra characters as well as a whole new crime based-plot in the process.

I know.

I did a thing.

I am usually really good at working under pressure but this is the first time I’ve done this with absolutely no estrogen in my body and also while our country was within a “not my circus, not my monkeys” scenario/pandemic shitshow situation.

So I was working on a curve.

And now, I am having major regrets about it.

Because I didn’t at ALL tie loose ends together.

 

I love the FUCK out of this new graphic I created. Maybe I should just create screenplay graphics instead of screenplays?

 

I feel like I was hasty in sending it to him, I feel like I should have taken more time before sending it. I feel like I should have just sent the Nancy ending to him even though she is gone.

Part of me worried that the Hughes family would have a field day with that, I have heard their family attorney has a field day with people using their name. Of course, that came from the guy who was trying to make money from that festival in Chicago, so I can’t go off of him.


 

Which leads in nicely to my “vision” for the screenplay, I really don’t have one.

I mean, I do have a bit of a vision but not in the way that you would normally think.

I could care less if someone does with it what they want, all I ask is that they get most of the reunion vibe with as many of the characters as possible but if they can’t use the characters of Kate, Regina, and Val, I don’t want a movie at all. I don’t need “creative control”, I just love the idea of the three women bringing a museum dedicated to John Hughes to Chicago.

That is it.

I have fallen so in love with those girls, I would hate for them to disappear forever. Those three women have saved my life during such a dark time, during the hardest part of my menopause journey, my migraine cycles. I knew I could find solace in those women over the past five years when things were bleak. They provided the dialogue that I desperately needed at that time in my real life.

 

 

I don’t want to get rich, I don’t want to get famous. I just want this story to be made. I don’t even need to be part of it other than maybe just a small fly on the wall to watch it being made.

When I told Mike about this, he was like WAIT A MINUTE NOW, let’s think this through, and maybe that sounds a bit amateur on my part.

But that was never my motivation for doing this in 2015.

I simply wanted a museum made. That was the entire motivation for writing the screenplay, to begin with.

I remember watching this scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one day during my early perimenopause journey when I had my first of many, what I call “epiphanies”:

 

I had seen this particular scene so many times before in my life while watching it on the many times it aired on TBS or AMC. Ferris Bueller had debuted when I was also in high school. In fact, I was Ferris Bueller’s exact age when it was in theaters. Well, I was Ferris’ girlfriend’s exact age.

I had watched that scene countless times before and never really given it much thought other than, oh there’s the Art Institute but it was while I was going through changes in my life that I realized how this movie wasn’t just a funny movie about a teenager skipping school or a love story about Ferris and Sloane but rather quite another love story; it was a love letter to the city of Chicago.

It was during that scene in 2015 when I fell madly in love with a dead director from Chicago. It was during that scene when I decided I wanted to write a screenplay about creating a museum dedicated to him. It was during that scene that I forgot about the mind-numbing pain I was having pretty much 24/7, about the inexplicable depression that was creeping into my brain most hours of the day, about my body that was changing virtually before my eyes.

While researching Mr. Hughes and his life, it was his love of family, his wife, and his life in the area where I currently live that I fell in love with many years ago. I can’t possibly begin to relate to his lifestyle on any level but I can relate to putting family first, to wanting to protect my kids, shield my spouse from fame, and being normal. I loved that he loved his people so much that he wanted to spend the rest of his days only with them. That in every interview after he died, most of the people he worked with, hadn’t seen him in years. I think most people can respect that.

 

My daughter, making us proud in 2016. (Ferris Bueller is STILL her favorite movie, to this day)

 

 

I simply have a place in my heart for a person who was so dedicated to a city he loved, that he moved most of his filming locations to that city at a time when that was almost unheard of (most of the filming was in California at that time). In fact, it pretty much changed how Hollywood looked at movie filming locations going forward after that. Why we don’t have any kind of museum dedicated to him, who brought so much to the city of Chicago, is kind of ridiculous.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t even think a thing about sending Anthony Michael Hall an email with the word FUCK and WET DREAM in it.

