• Jeff South

Other Summer Movies of the 80s: Sixteen Candles


Released: May 4th, 1984


Molly Ringwald: Samantha

Anthony Michael Hall: Geek

Justin Henry: Mike Baker

Michael Schoeffler: Jake

Paul Dooley: Jim Baker

Carlin Glynn: Brenda Baker


Written & Directed by John Hughes


Rated PG


The moment Molly Ringwald appears onscreen in Sixteen Candles caused me to swoon. Not openly, of course. A 16-year old dude in 1984 didn't audibly sigh with romantic affection in a crowded movie theater. I'd like to think times have changed.


I was crushing hard, though, and by the time her next film, The Breakfast Club opened in 1985, I was completely captivated. When I saw Pretty in Pink in '86, I realized I was probably the Duckie in a few girls' lives and didn't know what to do with that information. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then watch the movie.


Yeah, I was pretty sweet on Molly RIngwald in the '80s and started with Sixteen Candles. There was a trend in 2000s of teenagers using social media to ask their favorite celebrities to their high school prom. I would've attempted to convince Molly Ringwald to go to my prom, but the likely outcome is she would've gone with one of the preppy guys at my school because I'm a Duckie.


I caught Sixteen Candles again a while back. Some of it doesn't play well today, especially the character of Long Duk Dong. The angst still lands, though, and that horrible isolation we can feel in our teens. No one understands us, especially our own family. Molly Ringwald's charm still holds up, too, and her character's struggles are familiar to us all.


Sixteen Candles also is representative of how important the films of John Hughes were to us 80s kids. In his best teen pictures, he captured what that age is like without pandering and condescension. Sixteen Candles was the first movie I saw about kids my age that, at least at the time, I thought knew what it was talking about.




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