Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday Film-Night - Sixteen Candles

This week we go back... Waaaay back. To a different time. A different place. Yet one that feels so familiar the moment the opening credits roll you feel like you‘ve been there before. It’s the eighties. And we are in the godlike hands of John Hughes for…


John Hughes. Those two words bring forth images of Chicago suburbs, Molly Ringwald, teenage angst, the best of high school romance of the 80s, and pre-brat pack comedy brilliance.

Compared with the likes of The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Weird Science, Sixteen Candles is one of his sweeter films.

It’s Samantha Baker’s sixteenth birthday. It’s also the day before her older sister’s wedding, and in the rush and excitement and fights over use of the family bathroom, her big day is forgotten. By her parents. Her brother and sister. Even hyer grandparents who are meant to “live for this stuff!”

Her sixteenth. Seriously. Can you imagine? At that age every little thing is of the utmost importance. Bad day begins.

She is a regular girl at school. Not a geek and not in the popular group. But she has a huge thing for Jake Ryan (is there a better name for a romance hero??). As she tells her best friend in a note passed during home room. A note than Jake himself finds. Oh God! Can you imagine the shame!!! I’m having grade eleven flashbacks so bad my neck is coming out in a rash.

But rather than ensuing shame, there begins our romance. Hot jock knows that sweet girl likes him. He likes the fact. Sweet girl never finds out he has the note, but as she gazes fondly in his direction he begins gazing back.

Michael Schoeffling plays our hero. He hasn’t done all that much else which is surprising. He’s tall dark and handsome. He has a gorgeous deep husky voice.

And as you’ll often find in a John Hughes classic, our heroine has her very own geek who loves her too. This geek is the geek to end all geeks. In fact he’s billed as just that – The Geek. and he even has a spot on the poster. He’s funny, sweet, setting her a rung closer to Jake by his very geekness and in the end he becomes an enhancer of the romance as he becomes Jake's only link to the girl he wants to know more about.

Added to the mix, our hero Jake has a beautiful girlfriend Carolyn. Built. Gorgeous. Been together forever. And actually pretty nice. A big time party girl but not all that hateable. Not the kind we want to shove aside so our couple can find true love. Mmmm, this is becoming harder and harder to find a happy ending!!!

But the truth is, Jake likes Carolyn. He gets why they should be together. But he has one problem. A big gorgeous lovely, sigh worthy problem.

JAKE: “I want a serious girlfriend. Someone I can love who’ll love me back.”

And who else better than smart, sweet, spirited, generous, Sam to fill that role.

So in the end the Geek gets the babe (waking up in the front seat of Jake’s dad’s Rolls Royce wearing his head gear after a night of passion with the hottest girl in school;)).

And Sam gets Jake. The hot high school guy who dumped his perrfect girlfriend to go out with the goofy unpopular nearly invisible high school sophomore. How could a generation of high school girls not think it the bestest movie ever made?

The beauty of John Hughes films is in his world-building. The honest picture of Chicago suburbia. The caste system prevalent in any high school. The true angst of being a teenager, trying to keep your grades, your friends, your family, and the boy you adore balanced.

The wall flower boys at the school dance who are more interested in their swap cards than the girls. The poor tall girl with the back brace who still somehow is above the geeks in the social hierarchy. The pleasant Chinese exchange student staying with Sam’s grandparents who gets drunk and crashes their car. The light switch that matches the wallpaper. The private phone line in Sam’s bedroom (does that really happen in America? Cause I promise that NEVER happens in Australia!) The dorky little brother who trips up the stairs after pinning her with a great one liner.

And the music. Aaah, the age of soft rock. And times when a redhead with freckles and a regular girl look could be the biggest thing since sliced bread.

Amazingly the first words our couple actually speak to one another are in the final scene. He shows up after her sister’s wedding, in a red Corvette. Takes her home. Lights her birthday Candles and wises her a sweet sixteen.

JAKE: Make a wish.

SAM: It already came true.

And they kiss. Big sighs all around...

Warm and fuzzy rating: 9!

Ally's current release, her first ever Modern Extra, GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS, is out in the UK right now. As we speak. Heck there may not even be that many left on the shelves so you'd better hurry.... ;)

Though you can be one of the first to read about Abbey and Flynn by checking out an except online now!


  1. Just had to comment on my own film review ;). Sigh, sigh, sigh... I'm so glad I have the PHS as an excuse to dust off such old favourites!!!


  2. I love this movie. I watch it whenever it's on TV and second your *sigh*


  3. I was like...13 or so when this came out and wasn't allowed to watch it...but then a few years later my friend got it on BETA and we had a sleepover. We laughed! This is the kind of movie best watched with friends, I think.

    OK. Am I the only one who noticed it is Friday the 13th?

  4. Hey all who love a bargain (Ally, close your eyes)

    Ally's book is the freebie today at eHQ.
    I am all about the free ;)