Just A Song Before I Go

weboy here… I am almost ready to say good bye… but before I go, I did want to do one more movie list for Red, when she has a few moments of down time.  Amy mentioned Sixteen Candles, and it reminded me of  a few teen films I wanted to mention:Jake Ryan

  • Sixteen Candles (1984) – The one, the only.  I never recommend Breakfast Club – too heavy handed and one note – and while I like Pretty in Pink, it is a bit fanciful and formulaic.  Sixteen Candles, though, is the real thing (or was; I was 16 when it was released): a fresh, funny take on high school horror stories like your crush on the perfect person, those awful school dances, the different cliques and how they interact.  Molly Ringwald still impresses me as Sam, the girl whose birthday is forgotten, and we all still love Jake Ryan.  (RedStar and I once saw Molly at a birthday dinner in a Manhattan restaurant, so that’s a part of this as well.)
  • Not Another Teen Movie (2001) – Speaking of Molly, she makes a cameo in this hilarious spoof of all things teen.  The plot manages to cross She’s All That with Pretty in Pink as well as Cruel Intentions and American Pie to remind us how very silly all of that teen angst is.  Sure, some of the humor is too gross out to be worthwhile, but some of the jokes are positively sublime… and the score, which rerecords a host of teen movie anthems (a punky If You Leave at the prom, a new version of “Somebody’s Baby” which came originally from Grandaddy of them all Fast Times At Ridgemont High). Much fun.
  • Valley Girl – And speaking of classics… I could also mention Class the Andrew McCarthy/Rob Lowe teen flick where Andy sleeps with Rob’s Mom (Jacqueline Bissett), but I like this one even better.  Nicolas Cage (looking every bit of 25) plays a bad boy who tries to win over a good rich girl from The Valley… yes, the San Fernando Valley, where Valley Girl Speak came from and everything. Subtler than most and slyly funny, Valley Girl introduced “I Melt With You” to a wide audience, making it into an eighties anthem.
  • Hackers (1995) – There was something of a lull in teen films in the nineties (a lot of it being the move to “Gen X” films of people in their twenties, following the original teen film crowd as they/we aged).  This is one of the more offbeat entries, an early attempt to bring the hip new technology of instant messaging and computer hacking into a dramatic story.  The result is a little silly, but more than made up for by Angelina Jolie’s early, smoldering performance as the bad girl, and Jonny Lee Miller as the hacking genius who’s cute too (he went on to marry Jolie briefly, and they remain friends).  Like most good teen films, the cast is full of soon to be stars (Matthew Lillard, in this case) who lift the material well above where it should be otherwise.
  • That Thing You Do! (1996) – This underrated Tom Hanks film – his first as a director – follows a group of teen musicians who attain sudden stardom off of a catchy sixties pop hit. Every frame of the film is drenched in Hanks’ reverence for the subject – he was heavily involved in the songwriting and recording and the score is filled with great homages to sixties pop… and jazz, which plays a big role in the story. Tom Everett Scott plays the Hanks stand-in, Liv Tyler shines as the girl, and Jonathan Schaech is perfectly broody and cute in the role of lead singer.  I wish Hanks would do more of this; I can’t recommend this film enough.

1 Response to “Just A Song Before I Go”

  1. 1 Amy
    January 16, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Redstar, I love you, I do. But Weboy has stolen my heart with the Jake Ryan pic.

    Welcome back!! Hope your feet have recovered.

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