Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen Candles
Director: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, John Cusack
Released: May 4, 1984

I mentioned in my review of Not Another Teen Movie that I really haven't seen many teen '80s movies, so when I saw this was available on Netflix, I decided to check it out. Let's just say I was cringing the entire time. This movie did not age well at all. It is homophobic, it is racist, it is misogynistic, it is just all around pretty terrible. Maybe you had to be a teen in the '80s to "get it". This was John Hughes first movie that he wrote and directed and I believe it was Molly Ringwald's first major movie. She and Anthony Michael Hall are probably only a handful of students at their high school who are actually teenagers and not, like in their twenties or thirties. There are students at that school who were played by people who were easily almost a decade older than those two who were both fifteen when they filmed this. That is a huge difference, especially at that age!

The movie starts off with Samantha (or, Sam, as her friends call her) Baker (played by Ringwald) standing in front of her mirror, saying, "Chronologically, you're sixteen today, but physically, your'e still fifteen." Oh my God. We're not even two minutes into the movie yet and already my eyes have rolled way back into my head. Did she think she would wake up that morning and be physically transformed? Doesn't she know there is absolutely no difference between a fifteen or a sixteen-year-old? I mean, I can't tell them apart, can you? There will be lots of these moments in the movie where Sam (or another character) is speaking aloud with nobody around. This is really the only scene where it works because she's speaking to herself in front of the mirror. Every other scene that has her speaking aloud without anyone around, she's doing it for the benefit of the audience, but she's not breaking the fourth wall. However, in a scene much later on in the movie, Anthony Michael Hall will speak directly to the audience. If they're going to break the fourth wall with his character, why not just do it with Sam? It's like this was before they realized that voiceover was a device they could use.

Right after she talks to her reflection in the mirror, she picks up the phone WHICH HASN'T EVEN RUNG and starts talking to someone, but who is she talking to? We don't even see or hear the other side of the conversation. Obviously, it's a friend, but it's just very odd how it was shot.

It's Sam's birthday, but it's also the day before her older sister's (who I'm pretty sure was played by a 30 year old) wedding and there's lots of commotion in the house over that as they're expecting both sets of grandparents to show up and her entire family forgets about her birthday. ("I can't believe this. They f***ing forget my birthday.") Oh, and I love how this movie is rated PG but they say the F word AND show a naked girl in a shower within the first ten minutes of the movie. I guess the '80s truly were a different time!

Sam tells her friend (the one she apparently was talking to on the phone) her family forgot her birthday and her friend (who has a terrible '80s mullet thing going on) tells her, "What did you expect? A big birthday breakfast?" Bitch, please! Sam indignantly replies that they could have at least wished her a Happy Birthday and she's absoluetly correct. They just plain forget her birthday which makes her family pretty awful. I mean, who forgets their own child's birthday? I know her parents have three other kids, but that's still no excuse! Her younger brother is played by Justin Henry and when I saw his name in the credits I was thinking, I didn't know the kid from E.T. was in this. Obviously I had him mixed up with Henry Thomas. This is the kid who was in Kramer vs. Kramer. Oh my God, he is the most f**king annoying kid and he is terrible to all his sisters and if I were Sam, I would have smacked the ever-living sh*t out of him. Funnily enough, the youngest sister (who's barely in this) is the one who calls him on his crap.

While in study hall, Sam is filling out a sex survey that is labeled "Confidential" and asks questions such as "Have you ever touched it?" and "Have you ever done it?" Now, these should be yes or no questions, right? Do you know what she writes for an answer for the latter question? "I don't think so." Huh?? How do you not know? That's a little concerning! Has she been to a lot of parties where she ends up passing out and has no idea what happened the next day? The next question is even more concerning because it asks, "If you answered "I don't think so", would you do it if you could?" Uh.....what the f**k? How many girls did the author of this confidential survey think would answer "I don't think so" to if they've ever had sex or not? How many girls at this school have no idea if they've ever had sex or not? Yikes. But...as we'll later learn on, this movie turns very date rapey, so it's not entirely impossible that a lot of girls at this school truly have no idea if they've had sex or not. In fact, we'll meet a character later on who has no idea if she had sex with this guy or not...how charming. The survey asks her to name who she would like to do it with and she picks attractive senior (senior in college, more likely!) Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) who also happens to be sitting behind her in that very class. She folds up the note and nonchalantly drops it behind her for her friend to read or fill out (I don't know exactly how it worked), but she is asleep and Jake ends up reaching for the note and now knows that she wants to boink him.