Until after I sent it to him.

So, Mr. Hall, if you’re listening out there, please don’t give up on this idea.

I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want to be rich or sleep with has-been celebrities (not at all referring to you, possibly referring to Judd Nelson) in order to do lines of coke at a Hollywood party, I am boring as fuck.

 

Proof part one- a paper version of myself made it to Las Vegas before an actual version of myself made it there. I wish I were making this up. Photo courtesy of Jackie Vatistas

 

I just like sitting in my suburban Chicago home on a Saturday night trying to solve 48 Hours mysteries with my husband while eating the occasional Haagen Daaz and if I am really crazy, occasionally adding the good hot fudge from Whole Fuckin’ Foods.

I am very boring and basic, at my core.

 

No photo description available.
Proof part Deux- I traveled all the way to LA with my oldest daughter for a mother/daughter trip after she graduated high school two years ago and didn’t buy this hat because it was overpriced and thought I could find it cheaper online. I’m still looking.

 

 

But I do love the city and suburbs of Chicago. I love this place that John Hughes loved so much, I love the people who make up this place, the food, the culture, the big lake, everything about it.

It is my home, it was his home, it is America’s home.

I am writing a book that will be much better than the screenplay I sent to you and because most likely we won’t be on the inside of a movie theater for the next decade thanks to the president who thinks we need to get rid of the virus with demon spawn, a book makes much better sense right now.

But a John Hughes museum in a couple of years makes so much fucking sense for the future because of what his movies stood for.

For the underdog. For the underrepresented. In a time when being underrepresented is so fucking relatable.

Don’t you forget about me and my wet dreams.

Sincerely,

The Dinner Club

 

See, now THAT is what I should have sent to him.

FUCK.

30 thoughts on “Screenplays and Books and Wet Dreams”

  1. Your posts always make me smile. I wish you had bought the hat!! (I do that crap all the time)

    CHICAGO!! On my list of places I want ti visit since before I met you. Meeting you placed it on my list of places I will visit. Gotta meet the real life you.

    Just think. Your museum could be up and running by the time travel is doable again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I can make you smile. That is what I had in mind this morning when I hit publish. So much in the world right now, we need light hearted every once and again.

      I would love for you to come visit here when you can travel! Chicago had another rough night last night. Please pray for the city I so love. Just one thing after another.

      We just need something to look forward to. 💕

      Like

  2. I think you should send a link to this post to Anthony Michael Hall.
    This is amazing.
    I love the idea of Nancy and I had tears in my eyes as I was reading the idea. That would make an amazing story.

    I agree that there should be some sort of a museum to John Hughes in Chicago. He is a huge part of movie history for that city. I’m kind of surprised that they don’t have anything.

    I read about the looting in Chicago this morning. 😢
    Sending you and the city you love a hug.

    But seriously think about sending this to Anthony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband said the same thing. I might do that in September when I said to him in the email that I would “circle back”. Look at me saying big girl words.
      I loved that storyline so much and when she died, I was so sad that the storyline died too.

      I wondered all those years if it was a matter of him being such a private person and his family just honoring his wishes. Maybe he wouldn’t have wanted this because his family is private all these years later as well.

      Yeah, it’s just so sad because Chicago is such an amazing city. I love the mayor and I feel for the police here because they are trying to control the situation. I can just hear the people of privilege AND the people who don’t even live near Chicago whispering about this and that is what pisses me off. This year SUCKS.

      Like

  3. I love this! You haven’t written about John Hughes in a while and I missed it. In this crappy time, I think we needed it. I’m glad you shared this today. Your happy place, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing it with us. ❤️

    Oh and I love the Nancy Hughes plot SO MUCH.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually missed it too. I cannot thank Ani enough for rekindling my John Hughes flame again.
      We really did need it, I needed it for sure. It is a crappy, rainy, dreary, Monday here. I have been headachy again and we are getting a huge storm this afternoon. GAHHHH.

      NANCY AND JOHN, SAVE US.

