John Hughes, the writer/director of such 1980’s-1990’s classics as: The Breakfast Club, National Lampoon’s Vacation; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Weird Science; Some Kind of Wonderful; Pretty in Pink; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Uncle Buck; Home Alone and Home Alone 2, made his directorial debut with the film sixteen candles. The commercial success of the film clearly paved his way for his subsequent hits listed above. The film has some of the most popular 1980’s feature bands as the Stray Cats, Patti Smith and the Thompson Twins. Whatever your views on the whole coming of age films, Sixteen Candles kicked off the whole genre of films and made the careers Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall.
They forgot her sixteenth birthday because her sister was getting married. That was the situation Molly Ringwald’s character Samantha “Sam” Baker was in. She wakes up on her sixteenth birthday and no one has any clue it’s her birthday. In fact she is scolded by her older sister (who is getting married) about how selfish she and trying to horn in on some of the attention going around.
Meanwhile her whole family converges on her house putting her on the sofa. Unable to withstand her family dinner, she claims there is a dance she is being graded on (for gym) and heads out. At the dance she runs into Anthony Michael Hall playing the proverbial leader of the geeks who has made a bet with his friend (John Cusack who’s sister plays the girl with braces) that he can bag Sam, the proof is in the underpants that he has to get in order to win. Meanwhile Long Duck Dong, and Chinese foreign exchange student, finds a girl at the dance while Sam is crying in the auto-body shop of the school. Hall talks with Sam and confirms that the boy she likes is interested in her. In return she lends Hall her underpants letting him win the bet.
They end up at a wild party where Hall also confirms with Jake (Ringwalds want-to-be boyfriend) that she is interested in her. Well as you probably have guessed after some twists and turns things wind up ok in the end with her sister so high on valium that she collapses when leaving the church.
It was nice stroll down memory lane to see this film again and compare where these teenage stars were and where they are now. I am not a fan of rigidly formulaic films as you well know, but this one was the beginning of the formula in fact innovative for its time. A movie worth watching in certain situations—like when a stepdaughter turns sweet sixteen. Happy birthday E.J.