“This is the single worst day of my entire life.”
A teenager (Molly Ringwald) who is upset that no one in her family remembers her sixteenth birthday lusts after a hunky classmate (Michael Schoeffling), but must deal instead with the attentions of an insistent geek (Anthony Michael Hall).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- High School
Response to Peary’s Review:
In his directorial debut, writer-director John Hughes is, as Peary notes, moderately successful in “making a comedy out of teenage angst, pain, and insensitivity”. Ringwald is “absolutely fantastic [at] presenting a real, special teenager” — and while she’s not always likable (she “can be cruel — as she reveals in her insults toward Hall”), most will be able to relate to at least one of her many pressing adolescent dilemmas.
Equally enjoyable is Anthony Michael Hall as The Geek — a larger-than-life comedic foil who emerges as an empathetic character, and is someone we can’t help liking and rooting for; his interactions with Ringwald are the highlights of the film.
Unfortunately, much of the screenplay is far too sophomoric to appeal to anyone but younger audiences — all scenes featuring Gedde Watanabe’s infamous Asian exchange student, Long Duk Dong, for instance, are particularly cringe-worthy.
However, Sixteen Candles should probably be seen once by all film fanatics simply for its historical relevance as the first of Hughes’ series of groundbreaking teenage films.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Anthony Michael Hall as “The Geek”
- Molly Ringwald as Samantha (Peary nominates her for an Alternate Oscar as Best Actress of the Year)
- Paul Dooley as Samantha’s father
Yes, simply for its historical importance as Hughes’ directorial debut.