Sixteen Candles (1984) [review]

As many have said before, John Hughes certainly knew how to make teen films back in the 1980s and he knew teens are smarter and more capable than anybody over the age of twenty one would like to give them credit for. Which I feel many filmmakers have neglected to do when it comes to making films which the main characters are in their teens.

This films puts Samantha (Molly Ringwald) in the centre of the story of turning sixteen and finding herself surrounded not only by her family who are more bothered by her older sister’s wedding than caring about or remembering Samantha’s birthday. We are also treated to her fellow schoolmates who either want to try and prove themselves when it comes to sex or who is the coolest person, along with a cultural difference when it comes to the none American character.

This is a great look at nerds, the cool, the rich and the outsiders… all of whom are stuck together purely because they all go to the same school, whether they like it or not. We identify with at least one of the characters in the film, if it be Samantha, The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) or Jake (Michael Schowffing) or one of the many other characters along the way. We’ve all found ourselves being one of these people, even if they are exaggerations. Even if this is a 1980s movie, it still stands the test of time, the fashion may have changed over the years, but much of what happens here in this film happens today.

The soundtrack is another fantastic element to the film. John Hughes films seemed to pull a load of excellent tunes together and places them perfectly into the scenes. There are many brilliant scenes and moments in this films which will make you laugh and relate in some way.  I am one of many people who enjoyed this film back in the day and still watch now with a fondness for knowing that there are films and characters such as these.

John Hughes took the everyday situations and made them worth our time watching. So, if you get the chance to watch this, take it as this has something for everybody. Even if you wish to forget your teen years, there is something here which will remind you that there was some good in your teens, something you may even miss.

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The Breakfast Club (1985) [review]

This is a little hard to explain, in that what we have here feels to be a film which very little takes place, while so much happens. This is a great look at how we find five teenagers stuck in each other company while in detention on a Saturday. Although the cliques of the five may be obvious, they are done in such a way, that we can’t help but get involved in their lives, feel for them and the baggage they bring.

The five being the smart guy, the athlete, the princess, the outsider & the criminal, who all over the course of the film, we see the five trying to figure each other out, what makes each other tick, while also finding what it is to be themselves, who they really are and discovering more than they ever realised previous to meeting the others.

Which may seem a little over thinking it, but then we can see ourselves in the characters, if you are watching it as a teen, you may find somebody you recognise, if you have grown up with the film, you may remember what it was like to be the age of these characters and how we’ve changed over time. Maybe that we are not just one of these characters, but we have a little bit of a mixture of some or all of what we have here, the realisation that nothing is as simple as it may seem and we’re not all that we’re cracked up to be.

The two members of staff are also worthy of our time, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason) has let the world grind him down to the point where he finds himself at odd with the students, disillusioned with what he sees in the younger generation. While Carl (John Kapelos) still has an upbeat look on life as he goes about his day job. We find there is more to what we assume his job has to offer. A man who has more substance than some would like to acknowledge.

John Hughes created a film which left us thinking that teens have more to offer than those over twenty one may consider, that we may forget what it was to be, before we lost something of ourselves to the world as we grew older.

This also has a great 1980s soundtrack which features one of the greatest tunes to come out of that decade.

Betsy’s Wedding (1990) [review]

Alan Alda made a great comedy here, in which he created characters in a situation that so many of us have been involved. This does not necessarily have that much to do with the wedding itself, but the build up and the two families involved.

From Betsy’s (Molly Ringwald) and Jake Lovell (Dylan Walsh) who are to be married, we see them completely in love, to considering if they are doing the right thing, to trying to please all the members of their families. Then there are the family members who are more than willing to get themselves involved in the arrangements, without any consideration for what the couple really want for their wedding day.

This nicely shows the differences between the two families, their views on each other and individual ideals for not only the wedding, but the world in general. Betsy’s family being a more down to earth, hard working family compared to Jake’s who are more conservative and wealthier. To the point where they seem a little less involved in what is going on in the world… Almost as if the world is there for their entertainment.

Eddie Hopper’s (Alan Alda) has become a little ambitious in his work and has bitten of more than he can chew, involving himself with his brother in law Oscar Henner (Joe Pesci), who is in business with Georgie (Burt Young)… who Eddie and Oscar cannot say no to. This leads to Connie Hopper (Ally Sheedy) finding herself  getting to know Stevie Dee (Anthony Lapaglia) which due to their jobs is a joy to watch as the two go back and forth.

The relationship between Gloria Henner and Oscar is entertaining to watch as neither is truly happy with their marriage and therefore more is going on than either would like to admit… at least to each other.

All of this is done nicely, watching the relationships become entangled as tensions build as moments become more and more difficult. But, the film does it with such humour.  We see the characters react and endure, showing that life has to be worked at, and we don’t always have the perfect moments which look so effortless from the outside.

We enjoy the moments we find ourselves with these characters which is a great way to spend an hour and a half. So, if you get the chance, check this out and enjoy what is on offer.