Plays just as well 30 years later. Well, except for that Long Duk Dong stuff, although I don’t think it worked very well at the time either.
John Hughes wrote this movie/part especially for Molly Ringwald. Seldom has there been a more perfect pairing of a director and muse. Sixteen Candles is undisputedly Ringwald’s movie. Sam Baker is her breakout role and it makes this film timeless.
Sixteen Candles isn’t John Hughes’ best film, but I find it the among his most enjoyable. It’s a pretty straightforward comedy. It’s not a subversive piece. But the real emotion and thoughts of teens are expressed so well that it feels very fresh, even now.
After writing the ridiculously successful Mr. Mom & National Lampoon’s Vacation, this was his directorial debut. (Despite having such an enormous impact and single-handedly creating the “John Hughes” genre of teen films, he only directed 8 films. Of those, only 4 were high-school movies.) It is very well assembled, in addition to the great writing, and if it doesn’t stick out for visual impact or arty shots, it doesn’t need to. He did a great job of expressing the story he wanted to tell.
Of course, by modern sensibilities, some of the movie strikes the wrong tone. In addition to the offensive Long Duk Dong character, the Jake Ryan character comes off as a real jerk. He entrusts a non-driving freshman with his car and more importantly his drunk girlfriend, implicitly inviting the kid to do whatever he wants with her. And this is the love interest of the protagonist?
In addition to Ringwald’s star-making performance, Anthony Michael Hall is brilliant to watch as Farmer Ted. Paul Dooley provides some needed adult connection as Sam’s dad; their late-night talk is among the best scenes in the film.
Sixteen Candles is a rite of passage movie for teenagers. It will probably continue to be for a long time.
The Representation Test Score: B (8 pts)
|Main Cast||Molly Ringwald Samantha Baker, Anthony Michael Hall The Geek, Justin Henry Mike Baker, Michael Schoeffling Jake Ryan|
|Release Date||Fri 04 May 1984 UTC|
|Plot||A young girl’s “sweet sixteenth” birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.|
|Tagline||This is Samantha Baker and today is her 16th birthday. The problem is, nobody remembers.|
|Writers||John Hughes (written by)|