Sixteen Candles (1984) — A cheesy ’80s teen prototype

“I can’t believe my grandmother actually felt me up!”

Justin’s rating: Zit-riffic

Justin’s review: Let me tell you about the joys of being born at the end of May. I’m out of college, so my birthday celebrations are never with my friends, alas. I spent my 22nd birthday drinking wine and watching a few rental movies away from both friends and family. You don’t hear me complaining; I’m just glad I’m advancing as far away from my teen years as I possibly can.

You definitely hear Samantha (Molly Ringwald) complaining, though, in Sixteen Candles. You see, she turned 16, and her family, overwhelmed by her sister’s wedding, sort of… forgot. Plagued by this Hiroshima-level event, she plods through the day whining to her best friend and anyone unfortunate to be within earshot. What she really needs is to be sold to the circus as the Pouting Freak.

This being a John Hughes movie, her forgotten birthday is the center of a universe of hilarity and general weirdness. Anthony Michael Hall (as the Geek) leads a pack of nerds in an endless quest for female wiles. Bringing culture into our lives in the form of unfortunate racial stereotypes is a Chinese Foreign Exchange Student (who is followed by wince-inducing Chinese music for the first half of the film). Rounding out our cast is the Love Interest, a forgettable pre-90210 hunk who’s not content with his current girlfriend.

Seeing this for the first time after having seen the other Hughes ’80s classics, I was let down. On one hand, the trademark Hughes killer soundtrack is present, as are all of the memorable teens and witty conversations. But on the other hand, the attempt at drama fell short, the comedy was surprisingly sparse, and Samantha’s puppy-love crush just didn’t rock my world.

In the end, Sixteen Candles shows promise for later ’80s teen comedies, like The Breakfast Club, Better Off Dead, and the rest. Most of these actors have gone on to star in much greater roles, such as John and Joan Cusack (who are both given bit parts). Rough around the edges, this film nevertheless held a place in the hearts of the overlooked MTV generation.

Andie’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 cheesy ’80s flicks

Andie’s review: Sixteen Candles is a fairly decent movie. I can totally identify with Samantha (Molly Ringwald) especially in her quest for Jake. We’ve all been there, right ladies? Practicing how you’re going to say hi to him, then when you’re actually faced with it, you can’t say anything and you slink away mortified. I feel her pain in that scene.

I also think this movie is hysterical. Anthony Michael Hall as the Geek is fantastic. Really, he doesn’t get any better than this. He’s just so cool in his geekiness and he’s so adorable, I would’ve totally gotten on him. He really is endearing in this movie and I’m glad he got to end up with Carolyn.

The reason I’m not giving this movie a higher rating, however, is because some of it is really just stupid. Like the whole thing with Long Duk Dong and his woman? That is just retarded. It’s gratuitous and stupid and not very funny. Also, Joan Cusack is a wonderful actress, what the hell was she doing in this movie? John Hughes made some awesome movies in the ’80s, but I don’t think this one lives up to the standards of his others.

It’s still funny, though, and has some really touching moments, like when Samantha gets to talk to her dad. I really like that scene. And when Jake and Sam finally get together in the end, I just can’t help but sigh, cause it’s so darn cute. So, have an ’80s night and include this one, but don’t expect as much from it as, say, The Breakfast Club.

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