Don’t You Forget About Me (2009) Review

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009 Documentary)

Directed by Matt Austin

Written by:
Matt Austin
Michael Facciolo
Kari Hollend
Lenny Panzer

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Don’t You Forget About Me is a 2009 Canadian documentary film about screenwriter, director, and producer John Hughes. The film specifically focused on Hughes’ fade from prominence in the early 1990s. It details the journey of a group of young filmmakers who go in search of the reclusive icon, documenting their search through interviews of the people with whom Hughes had worked and fans of his films.

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My Opinion:

Obviously, I was interested in watching this documentary as, like the filmmakers, I grew up with and love John Hughes teen movies and was sad that he stopped making those types of films and that he pretty much disappeared from Hollywood. I think it’s quite a sad story and, as we know, he died too young from a heart attack at the age of 59 on August 6, 2009, just after this documentary was filmed.

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This is worth a watch for anyone who is a big fan of Hughes but not so much worth a watch if you’re not. The best part by far was seeing all the interviews with those who had worked with Hughes and those who were influenced by his work. It’s pretty impressive that they were able to get as many people together for this documentary as they did. The following are just some of the people they interviewed:

Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Ally Sheedy
Judd Nelson
Kelly LeBrock
Mia Sara
Alan Ruck
Kevin Smith
Roger Ebert
Richard Roeper
Jim Kerr

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As for the rest of the documentary, I was hoping for something a bit more in-depth on why they thought Hughes had disappeared but we don’t really get this from the filmmakers. They talk a bit about their favorite Hughes films and what those movies meant to them but we don’t really hear anything new. I was a little confused by a couple things too. They say they spent two years (or maybe it was two and a half) on this documentary. I don’t think this is a spoiler: they drive to Chicago to try to track down John Hughes & interview him (I won’t say whether they manage to or not). But, once they get there, they sit down and start writing out some questions to ask him. Then they try to decide how to go about contacting him: walk right up to his house & talk to him or give him a letter or what. They write the letter right outside his house. In two years they didn’t think to have any of this prepared until they arrived in Chicago to try to meet with Hughes???

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Summary:

A documentary worth watching if you love John Hughes films as you get to see some interesting interviews with those he worked with and those he influenced. However, you won’t really learn anything new or get an in-depth look into the man and why he disappeared from the scene. It’s also a little disappointing that there’s no focus whatsoever on any of his movies other than a few teen ones (what’s wrong with the Vacation movies? Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Etc?). Like I say – I do recommend this if you like John Hughes but I was a little uncomfortable at the thought of fans trying to track him down as I think he wanted a peaceful life with his family. And knowing that he died so soon afterwards made watching this even harder. (Please read below the picture for something I DO highly recommend….) And for another opinion on this documentary from another fan of John Hughes, you can read Rob’s thoughts over at his MovieRob blog HERE.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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**To be honest, if you’re a John Hughes fan (or even if you’re not), I’ve been meaning to share this absolutely fascinating piece from a girl who was pen pals with Hughes from 1985-1987 (and more beyond). THIS should be read by everyone – Hughes lovers or even those who are simply interested in being writers or just knowing a bit more about the feelings of someone who was in the public eye. It’s a brilliant insight into the man & you will learn much more about him from this lovely piece written by a girl called Alison Byrne Fields than you will from watching this documentary. Please read this – It will be well worth your time (and there’s more to be read if you wish to explore more about John Hughes on her blog). Link here: Sincerely, John Hughes

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Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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For this final guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon, we have Eric of The IPC – the guy who inspired me to take on this crazy project that ended up being way bigger than I ever could have dreamed. And it’s all because I decided to pick on him one day for being a teenager in the 80s yet not watching all the 80’s John Hughes teen films! Thanks for being such a good sport through all of this Eric (but, REALLY? you REALLY didn’t like Uncle Buck?! Man…). Anyway, I adore Sixteen Candles (and I reviewed it as well too right HERE. PLUG!). So let’s see how much Eric suffered while watching the true Hughes classic Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984)

When Cinema Parrot Disco first approached us with the idea of this blogathon, I was hesitant about watching some teen movies from my teens that I had never had any desire at all to see but then she coerced me threatened me made it her life’s ambition to hunt me down and provide violence to my flesh I happily volunteered and ordered up a few of these. If you read what I did on The Breakfast Club, you might remember that I didn’t care for it too much so I was NOT excited about popping in this one and sitting through it. But I did because I am a man of my word and I do what I say I will and I am a completist and all of that shit and what can I say but I actually liked this and thought it was pretty fucking funny. “Candles” was a little bit more saucy than “Club” coming in with a set of boobs, some cussin’ and even some implied sex. WHAT?

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Speaking of Breakfast Club, there’s something I forgot about when I was writing my piece the other day. There’s a scene late in the movie where everyone fucking gets together and smokes some dope and bonds like they’re a bunch of hippies in some commune. After smoking some weed, the jock (Emilio Estevez) goes running around the library like he’s on PCP, screaming and dancing and he might have ripped his shirt off – I forget. But I remember watching that scene and thinking – WHAT THE FUCK? I’ve smoked some grass in my days and not ONCE have I ever had the desire to go running around anything or screaming or dancing. In fact. I’ve acted up MUCH less on The Pot than when I’ve had a shitpot worth of cocktails. READ: seven Long Island Iced Teas = running around my city naked; a hit off a 4 foot bong = sitting on the couch watching FEAST trying to remember my name.

