Matt Hackmann

Movie Review - Sixteen Candles

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Sixteen Candles

I think John Hughes films may have been the conversation that sparked my movie watch list, so it's only fitting that I start at the beginning. That and the library just happened to have it on the particular day I strolled in. On blu-ray, even.

For those who may have been like me and have no clue what this movie is about, it's about a certain Samantha Baker and her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, how everybody forgets it's her sixteenth birthday, primarily because it also happens to be the eve of her air-headed sister's birthday. The first act of the movie is essentially a slice-of-life type bit about Sam as she mopes about in adolescence. She's not popular in school, is overly conscious of her "under development", and crushes on a guy that doesn't even know she exists, a certain Jake Ryan. Thanks to her interactions with the male protagonist - credited as "The Geek" but also referred to as "Farmer Ted" - she eventually makes it into the heart of Jake while "Ted" gets Jake's previous girlfriend. Also, Kuni shows up and is generally awesome.

Now, I'm going to rant about a few things, but I want to make it clear that Sixteen Candles is a good movie and one that I definitely enjoyed. It's a heart-warming little flick with good characters, good humor, and a bit of drama. All the actors convey believable performances and, despite it obviously being set in the 80s, the movie carries an almost timeless feel to it. The themes here are universal even if the outcome is not.

Now to some musing. Thar be spoilers ahead.

Hooking Up

First up is the pairings that we're left with at the end of the movie. That Sam and Jake couple up at all isn't entirely believable, mostly from Jake's side. Yes, we're shown that he wanted more relationship than his party hard girlfriend could provide, but the "glance across the room and see Ms. Perfect" is such a tired cliche. This one glance and is enough for him stalk her out in a yearbook, cold call her house (multiple times), and loan out his girlfriend and his dad's Roll Royce to an underage and unlicensed stranger (Farmer Ted) all for a shot at Sam is too much. Stemming from that, his girlfriend is all okay with this and even falls for our cultivator of cabbages after a night of drunken sex in the back of the car. Yes, it's a movie, but certainly they could have arrived at this outcome in a less contrived manner.

Team Edward

Seriously. The guy who plays Jake looks uncannily like that Edward dude from the Twilight series.

Maybe he is some sort of ancient sparkly vampire...


We all know that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the first movie to receive the PG-13 rating, presumably for overt graphic violence that wasn't enough to be R rated. I couldn't say, I've never managed to stay awake through the whole movie. But, I digress. Sixteen Candles may not have graphic violence, but it has much swearing and even a couple of extended shots of some perky boobies that would have been contained full frontal had the actress turned two degrees towards the camera. Now, this is not a complaint. I'm a red blooded male who swears like I own the seven seas, but seeing that there were 3 weeks between the release of Indy and Sixteen Candles, I'm a bit surprised that the latter didn't get the honor of first to PG-13.

On the subject of boobies...

I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here, but a recurring theme in much of the media I consume is female characters lamenting the size of their chests, particularly in the earlier letters of the alphabet. Perhaps it's just me (and the subject is certainly subjective), but literal melon sized breasts are hardly appealing. I'd rather have gold, boron, or carbon over the synthetic darmstadtium or dubnium.

Well, that got weird...


Breast Entrepreneur (AKA, Mary Poppins' Employer)
Breast Entrepreneur (AKA, Mary Poppins' Employer)

Yes, yes. Quite right. Yes, yes. quite.


I'm afraid you've lost me on this one.

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