Don’t You Forget about Me is a documentary/tribute to the late John Hughes. Four amateur filmmakers set out to find answers to the questions, why did you leave? How did you capture adolescence so perfectly in your films? Why do your films remain a fixture in popular culture? After obtaining interviews with many of the John Hughes alumni such as Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Alan Ruck and Andrew McCarthy, the filmmakers came to the realization that they required an interview with John Hughes to complete the film. The documentary combines the interview footage as well as covers the filmmaker’s road trip from Toronto to Illinois to acquire an interview with the reclusive director.
The marketing potential of this film rose greatly upon John Hughes’ unfortunate passing. These filmmakers are deeply interested and moved by the works of Hughes and audiences can see that. However, there is nothing compelling about the filmmakers. They are not interesting or provocative. I found myself bored with their stories and opinions. What is problematic about this documentary is the forced fusion of two stories; One being the story of John Hughes and the other being the group of filmmakers. In my opinion, the latter should have been jettisoned altogether. Audiences are engaged in these interviews and suddenly the flow is disrupted with the tiresome antics of these four filmmakers.
The film does not clearly answer the questions it proposes, which creates an obvious disconnect with the intentions of these filmmakers. The door is opened only a crack and audiences are not given enough to create their own answers. If the filmmakers are truly attempting to create a ‘love letter’ to John Hughes, they should have made it less self indulgent. The interviews with cast, crew, critics and fans are the most interesting and investigative parts of this film and they should have been explored further.
Don’t You Forget about Me is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Seeing as how the film is a documentary with multiple locations and interviews, the color and contrast could pose likely problems. However, the final product is manageable and the transfer is good enough.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound is average. The film delivers a serviceable mix with occasional problems with clarity of dialogue. Some of the dialogue in the older footage is too faint and some of the newer footage is too loud, so keep your remote in hand.
The interviews in this film require further exploration to make this effort memorable. Unfortunately, audiences will inevitably do the opposite of what the title suggests. John Hughes was a talented filmmaker and his films will continue to transcend generations with their wit, characters and identifiable themes.