John Hughes is arguably one of the greatest movie-makers of the 1980's, directing several cult classics like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club" and producing notables like the
It was a token movie during my own high school years, so I made it a point to watch "Sixteen Candles" on, you guessed it, my sixteenth birthday. Between the magical ending and the memorable quotes, a younger me found it relatable. Oddly enough, I haven't watched it since.
So, with no more ado, here are my thoughts and feelings on "Sixteen Candles," five years and five candles later:
1. Parents yelling at kids, kids dragging out of bed. I'm getting flashbacks to my house when I was in high school.
2. There's not a ton of difference between the bodies of 15- and 16-year-olds, Sam. Did you think you were going to wake up reborn?
3. Oh, you didn't. . . Well, believe me, you only get older in age and younger in maturity from here, dude. I'm 21 age-wise and 12 maturity-wise.
4. I think the way these couples are walking is completely impractical. Hands in back pockets, hooking pinkies (which isn't too bad but must hurt after a while), and arms around shoulders? I don't recall anyone ever walking like this in my high school days. Then again, I wasn't the most observant little squirt, so what do I know?
5. Well, isn't that the birthday party of everyone's dreams? "Do it on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes."
6. To be fair, though, I remember wanting basically the same thing when I was a wee thing. I ended up getting the car, sans guy, and cloud sex. Seems pretty standard for most 16-year-olds, though.
7. Ah, high school. Where the words 'penis' and 'sex' were replaced by 'it.' Waves of nostalgia rushing over me.
8. The old 'glance over the shoulder and pretend to scratch it when caught.' I've done this same move many a time. It really is very unsubtle.
9. Dude, if my 16-year-old self would have filled out that test, I would have done it secretly and made 100% sure that it went to my friend. Like, I would have handed it directly to her and gave her a look like, 'Dude, this is confidential, hush hush stuff. Handle with care.'
10. Jake Ryan is very visually appealing, though. Get it, Sam.
11. Buses were never that lit when I was in school. They have a happenin' kazoo band and everything.
12. AHHHHHHH, FARMER TED!!!! YOU'RE THE BEST!!!!
13. I should take some flirting advice from Farmer Ted. Two casual sniffs, no concept of personal boundaries or social cues, and super awkward questions. Love it.
14. The wall of nerds seems like the kind of place I would be at any school function, then and now.
15. I'm pretty sure I've done this same dance at least once in the past 12 hours.
16. This reminds me how vividly I felt things in high school. I look at Sam now, and I'm like "Why you crying?" but I know that if the guy I liked sorta blew me off and a super weird guy I didn't like whatsoever danced like a spaz in front of me when I was in high school, I would have run out crying too. In fact, I probably wouldn't have even stayed at the school, I would've gone home, so Sam is much more ballsy than I was.
17. I wonder if freshman boys are actually like this is the real world. Calling each other 'butt lick' and betting technology.
18. I actually think Farmer Ted is my spirit animal.
19. I love how Sam and Farmer Ted are now immediately friends due to a mixture of honesty and awkward sexual tension. I feel like that's how most stereotypical boy-girl friendships are formed in contemporary literature and media, except John Hughes, managed to concisely show it in about three to five minutes.
20. LOL, when floppy disks were expensive. Also, the level of trust that the two of them have built up in the last three to five minutes is astounding. Sam is the real MVP for loaning her underwear.
21. Sam, don't worry about awkwardly not smiling and running away when you make friendly eye contact with your crush. I've done it many a time. Still, do.
22. Like, for serious, are boys that fascinated by lady underthings? Boys elude me, then and now.
23. Bryce and Cliff are me in any type of social situation ever. "Think we're going to die?" "Definitely."
24. I didn't frequent parties when I was in high school, so I don't know if they're actually like this and contain this much destruction. It's interesting to note that Jake is super removed from it all. Like he walks in and doesn't try to make anyone leave, he just shuts himself in his room and obsessively stalks Sam for the entire night until everyone else leaves. Interesting characteristic.
25. True story, Papa Baker. "That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they would call them something different."
26. Farmer Ted is a bartender, dating expert, humorist, pimp. Is there anything this man can't do?
27. Ted is living his dream right now: Rolls Royce, hot senior girl, a case of beer, the trust of one of the most popular dudes in school, and he's absolutely terrified. Legit same though.
28. I've never really figured out if Farmer Ted actually doesn't know what happened between Caroline and him or if he's lying and pretending to be ignorant. Like, he seems genuinely confused, but what could he have done between then and now that made him forget everything?
29. I think the whole wedding scene is interesting because you get to see a whole different side of Jenny that you've never seen before, and, more important to the general plot (in my opinion), you get to see Rudy get completely upstaged. He can no longer push Jenny around because of how hopped up she is, and that is a major turning point for both their characters, I think.
30. One of the best ending scenes I've seen. Such a good song choice, includes cake, finishes with a freeze on the quintessential kiss."
So...what have I learned?
Every John Hughes movie has some type of overall point, usually relating to the struggles of growing up and the lessons learned during that time. I remember watching this as a smaller Marisa and not entirely getting this point. I realize now that "Sixteen Candles" is looking at what defines "living" and what defines "happiness," especially as we grow older.
Take Sam, for instance. She wants Jake in the beginning, but realizes that she actually just wants to be noticed and mean something to someone. Her family forgetting her birthday is the icing on the wedding cake. They forget it because her family is so wrapped up in this wedding nonsense that they don't realize what Sam has already observed: Jenny and Rudy have a pretty dysfunctional romantic relationship. Sam doesn't want the kind of love that Jenny and Rudy have, which she comes to realize is pretty fake.
Then we have Farmer Ted. He has this reputation for being a ladies' man, but once he actually gets everything he's been saying he's had, he realizes it's not all it's cracked up to be. Cars are expensive, Caroline is actually super disrespectful (in the beginning), and there are consequences of real-life actions. Reality still exists. He doesn't end up telling his friends about the night with Caroline because the reality is both much better and not as good as the stories he's been telling for many years.
Thank you for putting up with my English major-esque analysis of "Sixteen Candles." Hopefully, it makes you see the world a little bit differently. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to that rockin' soundtrack.