Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sixteen Candles - John Hughes Update #1

Part of me feels like a presidential candidate needing to hold a press conference explaining my actions. For reasons unknown, movies were not a part of my childhood. My family isn't cinephilic in the least. Mom likes going, but Dad just can't understand why anyone would want to spend two hours of a sunny weekend in a dark theater. What is the fallout of all this? Charley has seen only one John Hughes movie: Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

And I don't even like it! Cameron's (Alan Ruck) phone conversation with principal Rooney is the only funny part. I can't buy Broderick either. His demeanor is awkward and I don't think he can carry a movie. Election (Alexander Payne, 1999) works for me because Broderick's Jim McAllister IS Matthew Broderick!

What John Hughes films haven't I seen? Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty and Pink. When my friends discuss these films, I stay silent. Having not seen them, I don't have anything to contribute. So, when I admitted that I had not seen this Molly Ringwald trilogy, I am surprised there wasn't an earthquake from all the jaws hitting the floor. It's surprising for two reason. The first is that these films are quintessential coming-of-age tales for my generation (those born in the early to mid-eighties). The second is that these films are about high school, something that I love. I could watch She's All That (Robert Iscove, 1999) and Can't Hardly Wait (Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan, 1998) anytime. If they're on television, I can't turn away.

My friends were very willing to help. MH lended Sixteen Candles. I decided to watch this trilogy in chronological order, so let's begin with Candles. Ringwald's Samantha is immediately recognizable as an outcast teen. She has her own circle of friends, but is obviously not part of the jock and motorcycle crowd. To make matters worse, her family forgot her sixteenth birthday. The film follows her day at school. The object of her desire is typical jock-with-money Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). The quest brings these two characters together.

Ultimately, the reason to watch this film is for The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall). A courageous outsider with stereotypical prowess with technology. At first only interested in obtaining the underwear of a girl, Candles of course finds his reputation soaring like an exponential curve. An unlikely partnership forms between Jake Ryan and The Geek. The Geek has information about Samantha that Jake Ryan wants. Jake Ryan has a girlfriend that he is all too happy to dump on The Geek, who is all too happy to take her.

If you've seen any teen comedy, then you know where all this is headed and I don't need to explain it to you. In the end, I think I was a little disappointed. I like Molly Ringwald as the lead, but Schoeffling mails it in. His best scene is with The Geek, but only because Anthony Michael Hall CAN carry the scene. Schoeffling only serves as the eye candy.

A post on The Breakfast Club is coming...


aka Victoria Lucas said...

You're not alone! Not only in the respect that I didn't grow up watching movies (I saw more in undergrad than I had in my entire life up until that point), but I really don't find much endearing/meaningful about John Hughes...and Ferris Bueller isn't funny at all. Except for that part on the phone, of course.

Okay. Now we can be strung up like Mussolini and his wife.

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