Chicago, Humor, John Hughes, Music, Screenplay

Screenplays and Books and Wet Dreams

This has been sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk since 2018

I was excited at the notion that a person who was connected to the late John Hughes reading my screenplay that is about John Hughes.

But here is the thing about my screenplay: it sucks. It does. You are not required to be nice in the comments.

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, and even see what they would wear every day. I’ve been working on them for so long, that I’ve formed a bond with them, and I believe most authors can understand this.

I’ve also developed feelings for the other characters, who are based on real people but have been given personalities of my choosing. Meaning, they are most likely very different in person, so if Anthony Michael Hall reads this screenplay, the one with HIMSELF in it, and thinks, hmm I am nothing like this, that may be a huge problem. Such a huge problem that he might cease wanting to read it all together, and then poof, bye-bye screenplay.

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

I know what you’re thinking, that is a tall order.

My friends Jennifer, Sarah, and I in 2015 posing in the style of Ferris Bueller on a busy Saturday in the middle of a Chicago-area IKEA. Photo courtesy Natasha Nicholes.

I make a better impression in person, and I think most of my friends would agree.

Do you enjoy my writing? Wait until you catch the live show.

Not that I would give you a “live show.”

I am making matters worse for myself.

What I actually need is to talk to him about it, tell Anthony Michael Hall my vision for the screenplay.

Let me back up a bit.


After I finished my screenplay a few years back, I read an essay written by Molly Ringwald that changed my perspective on it. It took the wind out of my sails a little and caused me to reconsider John Hughes, which made me a little irritated.

I like to think of myself as evolved, and 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 films, 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 heads in my screenplay. Trying to make fun of the people who played those characters in order to compensate for the characters they portrayed, if that makes any sense.

After reading the essay, I was angry at Molly Ringwald for writing it. Because I was upset with her, I felt like I was betraying women. Then I felt like I was betraying John Hughes because I was mad at him.

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

I added a sub-plot, and then I got an idea: I created a completely new character, John Hughes’ wife, Nancy.

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

Years before this, I read an article about John Hughes talking about how she was the driving force behind all of his movies, how he wouldn’t be the powerhouse he was without her. After much research, I discovered that Nancy was a recurring theme in most of his interviews.

His film, She’s Having a Baby, was his love letter to her. So I rented it on Amazon one afternoon and re-watched it but this time I studied it. I fell in love with a woman I’d never met before. Someone who was out of the spotlight but nonetheless a big part of our lives. She was the reason all of those movies came to the screen.

I wanted completely scrap my screenplay and write about their love story, but I was balls deep in menopause (yes I know that’s not how it works), 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 the museum materials, movie artifacts, everything.

Which, when you think about it, makes perfect fucking sense! Why WOULDN’T Nancy have all of that crap in her basement?

I recall writing for six hours straight one day and being so ridiculously happy about all that I was creating. I had heard The Thompson Twins song If You Were Here (also used at the end of Sixteen Candles) and KNEW it would be perfect for a scene I had written. Nancy was wandering through the museum the night before they presented it to the public.

She was traversing the corridors, admiring all the movie posters, the screenplays with his writings in the margins, directors’ chairs, touching portraits and museum items, and absorbing all of her husband’s life via his work. The music is playing, and Molly and Kate are watching this unfolding and realizing this was Nancy’s life, Nancy’s doing, and Nancy’s labor of love. That his her museum too.

End scene and sob.

When the song, If You Were Here randomly came on Pandora while I was writing this scene, I cried. It was such a great moment. I was typing, crying and laughing all at once. It felt like John was in the room with me while I was writing it.

I breathed a sign of relief when I finished it and submitted it to Script Revolution. If the Universe wants it to be made, then so be it. Then, sadly, Nancy died in September, and when I found out about it, I wept for her in more ways than one. When she died, so did my screenplay.

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

Then COVID came to town.

Then migraines came to town.

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

Until a few weeks ago, that is.

If you’re just getting caught up, you can read the blog post here but basically, 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 his busy summer was over.

It got my ass in literal gear.

So, over the course of three days, I tore said broke- ass screenplay apart, removing an entire two scenes, an entire character (may she rest in peace), and added three extra characters and a whole new crime based-plot.

I did a thing.

I’m typically great at working under pressure, but this is the first time I’ve done it with no estrogen in my system 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’m having serious regrets about it.

Because I didn’t even attempt to wrap up any loose ends.

I’m in love with this new graphic I made. Maybe instead of screenplays, I should just make screenplay graphics? 

I was hasty in sending my screenplay to him. I should have taken more time before sending it. I should have just sent the Nancy ending, though she is no longer alive.

This leads in nicely to my “vision” for the screenplay; I really don’t have one. I mean, I have a bit of a vision, but not in the way would think. I’m not looking for creative control, I just like the idea of three women bringing a John Hughes museum to Chicago.

That’s it.

Those three women saved my soul at a critical time in my perimenopausal journey. When things were tough during the last five years, I knew I could turn to those women for comfort and humor. 

I merely desired the creation of a John Hughes museum. That was the entire reason for writing the screenplay in the first place.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had debuted when I was 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 recall watching this scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one day early in my perimenopause journey:

I have seen that scene countless times before. I’ve never given it much thought other than,” Oh there’s the Art Institute.” But it wasn’t until I was going through changes in my life that I realized this movie wasn’t just a funny movie about a teenager skipping school or a love story about Ferris and Sloane, but a different kind of love story; it was a love letter to the city of Chicago.

It was during that scene in 2015 that I fell madly in love with a deceased Chicago filmmaker. It was during that period that I realized I wanted to write a screenplay about establishing a museum in his honor. It was during that scene that I forgot about the mind-numbing pain I was experiencing 24 hours a day, about the unexplainable despair that was sneaking into my brain most hours of the day, about my body that was changing before my eyes.

I fell in love with John Hughes’ love of his family when researching him many years ago. I can’t possibly identify with his lifestyle on any level, but I do understand his desire to prioritize his family, to protect his children, to shield them from fame, and keep them away from the spotlight.

He cherished his people so much that he wanted to spend the remainder of his days only with them. Most of the industry people he worked with hadn’t seen him in years, according to interviews conducted after his death. That is something most people can appreciate.

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

I simply have a soft spot in my heart for someone who was so dedicated to a city he loved, that he relocated most of his filming locations to it when that was almost unheard of (most of the filming was in California). In fact, it influenced the way Hollywood viewed movie filming locations in the future. It’s absurd that we don’t have a museum devoted to him.


I had no intention of sending Anthony Michael Hall an email with the word FUCK and WET DREAM in it.

Until I sent it to him, that is.

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

I don’t want to be famous; I don’t want to sleep with has-been celebrities (not at all referring to you, potentially referring to Judd Nelson- KIDDING) 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 house on a Saturday night trying to solve 48 Hours mysteries with my husband while eating the occasional Haagen Daaz, and if I’m really feeling silly, adding the expensive hot fudge from Whole Foods.

At my core, I’m really boring.

But I love the city and suburbs of Chicago. I love this area that John Hughes loved so much; I love the people who inhabit it, the food, the culture, the big lake, the accents, and everything else about it.

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

A John Hughes museum in a couple of years makes so much fucking sense for the future because of everything his films stand for.

In support of the underdog. For those who are underrepresented. In a time when being under represented is all too familiar.

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.

32 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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