In John Hughes directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, he became the voice of a generation and built a reputation for writing the voice of youth that would continue in movies like The Break Fast Club and Pretty in Pink.
The movie follows the plight of Samantha (Molly Ringwald) on her 16th birthday – a birthday her parents forgot. Will she end up with Jake? Will the Geek her her underpants? These are the questions haunting the viewer as we’re driven inside the depths of the American high school.
What Hughes was always able to do with his writing was create a world that was both outrageous, yet believable with characters that jumped off the screen in both their eccentricity and sincerity. You laugh with them, feel for them and at time, cringe by their awkwardness. Being a guy, I remember being a freshman obsessed with sex, almost so my friends would think I was cool more so than the actual act itself.
The cast is excellent, led by Ringwald who would become the face of a generation and a Hughes staple. Anthony Michael Hall is epic as the kid everyone feels like they were most like in school. (at least I did) And it’s fun to pick out Joan and John Cusak, soon to be stars in their own right doing some great character work.
What separates John Hughes films from his many copy cats is simple. Heart. For all the wacky situations and crazy characters (Long Duck Dong) it’s still about an emotional journey and that never leaves the movie. So there isn’t a moment where the film feels tonally off. And it’s the reason why the film never feels dated.