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Anyway… so SIXTEEN CANDLES is pretty funny. Really. I LOLed quite a few times. I noticed though, one thing that really bothered me and when I went looking for pics of this on the internet I can’t believe that I couldn’t find a picture of this…. somewhere after the credits, Ringwald is taking the most inappropriate test that could possibly be imagined in a public school setting but – at the top… there’s this….!

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Sorry for the poor graphic arrow but what the FUCK’s a CONFIDENTAIL???? Is that the rear end of your best friend and confidante? How did the filmmakers miss this? What kind of teacher would ask that first question?? Oh well – who hasn’t seen this except for me? It’s your typical coming of age teen movie where the chick gets the guy of her dreams in the end and the dorky guy gets laid. In between there’s a bunch of zany shenanigans and all of that, including a Chinese foreign exchange student. One of the funnier lines of the movie? Chinese dude eats a quiche for the first time ever and really loves it. “How do you spell this word ‘QUICHE’?” he asks sporting a shit eating grin. “You don’t spell it son,” says the grandpa. “You eat it.” LOL HAHAHAHAHAHA

Thanks Mutant!!

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Laura of Film Nerd Blog. She liked Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Let’s see what she thought of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Ah, John Hughes. Acclaimed writer and director of a plethora of modern classic films. You’ve given us so many fabulous films over the years…Home Alone: Uncle Buck: The Great Outdoors: Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club to name a few. But before all of these there was Sixteen Candles.

I’ve only just seen this for the first time – I have no idea how it’s eluded me for so long – especially as I’ve such a soft spot for Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. Unfortunately, I think the delay has had a profound effect on both my enjoyment and my opinion.

Sixteen Candles opens on teenager Samantha Baker, played by Hughes stalwart and flame-haired 80s legend Molly Ringwald, on the morning of her sixteenth birthday. She’s excited to reach her sweet 16 although she’s a bit disappointed that she hasn’t [ahem] physically matured over night. What the hell though, the ‘rents will be waiting to lavish love and generous gifts on her, right? Wrong. Imagine her chagrin when she realises her whole family has totally forgotten her birthday.

The rest of the film is, on the surface at least, a sweet little coming-of-age comedy, where our petulant heroine finds herself the centre of a love triangle. On one side there’s the resident stud-muffin she has the serious teenage hots for, and on the other is the young nerd who has the hots for her.

Now, perhaps its because I’m watching this for the first time at the ripe old age of 32, but there were some elements of Sixteen Candles that really bothered me. Firstly, Jake Ryan, the aforementioned stud-muffin. He has a girlfriend and yet can’t wait to get together with Samantha behind her back. Ok, so maybe I’m taking it too seriously. This is aimed at teenagers, after all, and they aren’t exactly known for their sensitivity.

The thing that really gets to me is that there are some parts that are just a bit, well, rapey. Jake virtually donates his drunken girlfriend to the young nerd, and gives him the green light to do whatever he likes to her. Now, this just makes me feel icky. And while there’s no denying that Jake is a fine looking young man, he has about as much charisma as my favourite pair of slippers and I can’t help thinking that Samantha would’ve tired of him soon after the credits rolled.

In spite of these complaints, I quite enjoyed Sixteen Candles. I love Hughes’ style; it makes me nostalgic for an era I’m not actually old enough to recall. The casting is integral to the enjoyment of his films, and this one is no different- Ringwald makes for an excellent moody teenager while Hall was born to play the annoying try-too-hard nerd. And the characters, while sometimes crudely drawn and stereotypical, are often endearing and almost always totally engaging.

Sixteen Candles isn’t my favourite Hughes film but I’m glad I’ve finally seen it.

Score: 6/10

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. This is the second of four reviews for Sixteen Candles, which is a favorite of mine (you can read my review HERE). Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Abbi! Let’s see what she thinks of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

When Samantha (Molly Ringwald) wakes up on her sixteenth birthday she’s convinced everything is going to change. Unfortunately her entire family has forgotten her birthday and things are only going to get worse at school. There’s a massive geek (Anthony Michael Hall) obsessed with her and Jake (Michael Schoeffling), the already taken boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. Well not until he finds a sex quiz she’s filled in that says she wants to “do it” with him.

If that wasn’t enough to worry about, Samantha’s sister, Ginny (Blanche Baker) is about to get married and the whole family has descended on them and they haven’t remembered her birthday either.

The only chance Sam has of rescuing the day is by going to the school dance but will she managed to avoid the geek and hook up with Jake?

