Actually, the true purpose of this blogpost is to review a movie that I am rather fond of: John Hughes's Sixteen Candles. As you mayn't know, John Hughes has created some of my favorite movies...and I love them... Yeah...
|Anthony Michael Hall through the years...|
Anyways, Sixteen Candles stars the talent of Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. Once again, Ringwald fulfills the role of the pretty, misunderstood, strong female protagonist, while Anthony Michael Hall is once again an ever-lovable nerd. You'd suspect that Hall would suffer from severe type casting as his career progressed, but fortunately his new figure has allowed him to fulfill other roles, including the news anchor of GCN in The Dark Knight. Despite the fact that we've seen Ringwald and Hall in these roles before, their performance never goes stale, as their particular character quirks allow them to remain interesting throughout the course of the motion picture. There's no doubt that each actor successfully fulfills his or her role.
That's not to say that some of the casting/characters are strange. Seeing John Kapelos cast as Rudy Ryszczyk, the fiance of Ringwald's sister, was altogether strange. Kapelos's performance in the Breakfast Club as the janitor was too memorable to allow me to see him in this new role.
Hughes's played with another type of humor as well, introducing the character Long Duk Dong, expertly portrayed by Gedde Watanabe. Long Duk Dong is quite a stereotypical representation of an FOB dork who really doesn't know better. He's quite a sad character, who, in a way, serves to contrast Ringwald's character, Samantha Baker. Dong is shown to be easily fascinated with American culture and life. His confusion, which stems from being in a strange environment, leads him to become an open slate of sort. Meanwhile, Baker's strong will allows her confusion to strengthen her resolve in following her own heart. The only thing in her way is her own personal inhibitions, while Dong does not have such inhibitions and allows himself to let loose. While Hughes's choice to make Long Duk Dong a stereotypical Asian is questionable, it is rather justified by its significance in contrasting Ringwald's character. Dong is generally accepted by the viewing audience, despite his potential...badness, due to how well he rounds off the cast of the movie. His character is not essential to the development of the story, and yet it adds so much richness to the cast.
The story itself shows Hughes's mastery of the common 'personal development' story. What differentiates his work from those of Disney or Dreamworks is the relate-able nature of his characters. While it may be hard to relate to princesses flying on magic carpets (not dissing 'A Whole New World'...great song), it is simple to relate to a common teenager facing common teenager problems. Only, Hughes's is able to portray his commonplace characters as princesses by the end of the movie, while still allowing his characters to portray the average middle-class urban teenager.
Hughes's takes the teenage fear of being lost in a crowd to the extreme, having Samantha's parents forget her birthday. The common fear of not being noticed is pushed to its limits, as Samantha's birthday is overshadowed by the wedding of her sister and the formerly mentioned Rudy Ryszczyk. Already facing personal troubles at school, being forgotten is the last thing Samantha wants. Despite this, just as the average teenager would be, Samantha is left in disbelief, and does not mention it to her parents. She waits for her own parents to figure out their shortcoming as any contemptuous teenager would. In the end, this dispute is solved, as Samantha's dad shows himself to be an excellent father, comforting his daughter, and reassuring her that she is not one to fade into crowd.
The last spectacular aspect of the movie is its soundtrack. The featuring song, Spandau Ballet's 'True' exemplifies the quintessential 80's romance song... Give it a listen...