      Like

  4. Can’t you keep the storyline even though Nancy is dead? Like a tribute? The whole thing is so amazing. I can relate to writing something and then deciding to go in another direction or questioning what direction works best. Not easy. When I write parts of my memoir I see it evolving like a John Hughes movie . . . with the underdog prevailing. Dare to dream that it ends up becoming SOMETHING. At this point I want it published so it is real. I feel like we are on TBE same page there. Get it, page?

    I think telling him you are gonna circle back is brilliant. You gave yourself an extra step there. A reason to connect again.

    I have met the real you and read your blog, both awesome. Can’t wait to hear what happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really want to because I love it so much. One of their sons is a writer in Chicago and I get the feeling he wouldn’t like it. So that’s why I never push it. I just get that vibe. Not sure why.

      A reason to connect again, yes, I love that.

      Like

  5. I love so much about this story. Maybe the story isn’t about John Hughes or Nancy or even Chicago, but about this (hardly) boring as fuck and regular woman who is struggling with menopause and migraine and a country wrecked by a demon spawn president who writes a screenplay that is an homage to her city and her youth and her dream (the exact nature of which is not entirely clear to me) comes true?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember that essay by Molly Ringwald. I didn’t hate her for writing it, just felt sad that another little piece of what I thought I knew for sure, wasn’t. I like that you’ve morphed from one type of writer into another. I’ve never contemplated writing a book, so I give you big props for doing so. Ever onward, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Kari, I can tell how happy John Hughes makes you! I think you’re right that MANY of his movies were love letters to Chicago – Ferris Bueller especially.

    I hope you get it made. And your museum.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your original screenplay did NOT suck. And I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m your friend. Brian and I used to read your screenplay together, every time you’d post another scene (or whatever you call it…can I blame it on menopause brain?). Brian loved it and he doesn’t even know you. He actually *wanted* to read it each time you’d post another scene.

    I’m in awe of you for having such lofty goals and actually doing something about it. Most people (myself included) merely daydream about stuff like this and never get around to applying ourselves. You are amazing.

    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You need that damn overpriced hat!! Also, there is nothing boring or basic about you my friend.
    I love this post. I LOVE that you have the balls to write AND send a screenplay to anyone.

    I love your idea about the museum and the whole Nancy part. Also, I love that John Hughs was such a good family man. Right? It doesn’t get much better than that.

    I loved that clip from FB when they were in the museum; certainly, it was all a love letter to Chicago.

    Can I say I LOVE anymore???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I DO NEED THAT HAT! I have regretted not buying that hat for two years. Sigh.

      I mean, you can kind of tell that from the central theme in his movies but I do love that too.

      I love that you said love so much. ❤️

      Like

  10. I am here, but don’t really know what to say. I loved that screenplay in its infancy and was rooting for it so hard. Now I am mourning for a version I didnt get to read, but realizing it is just YOU I need to root for!

    Like

  11. I just told this story again over the weekend. I shared the story with my brother when I first sent it and your reaction video, which makes me so damn happy. He came over this weekend and I told him the follow up with the email you sent him, and he was like damn what a badass. I know right?! My fucking hero!

    Then we talked about how AMH recently had to apologize for yelling at some people by a pool. He sounded a big unhinged, but then he also sounded sincerely sorry for his behavior. I can’t really blame the guy for being on edge, I’m three second away from yelling at everyone I see wearing their mask under their nose. How is this a thing anyone can possibly think is acceptable? It’s like wearing your boobs outside of your bra, or your balls outside of your jock strap. Ugh, we are never getting out of this pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, I love that your brother thinks I’m a badass. Can I be part of your family?

      I am always five seconds from yelling at people. Because I’m blonde, I also look like a Karen. But I swear I’m the farthest from one. I also hate calling myself that because one of my dear friend’s mom’s name was Karen and she passed last year. She was a beautiful soul. But I think she’d get a chuckle out of her name being used like this. But we are all unhinged. It’s day to day.

      The visual of balls outside of a jockstrap will be what gets me through the rest of the week. This is why I’m so glad you’re my friend, Ani. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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