When iconic director John Hughes passed away in 2009, he definitely left behind a legacy of teen cinema that remains influential and groundbreaking to this day. His stories of teenage drama in the midst of sex, drugs, and peer pressure continues to strike a chord with youth, and his 1984 classic debut, Sixteen Candles, did just that. He also brought us the charming actress who would define the '80s and its teen culture, Molly Ringwald.
Ringwald stars as Samantha, an adorable, if not extremely popular teenager reaching her 16th birthday. Adding to her angst is not only her older sister's upcoming wedding that her family is paying more attention to than her 'sweet sixteen', but the fact that she is madly in love with hunky senior Jake (Michael Schoeffling) and fears that her virginity could turn off him. To make matters worse, she is constantly persued or 'stalked' by the only guy in school who likes her, the very nerdy Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). From there, she eventually learns that if you want whatever you want long enough, then sometimes your dreams will come true, especially where she finally gets Jake, and in the classic ending where the two of them are sitting face-to-face with a birthday cake and then kiss.
I know now that the film is very divisive. There are also some unsavory things in it that definitely haven't aged well. Ringwald is surrounded by a few blunt caricatures; there is Gebbe Watanbe's Long Duk Dong, who says things that would probably get you punched in the face. The infamous moment where Ted holds up Sam's underwear to a group of amazed freshmen. I mean, what girl would agree for something like that to happen. Lastly, there is a disturbing sequence of popular girl Caroline (Haviland Morris), Jake's girlfriend, the victim of date-rape by Ted, where he comes up with a plan to bed her, so he can get her underwear. This is horrifying, especially because she is too drunk to notice, and she doesn't give consent. This would never be allowed today, and rightly so, because no one should be date-raped, or put in any harmful situation whatsoever.
Despite a few of those vicious elements, the film does hold up as a classic teen dramedy about the trial and tribulations of a very relatable teenage girl, and the obstacles she goes through to achieve her full true self. And the new Blu-ray edition from the good folks at Arrow definitely understands the film's following, with such content as two versions (theatrical and World Premiere extended cut); new audio interview with casting director Jackie Burch; a new conversation with Watanbe and actress Deborah Pollack; new interviews with character actor John Kapelos, camera operator Gary Kibbe, filmmaker Adam Rifkin, composer Ira Newborn; trailers; TV spots; radio spots; image galleries; and much more. If you're a true Hughesian, or love classic teen cinema, then this release should obviously fill a good spot in your collection.
Destry Rides Again (Criterion): Film legends James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich star in this comedic western spoof as a deputy sheriff and a saloon singer in a choatic frontier town that definitely needs new management.
Just Mercy: Based on a true story about famous civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) as he remembers details about the case of a wrongly condemned death row prisoner (Jamie Foxx) whom he fought to free.
Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter: A master swordsman and his faithful hunchbacked assistant hunt vampires in a small English countryside.
The Golem: In this classic silent horror film, a Jewish rabbi creates a giant creature made from clay, The Golem, and using witchcraft, brings him to life in an attempt to protect all Jews from persection and imminent death.