If you don’t know who John Hughes is then I’ll give you my three words to describe him: MY 80s HERO. John Hughes was a magical movie maker. He created tons of movies and helped launch many actor’s careers. Including Molly Ringwald, who was also a member of The Brat Pack.
The Molly Ringwald movies – the John Hughes ones were some of my favourites because I thought she was super cool and I was a not so super cool teen back then. John Hughes was a master of the coming of age teen movie. The movies spoke to me. So, let me speak to you now about Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1984) and Pretty In Pink (1986). I’ll give you an overview of each and compare them at the end. And trust me, if these are movies you missed you’ll be glad you found this post.
“Look She’s Finally Got Her Boobies”
Sixteen Candles is a delightful and funny movie about Samantha “Sam” Baker (Molly Ringwald) who feels either ignored, embarrassed or both on her very special day. It’s her 16th birthday and everyone in her whole family have completely forgotten. Her day goes from bad to worse from there.
She’s got her sister’s wedding, the guy (Michael Schoeffling) she loves, the geek (Anthony Michael Hall) that loves her, and the arrival of her grandparents to contend with. One set of grandparents accost her on the stairs of the family home and are happy to see her. So much so that her grandmother exclaims “Look she’s finally got boobies.” And she has a quick grope. Sam pouts through all these experiences very seriously, like you do when you’re a teenager.
“We Were All Brainwashed”
The moment you hear the drums kick in from the awesome Simple Minds track “Don’t You Forget About Me” you know you are in for a treat.
Over the music Brian is reading a letter to his teacher Mr Vernon (Paul Gleason) stating that he understands why they all had to do detention but not why they had to write an essay on “who they think they are”. He says, “...what do you care? You see us how you want to see us. In the simplest of terms and most convenient definitions.” “You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.” “That’s the way we saw each other at 7 o’clock this morning. We were all brainwashed.”
The Breakfast Club is about a group of five seemingly very different teenagers that have detention together one Saturday. The athlete, Andrew Clark (Emillio Estevez). The princess, Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald). The basket case, Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy). The brain, Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall). The criminal, John Bender (Judd Nelson).
Hughes depicts the pressure that teenagers feel from parents and peers. And it is this very issue that they share that closes the gap on their apparent differences. And ultimately creates a bond between them during their marathon detention.
There are some really funny lines, as in all Hughes’ comedies. But one of my favourites at the beginning of the movie is when Bender comments to Mr Vernon “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”
Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is getting dressed as Pretty In Pink plays by the Psychedelic Furs. She hands a cup of coffee to her dad (Harry Dean Stanton) and makes him promise her that he’ll sort out the job offer today. He tells her how pretty she is and that he’s impressed with her outfit that she has made herself.
Arriving at school she meets up with her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) and unbeknownst to her Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy) has been watching her from a short distance. Duckie greets her with, “This is a volcanic ensemble you’re wearing.” “Volcanic?” she questions. “You know, hot, dangerous.” She changes the subject and asks about class. Getting in her car Steff McKee (James Spader) comes over and starts chatting her up. Its obvious it is not the first time and she shows no interest. Three guys, there’s definitely something about Andie.
Along with Duckie she is bullied at school for making her own clothes and coming from a poor family. But ultimately the plot is the age-old story of boy meets girl. Or more specifically rich boy meets poor girl.
The Breakfast Club
All three Molly Ringwald movies have great music with sweet and funny stories. Emotive, real and playful describes the way the actors portray their characters. They are all deserving of a watch but it is The Breakfast Club that comes out on top, followed by 16 Candles and then Pretty In Pink. I chose that order more so for the story line than anything else.
Just Be Yourself
John Hughes had a knack for showing us the teenage angst. The not fitting in and self-worth issues. And he did it in a human and funny way. But more importantly he showed us that we are not alone and that others may feel the same way.
If you’re a teenager dealing with snobbery or bullies at school or you feel like you don’t fit in then check out these movies. They’ll help you realise it’s not just you and hopefully make you laugh at the same time.
And if you’re not a teenager and you feel like you don’t fit it, you too will find these feel good movies up-lifting.
And remember, “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” Quote from Andrew in The Breakfast Club.
No need to write an essay on who you are, but do put a comment down below on any or all of the Molly Ringwald movies.
And if you haven’t seen any of them, just bookmark this page to remind you for another day.
Respect to the Image Makers!