I caught about 45 minutes of a predictably predictable Oscar telecast and learned one thing: I’m really freakin’ old. That was the message sent by last night’s creaky celebrity tribute to 1980s teen drama king John Hughes, who died last year. The most entertaining of his self-consciously hip adolescent sagas (“Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day off,” “Pretty in Pink”) coincided with my own prehistoric high school years.
Frankly, I was worried that some of the tribute presenters – especially “Breakfast” co-stars Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Anthony Michael Hall – might fall and shatter a hip on the stage of L.A.’s Kodak Theatre. But it wasn’t just about age: The participants in last night’s Oscar show reunion looked like they had no camera experience whatsoever. Ringwald – her dress held together by huge red paper clips – stared frozen and bug-eyed as if she’d been chosen by terrorists as their hostage spokesperson. Nelson seemed to be white-knuckling it under the encouragement of Dr. Drew. Hall, whose head gets bigger every time I see him, apparently borrowed Daniel Craig’s ample, studly chin for the occasion.
Macaulay Culkin, ex-child phenom and star of the Hughes-scripted “Home Alone” (I’ve still never seen that movie), stood nearby to radiate smug, unnatural youthfulness. But even he hit 30 this year. I wondered what species of infant he harvests for the life-giving blood cells. “Bueller”’s Matthew Broderick looked tousled and smirky and altogether fun to have a cocktail with, but then, he’s given off a laidback, middle-aged man vibe since he was 16.
My favorite moment was afterward during the applause, when cameras cut to heartthrob du jour Taylor Lautner clapping with a bored, impatient expression. Hey, you little punk – you should be so lucky if, thirty years from now, Oscar producers let you, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson drag your walkers onstage for a “Twilight” reunion. Then we’ll see what all the energy drinks and K2 have done to your pretty mug. And the circle of life continues…