Maisie Peters Wishes Her Life Was a John Hughes Movie
Maisie Peters, English chart-topping pop singer, has always been a fan of John Hughes movies.
Growing up in a small town and having a high school experience she described as “very English and painfully awkward and sweet and embarrassing and funny,” she was enchanted by the dreamy, synth-heavy worlds John Hughes crafted, in which basket cases live among the criminals and the girl always gets the guy.
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The romance embedded in these movies set the scene for Peters’ most recent song, “John Hughes Movie,” which hit #1 on the UK iTunes chart after it was released at the end of February as the first single of her soon-to-be-announced debut album. The only catch is that in this song, Peters can’t seem to live up to the cinematic fantasies of the 1980s high school movies. In her music video, as she watches the guy she likes go off with other girls, she has to address that sometimes, you don’t get Jake Ryan, a shiny red car and a birthday cake.
Peters said: “I wrote ‘John Hughes Movie’ when I was 17 about a house party that I had gone to. It’s a really honest depiction of being a hopeless, melodramatic teenager, being awkward and drunk and getting your heart broken by people you don’t even remember anymore. John Hughes films encapsulate that foolish romantic energy of high school and everything that I, a small town English wannabe Molly Ringwald wanted to be, but was not.”
John Hughes movies are an icon of American youth culture. From Ferris Bueller romping around Chicago in a car “borrowed” from his best friend’s father, to John Bender walking victoriously across a football field after kissing the princess, these movies are well-loved by so many because they let teenagers come out as the heroes. Despite the loneliness and the uncertainty that comes with being so young, the protagonists finally get their moments of glory.
The idea of cinematic escapism is a strong pulling force behind this song. It’s what Peters, along with many others, loves about John Hughes movies so much.
“My favourite is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, because I love the escapism of it and I love the surrealism,” said the 20-year-old singer. “To me it reflects a real yearning for more and bigger and better, and I’ve always really felt connected to those characters and the way they are truly at the crossroads of adolescence. It has this humour and joy to it, but also a real undercurrent of sadness and nostalgia and an understanding that things can never stay the same forever.”
Peters’ understanding of youth and heartbreak is reflected in her music, having released two EPs made up of songs chronicling the rising and falling tides of being young and chasing love. Although she is attracted to the melodrama and romance of movies, she is grounded in the sense that she can draw a line between movies and real life.
“For this song, I would say Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles were the most formative, just because we were referencing the classic American teen film romance, and how real life falls very short!” she said. “Every girl wants their Blane from Pretty in Pink moment, to chase the boy and kiss in the carpark.”
She said the character she most wants to be is Sloan from Ferris Bueller, but deep down, she knows that she is in fact his sister Jeanie.
“She is indignant, smart, righteous and a little self-obsessed but also a stickler for justice,” Peters said. “In the end, she totally becomes the hero of the film, and her kissing Charlie Sheen in the police station is all kinds of iconic.”
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Maisie’s favourite John Hughes movies...
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
“I love Ferris’s sister, specifically her kissing Charlie Sheen in the police office, truly the best character development in the history of film.”
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“The scene of them dancing in the school library set the bar for my whole school experience and for that I shall always be grateful.”
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“Molly Ringwald’s style in this film is flawless; so much pink, so much taffeta, so much obsessed.”
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“After these last few years, there is nothing I’d like more than to get lost on my own in New York for a couple days. This film is the blueprint for escapism.”
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Words: Kate M Brennan
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