We see a shot of the teacher sitting at his desk, keeping an eye on the kids and behind him on the chalkboard, somebody had written "Total Idiot" with an arrow pointing towards him. Did he not even notice that he came into class? I doubt somebody wrote that DURING class because then he would have noticed. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be a joke, but it doesn't make any sense in the context of the scene..unless this teacher truly is a total idiot.

Jake asks his meathead friend (who looks like he graduated high school about thirty years ago) what he thinks of Samantha Baker and his friend goes, "She's too young to party serious." What does that even mean? And, ewww. Jake informs him that she's "not ugly", which is high praise any girl would want to hear. :::rolls eyes:::: We also learn that Jake has a girlfriend, Caroline, who, as his meathead friend points out, is "a WO-MAN." Which, technically, is true being that she IS at least twenty-five!

Okay, so let me get this straight...Jake already has a girlfriend, who as we will later find out, is one of the most popular and beautiful girls at the school and is Prom Queen and she will put out for him, but he wants to ditch her for a sophomore who isn't ugly because she wrote that she wanted to have sex with him. I don't care how good-looking this guy is; he's a total loser.

Meanwhile, we have both sets of grandparents visiting and one of them, for some reason, brings a foreign exchange student from China named Long Duk Dong. So I was aware there was a Chinese character that had a name that was just a stupid penis joke, but I had NO idea that there would be a gong sound every time he's in a scene. The first time I heard it, I was like, Oof, that's not good. But I thought maybe that would be the only time it happened...nope. We hear this sound effect every time the character shows up in a scene. Yikes. It's really bad and cringe-y. We also get a lot of stupid jokes about this Chinese character being in America, stuff like how he doesn't know how to eat American food and he is so much shorter than this girl (also pushing thirty like the other students at this rape-positive school) he meets at a dance. You could take out this character and not lose anything about the movie. Of course, you could also erase this movie from the universe's existence and nobody would even care.

And then you have Anthony Michael Hall who, as Ted, is credited as "the Geek". But he's more of a creeper than a geek. He hangs out with his two friends, one of who includes a young John Cusack. He does not know the meaning of personal space as he sits very close to Sam (and SNIFFS her...ewwww!) on the bus when they (and a young Joan Cusack) are the only ones left and is asking her if he wants to go out with him and keeps pestering her when it's pretty obvious she doesn't want anything to do with him.

At the dance, Ted tells his two friends that he and Sam are pretty much in a relationship and he plans to have sex with her and they want him to prove it by showing them her underwear. In yet another scene, we have him trying to move in on Sam and she has to scream at him to stop. Does this kid not know when a girl isn't interested in him? Do we need to get him a copy of She's Just Not That Into You? (If it existed!) But once Sam admits to him that she likes Jake Ryan, he seems way too happy to put in a good word for her since he knows Jake (since they had one interaction prior to this scene). He tells her that Jake had asked about her (since Jake saw Ted interacting with her). You think this would be a huge clue to Sam that Jake saw the note in study hall. ESPECIALLY SINCE HE SITS BEHIND AND PROBABLY SAW HER TOSS THE NOTE BEHIND HER!

Sam is inspired by this news and decides she's going to go up to Jake and talk to him. She sees him in the coat check room and he smiles at her and says hi, and she just runs off like a doofus. Awkward!

