Ever Feel Like You Just Really Need A New John Hughes Movie? Well, Here Y’Are.
If you’ve wistfully wondered whether anyone will ever make a John Hughes movie again, this should cheer you up: Someone has.
He’s Jason Ubaldi and the movie is disguised as a 10-episode sitcom called All Night, which rolls out Friday on Hulu.
As a study of social behavior among young women, All Night differs in every conceivable way from Hulu’s marquee show of the moment, The Handmaid’s nuicelTale.
That reflects the way outlets like Hulu — or Netflix or Amazon — are becoming fuller-service content providers. All Night also illustrates perfectly how television networks and streaming services have moved into the spaces abandoned by the movie industry. Like, say, the space once occupied by John Hughes, who turned teenage melodrama into nicely watchable and reassuring movies.
All Night follows a group of high school graduates at their 12-hour post-graduation party. It’s one of those deals, popular in real life for years, where the kids surrender their phones and any expectation of sleep so they can theoretically have one final bonding blowout before they start dispersing into the world.
In theory, again, locking them all into a rec center means the adults can control drugs and alcohol and do a little light behavior monitoring.
All that works about as well in All Night as it works in real life. You don’t get through high school without figuring out a way to have more fun than the grownups think you should.
In an update from most John Hughes movies, the cast here offers a model of diversity: black, white, Latino, gay, straight, nerds, brains and so on.
For dramatic purposes, everyone comes to this party with an agenda, a determination that they will cement their high school legacy on their own terms and not be stuck for eternity with the image slapped on them by their peers, who like all high school students have spent the last four years being relentless and merciless.
In the process, to no one’s surprise, we find out that valedictorian Melinda (Allie Grant) doesn’t have life as easy as others assume, that Stefania (Chanel Celaya) doesn’t necessarily want to be as isolated as she has made herself, that Bryce (Ty Doran) is more vulnerable than he seems, that Roni (Brec Bassinger) may not have correctly assessed the permanence of teenage romance, and well, you get the idea.
So did John Hughes, who died in 2009, but whose 1980s movies remain iconic to that generation for the way they dealt with teenage dramas that remain relevant to all subsequent generations.
All Night in many ways presents a slightly updated version of Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, in a more elaborate setting with a larger cast. It also nods to Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles, while scattering in random DNA from other vintage films like American Graffiti.
This could be ominous. It’s not. While All Night puts characters each generation meets in situations every generation knows, it gives them a fresh voice. Deanna (Jenn McAllister) is neither the first nor last girl to pine for a guy — in this case Fig (Jake Short) — who seems to consider her just a best friend. The path she takes in an attempt to alter that situation provides solid and at times poignant sitcom fodder.
While the cameras naturally spend most of their time on the teens, we get one small and satisfying bonus. Unlike in almost every other movie focusing on teenagers, the main adult authority figure — principal Saperstein, played by Kate Flannery — gets to be more than a cartoon.
John Hughes could have made All Night. In some ways, he did. His movies weren’t perfect, but there’s a place in the video world for his spirit.