Sixteen Candles Reviews
This is the story of a sweet yet unappreciated girl whose family forgets her 16th birthday. On top of that, her older sister is getting married the day after her birthday, so she is ignored even more. On top if that, the boy she has a major crush on doesn't even seem to realize she exists. On top of THAT is the fact that the one boy who does know she exists is a total geek who is absolutely obsessed with her.
This is all at one a funny, sweet, edgy, and wild ball of fun, heart, and pain. It superbly captures what it is like to be a teenager and have to deal all kinds of awful, embarrassing, and ridiculous crap. One of the best things about the late john Hughes is how well he understood youth. The way he writes them and their dialogue is spot on, never condescending, and very well rounded. There are of course some stereotypes and archetypes, but only a small section of them are purely caricature- all of the rest, mainly the leads as played by Ringwald, Schoeffling, and Hall are well rounded and fleshed out characters who are more complex than they seem, and have far more to offer than what the surface shows. In the hilarious scene stealing role of Long Duk Dong is Gedde Watanabe. This character is a goofy exchange student who loves to party. The character is borderline offensive, but Watanabe's performances transcends that and elevates things to the level of genial farce.
Had I grown up with this movie, and if I were a fan of the 80s in the same way that I'm a fan of the 60s, 70s, and 90s, then I'd give this one 5 stars easily (probably). As much as I like this movie, and a good as it is, I was originally just going to give it a 4. It is really good, and pretty solid, but not all of it has aged well. The general themes and ideas and timeless, but the specific details are very much of their time, thus they are dated, but not in the same sort of way that like a blaxploitation film is. They are charming, but only to a slight extent.
I'm giving this movie the benefit of the doubt though, because it is really hilarious, very sweet, and, as I said, a very influential film. As someone who really doesn't care too much for 80s pop culture, I'd call that some definite high praise.
Jake Ryan is pretty dreamy - the Adonis with the heart of gold - but how long is this relationship really gonna last? They don't know anything about each other! I rather like Samantha and The Geek's friendship though. The character-building moment of Samantha allowing The Geek use of her underwear really cements her as one of the coolest girls in American cinema.
Admittedly, on a re-watch last night, (and it's probably about the 100th re-watch in my life - the only thing that surprises me about this one anymore is the soundtrack on the remastered DVD, as I watched my old, now retired, VHS copy so frequently that the changed soundtrack they used on that is ingrained in my head - I can acknowledge a few flaws. Most obvious is that Jake the dream guy is not actually that much of a catch at all. A guy who lets his passed out drunk girlfriend drive home with a teenager he just met, who can barely drive - yeah, that's a keeper. And let's not start on Long Duk Dong - very PC, I don't think! (Having said that I love Long Duk Dong!).
On the plus side, Molly Ringwald as Samantha, who's parents are so busy thinking of her sister's upcoming wedding that they forget it's her 16 birthday, is just fantastic. Also great is Anthony Michael Hall as Farmer Ted and Haviland Morris is actually quite sweet as Caroline.
This is just all round a great 80's movie, one of my favourites from John Hughes. Not quite as great as Pretty in Pink, but certainly on it's way there. I don't know if it would be as much loved by teens today, but luckily they have some great films of their own such as Easy A, which reminded me a little of this even though the story is nothing alike (maybe because they "borrowed" some of the (great!) soundtrack. I love the ending too with Jake at his car and then Samantha blowing out her candles. A sweet movie with enough angst to be relatable, but an ending that will leave you smiling.
A young girl's "sweet sixteenth" birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.
John Hughes' first and perhaps most charming film written/directed by is about everyteen Ringwald facing every girl's worst nightmare: her parents totally forgetting her sweet 16th birthday as they obsess over older daughter Baker's upcoming wedding. To her rescue comes self-appointed "king of the dweebs" Hall (a laugh riot) as the moxied nerd who helps in her desire to meet hunky high school stud Schoeffling while romancing his gorgeous stuck up blonde babe-o-licious Morris (oh momma!) Funniest moment is Hall trying to prove to fellow loser Cusack his track record as a babe magnet by pulling up in a BMW with Morris comatose!