Jake, who is super rich, has a party at his house because his parents are out of town and his house gets trashed. A bar bell crashes through the floor to the basement and knocks over a couple of shelves holding bottles of wine and champagne, a pizza has landed on the record player, a cassette has all of its tape pulled out (how very '80s....cassettes were the WORST!!!), there are bubbles coming out of a vent (??),  and there's just so much crap everywhere. He doesn't even seem to be that concerned about it. Pretty much everybody from school except Sam is at the party and he calls her own private phone line, but keeps getting her grandparents because they're sleeping in her room. I must have missed how he got her phone number. The grandparents tell him to stop calling and to leave Sam alone. Pretty much what any teen girl wants their grandparents to tell the boy they're crushing on. Okay, if I were a teen girl in the '80s and I had my own private phone line and my grandparents were staying in my room, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be unplugging that thing! I don't want my grandparents answering my phone! Hells no! Not a smart move, Sam.

After everyone has left the party, Ted and Caroline are the only ones left. Caroline is sleeping off her hangover (she gets drunk an awful lot in this movie) while Jake and Ted are having a conversation in the kitchen about Sam. Jake thinks Ted is lying to him about Sam liking him. Um, hello! Did you not see the note where she wrote your name that she wanted to have sex with you? The proof is right there. This guy is in idiot...no wonder he had to repeat the 12th grade at least seven times. If only Sam could have been in the room to hear this conversation because then she could have seen what a charming prince her crush is. (Yes, that was major sarcasm.) He tells Ted, "I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. I got Caroline in the bedroom passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to." Yeah, a real great guy you like there, Sam. What a f**king jerk!  I guess this is to tell us that he wants more of a "real" relationship with Sam and wants a "serious girlfriend". Gimme me a break! He only wants to have sex with her because he knows she wants to too. Oh, yeah, and while they're having this conversation, in the background you can hear Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York", you know, because every teen from the '80s just loves the Sinatra.

Since Jake isn't "interested" in Caroline anymore, he lends Ted (who doesn't have a license, mind you) his father's Rolls Royce (don't these damn rich people have a practical car?) to drive Caroline home. What kind of a f**king moron is he? Why would you let some 15-year-old kid with no license drive one of the world's most expensive cars that belong to your father? I really hope his dad beat some sense into him when he got back from his business trip or wherever he is during all of this. He even tells Ted to "have fun". Great guy, this Jake Ryan. (Once again, that was sarcasm). Ted drives himself and a drunk Caroline to one of his friend's house so they can take a photo of him sitting with Caroline in the back seat of the car so he has proof that he was with a hot girl. Even though it's really gross that he did that, I did laugh that they show the photo and it's only the upper part of his face that his friend got. Haha, serves that little creeper right.

The next morning Ted and Caroline wake up in the car in some parking lot. I didn't think Ted had been drinking, but apparently he had because he asks her "What happened?" and she replies, "I don't know." He asks if they did it and she replies, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure." I rolled my eyes so hard when he asked her if she "enjoyed it", and she replies, "You know, I have this weird feeling I did." Ugh. I'm so glad you enjoyed having non-consensual sex while you were drunk with some guy you just met that your boyfriend pretty much gave permission to rape you. F**k this movie. Also, on a shallow side note, why do they dress this twenty-five year old woman who they're trying to pass as a senior in high school in the most maternal and blah dress ever? She looks like she's about to attend church or something. And her hair style makes her look much older than she's supposed to be.

So let's get back to our main character, Sam. Like I said, she didn't attend Jake's party and went home where she has this weird conversation with her dad. It does start off nice with him apologizing for forgetting her birthday, but then he can tell that something's bothering her and when he asks if it's about a "certain guy", he thinks she's upset that her sister is marrying a jerk, but then she gets upset because she's really upset about Jake. Let me clarify that she's upset because she doesn't think she'll ever be with him, not because he's a terrible person and a potential rapist.

The movie ends with the sister's wedding (which has its own stupid hi-jinxes) and Sam sees Jake waiting for her by his car after the ceremony. She blows off the reception to go with him and her dad sees this and is smiling, all like, "That's my girl!" He even gives her the thumbs-up sign! Uh, I do not think he would be doing that if he knew the REAL Jake Ryan! The last scene is both of them sitting on a glass table in his house with a cake between them and he tells her to make a wish and she replies, "It already came true." BARF. Let me tell you: I give them one week, two tops. Once they have sex (consensual, if she's lucky), he's going to dump her ass. You know it's true. This movie is just terrible. 

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