Sixteen Candles is an absolute eighties teen movie classic, one of the main reasons being that Molly Ringwald is so perfect as Samantha. She is beautiful but in an unconventional, natural way that makes it believable when Jake eventually becomes a bit obsessed with her but also allows girls to identify with her without being intimidated. Her reactions to what happens around her and her tendency to exaggerate and be dramatic are so typical of a sixteen year old girl that even if, like me, you are more than twice that age now it’s easy to see your former self in the character. It doesn’t matter that the film is set before mobile phones, Facebook or #yolo, the struggles that Sam goes through are just relevant now as they were thirty years ago.

Unfortunately some other parts of the film have aged less well though. The way the character of Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), Samantha’s grandparents’ generically Asian exchange student, is dealt with is so steeped in stereotype that it’s hard not to think of it as racist. There’s also a scene where Jake “comically” gives The Geek his heavily intoxicated girlfriend as a “gift”. This leads to an apparent sexual escapade between The Geek and the girlfriend where consent appears dubious. I suppose one could write this off as being “from a different era” but it’s just sad that this kind of humour was ever funny.

If you can see past these flaws, the Samantha-Jake storyline along with Sam’s interactions with her family, especially her dad are sweet, funny and touching. And the part where her sister decides to take a few muscle relaxants before walking down the aisle is one of my favourite wedding scenes ever.

One of John Hughes’ best. 3.5/5

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It was hard to tell who was more surprised by The Geek’s unexpected bus erection

CPD Classics: Sixteen Candles (1984) Review

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Justin Henry
Michael Schoeffling
Anthony Michael Hall
Gedde Watanabe
Haviland Morris
Paul Dooley
Carlin Glynn
Blanche Baker
Edward Andrews
Billie Bird
John Cusack
Joan Cusack

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) parents forget her sixteenth birthday. Plus she’s in love with popular Senior Jake Ryan, who doesn’t know she exists. Life is hard at sixteen. In the 1980s. (But not for sixteen-year-olds nowadays – those little shits have it easy!)

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My Opinion:

First of all, I’d again like to thank everyone for all the great guest reviews & all the enthusiasm for the John Hughes Blogathon. I’m glad to see I’m not the only Hughes lover! Now I think it’s time I finally start writing my reviews as well. I’ve only done one favorite so far (Weird Science) & one I’d never seen before (Career Opportunities). Why are the favorites more difficult to write about? Well, I’ll give it a try…

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If I’m honest with myself, Sixteen Candles is my second favorite John Hughes film. I know I put it after Ferris Bueller on this Top Ten I did a while back but, although I think Ferris Bueller is a better film, Sixteen Candles is the one I get a bigger kick out of. And that’s what really matters, right? 🙂

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For those (heathens. lol.) who aren’t very familiar with John Hughes, it probably appears as though Sixteen Candles is a sappy teenage romance along the lines of Pretty In Pink or a teen angst drama like The Breakfast Club. Well, since those kinds of films turn certain people off, I’d tell those people that Sixteen Candles is more along the lines of the zany comedy of Weird Science (with a bit of sappy romance thrown in). So don’t necessarily write this one off if you didn’t like Ferris Bueller or The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles is a little risqué, a little un-PC, and a lot funny. Plus it’s full of loads of classic quotables such as “No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food!” and “I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek.” and, of course, “I can’t believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.”

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I don’t know what else to say as most people my age who grew up with this one already love it so I think I’m trying to convince a new generation to give it a go. Sure, it’s a bit “80s” but I do think it’s aged slightly better than a lot of teen comedies from that era. And it was a more innocent time and we weren’t all tweeting or posting selfies or eating tampons & poop on YouTube or, I don’t know – doing whatever it is that these crazy kids are doing today. But certain things never go away, I suppose, and there will always be teenage CRUSHES. Which, finally, leads me to…

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JAKE RYAN

*Sigh* Just look at him! Look at that face. Look at those brown puppy dog eyes. And… Guess what? He likes nerdy, unpopular girls! Because, you know – that’s realistic! How perfect can a guy possibly be? Of course, Jake Ryan ruined boyfriends for me as he’s completely unlike REAL teenage boys so I had impossibly high expectations. Looking back on it all now, though, I can see my love for Jake Ryan was a little superficial. There’s not a lot going on personality-wise, to be honest. Nowadays I may be more likely to go for a Farmer Ted. But, hey – Jake Ryan was one HANDSOME guy. What a shame that he completely disappeared from Hollywood. But maybe it’s better that way so I can remember the way he was. He’ll always be my first & biggest Movie Crush.

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Summary:

Sixteen Candles may surprise those who know only of the more “family friendly” Hughes of the later years. You’ve got the iffy comedy of big-boob-loving exchange student Long Duk Dong which may not be socially acceptable to laugh at, oily bohunks, naked boobs, sex quizzes, doped-up brides on their periods, pervy grandmothers, geeks paying to see a pair of girl’s panties, and some big names in some small but funny roles (John & Joan Cusack, Jami Gertz, Brian Doyle-Murray & Zelda “Poltergeist Lady” Rubinstein). It’s not as bonkers as Weird Science but it’s still a little racy and fun. And it’s got the one and only Jake Ryan. *Sigh* It’s hard to say that without adding the sigh. *Sigh* What a dreamboat. These are the reasons why Sixteen Candles is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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