Molly Ringwald

Sixteen Candles

Happy birthday, Sixteen Candles, you’re really weird. Perhaps you’ve forgotten just how weird Sixteen Candles is, but rest assured, it’s weird. John Hughes’ directorial debut arrived in theaters on May 4, 1984 (Star Wars Day, as the Internet recognizes it), making it officially thirty-years-old today. At the time, Hughes had already penned Mr. Mom, National Lampoon’s Vacation and a bunch of episodes of Delta House, but Sixteen Candles marked his first foray behind the camera in a directorial capacity. The fact that the film is rarely referred to as a very, very weird little comedy is both a total shame and fairly understandable, if only because it’s much easier to forget the skewed nature of Hughes’ comedic sensibilities and instead focus on the important thing – it’s a teen romance starring Molly Ringwald – that defined a large section of Hughes’ career, for better or worse.

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Seeing as this is the first go around, you might be wondering to yourself what “Over/Under” is, and rightly so. It’s a new weekly column in which I will take to task a film that has gotten more than its fair share of success and praise, and then champion a related film that comparatively gets little play. This isn’t necessarily to say that the first film is bad and the second one good, just that the disparity in love between the two is a wrong that needs to be righted. But if you choose to believe that what I’m writing is more mean-spirited and antagonistic than intended, that’s fine with me too. Let’s spar in the comments; I could use the attention. For our inaugural column we’ll be looking at John Hughes’s 1985 detention drama The Breakfast Club, a film that the teenagers who work for me still mention as being a classic, and David Seltzer’s 1986 nerd meets girl movie Lucas, a film that I can’t get a darn one of those kids to give a chance.

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I am legitimately worried about I Am Number Four star Alex Pettyfer. Of course, he doesn’t need my concern – the 20-year-old star of director D.J. Caruso’s teen alien flick is on the rise, with two movies in the can (Beastly and Andrew Niccol’s Now) and a slew of others in the works. That’s how Hollywood operates: hone in on young talent, put them in a zillion movies and let it ride. The difficult part is the escape plan, transcending above “it” star to full-fledged “actor.” The pretty faces of Twilight are attempting to keep the ball rolling, while Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter may have already escaped the gravitational pull of teen star suckage – but it ain’t easy. This is why I fear for Pettyfer. He has obvious talent, and I Am Number Four occasionally allows him to play with more than his Teen Beat-worthy pouty faces. But if Pettyfer intends to stick around and grow up into something substantial, he’s going to have to learn an important lesson from fallen heartthrobs and by looking to the past.

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Ralph Macchio Pat Morita Karate Kid

You can’t talk about The Karate Kid — new or old — without mentioning Ralph Macchio. Or Pat Morita, for that matter. Without him, there would have been no 80s classic underdog story for Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan to rehash. And all the while, I’m sure many of you have wondered what Macchio has been up to. The folks at Funny or Die have the answer: Ralph is trying to become Hollywood’s next bad boy.

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johnhughesdocumentary

Within 24 hours, a little-known project became a hot commodity. It’s not pretty, but it’s the magic of Hollywood.

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