Monday, June 27, 2022

Sixteen Candles

Movie Name:
Sixteen Candles
Year of Release: 1984
Director: John Hughes
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Justin Henry, Haviland Morris, Gedde Watanabe, Paul Dooley, Carlin Glynn, Blanche Baker, Edward Andrews, Billie Bird, Carole Cook, Max Showalter, Liane Curtis, John Cusack, Joan Cusack
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review
"Sixteen Candles" was John Hughes' feature directorial debut, however by then he had already achieved success in his writing career, since he had already authored Stan Dragoti's "Mr. Mom" and Harold Ramis' "National Lampoon's Vacation". "Sixteen Candles" focuses its narrative on the life of Sam Baker, who is turning 16 and much to her surprise and shock, suddenly realizes her whole family has forgotten about it. Everyone is focused on the impending nuptials of her older sister, and her special day falls to the wayside. However things at school start shaping up for the better, since her object of adoration, Jake, a senior also notices her. While he has a current girlfriend, their relationship is strained due to her constant partying. Sam in the meantime is also fending off the constant hounding of Ted, a freshman. Things come to a halt when school has a dance, that also transfers to Jake's home for a non stop party.
Many of the iconic films of the 80s are undoubtedly associated with John Hughes, including "Pretty in Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club", to name but a few. He attempted and very often succeeded in capturing the lives of teenagers then, giving his stories a mix of nonsense humor, tenderness and an energy that to this day, most films with teenagers have failed to rival. He also had a fantastic good taste in music, which means his films had tremendously engaging scores, that to this day function as a time vault for that particular time period. "Sixteen Candles" which is his feature directorial debut, contains many of his trademark motifs, namely the central hero pining for someone apparently inaccessible, only to realize throughout the film's journey their own sense of self worth, just as the object of their affection also notices the same. And of course, he also populates the stories with an array of supporting characters which add a tremendous amount of color and irreverence to what is taking place on screen. While some of the supporting characters are invariably archetypes, as his films evolved, so did some of these characters arcs, including for instance Harry Dean Stanton's character in "Pretty in Pink" or even James Spader's in that same film (though that film was actually directed by one of his collaborators, Howard Deutch). "Sixteen Candles" is a comedy that aside from some character's troublesome portrayal, has momentum, heart and whimsicality. The cast is uniformly great, with Molly Ringwald successfully leading the whole group. A classic always worth revisiting.