Sixteen Candles is one of those John Hughes ’80s comedies I saw at the time, but haven’t seen in a long time, and I never knew there was an extended version before this disc was announced for release.
It’s Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday, and everyone’s forgotten. Or have they? Maybe. Either way, it’s also the day of her school prom. She lusts after Mike (Justin Henry), who has a thing going with hot blonde Caroline (Haviland Morris), leaving just The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) to square the relationship circle, as he has the hots for his future Breakfast Club co-star, much to her annoyance, and also fancies the pants off her, literally, as you’ll find out.
So, is she the black sheep of the family – since everyone else is catered for – but no-one acknowledges that it’s actually her birthday, or are they just ignorant?
As an aside, it’s interesting that Samantha says she thought that when she woke up at the age of 16, everything would fall into place, but it hasn’t. I remember being a teenager, around 13/14, and thinking I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up at 18, and everything in live would be solved! Of course it wasn’t.
Of course, she doesn’t help herself by being immensely fussy about how she wants her mum to cut up some carrots for her to eat at school the next day, when she could quite easily do it herself. Why does she want them? To grow her breasts, apparently. If that’s the case, then since I eat carrots most days, that explains my moobs!
As another aside, Samantha goes to the school prom, and I can remember the one at my school in my final year. God, what a complete waste of time that was!
Amongst the side-plots (which sidetrack the family), her sister’s about to get married, her grandparents have taken over her bedroom, and these were the days when Anthony Michael Hall was starting out on a big career that never really took off, and John Cusack had a small role as one of Hall’s geeky friends, but which of the two went on to bigger things, more consistently? However, as Hall agrees to a bet that he gets nowhere with Samantha, the bet is for a dozen floppy disks. Remember them? 🙂
Naturally, his sister, Joan Cusack, also tags along, but I never ‘got’ her as an actress.
There’s also a small role for John Kapelos, also in Breakfast Club, as janitor Carl, who had a few scenes with the late, great Paul Gleason as teacher Richard Vernon. Here, he’s the groom in the forthcoming wedding.
I also forget how racist the ’80s was, since they brought in token Chinese wedding guest, Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), who makes Benny Hill sound politicially correct(!)
Musically, as well as this film beginning with Kajagoogoo‘s instrumental track Kajagoogoo, from their first album, towards the end we’re also treated to Thompson Twins‘ If You Were Here, an album track from Quick Step & Side Kick, which I remember listening to incessantly at the time, and I can still remember being in an Spanish airport, waiting for the time when we can get on the plane to come home. I didn’t want to come home, but this track was playing in my walkman, and as well as being an incredibly emotional track, it also brought home those depressing feelings of NOT wanting to leave Spain and return to reality. I was only 12 at the time. Maybe I should’ve just lived there? After all, it worked out for most of the residents in 1992’s soap Eldorado, right? Erm…
Overall, Sixteen Candles isn’t as good as The Breakfast Club, but it is very worthy of your attention, especially if you missed it first time round.
If there’s a downside to this disc, it’s that for an ’80s comedy shot on 35mm, where they won’t have been expecting it to have such longevity, the picture on such a disc from Arrow has its usual hazy look, less a problem during the film than for the opening credits, but it’s still there for a film geek, like me.
The extras are as follows, and I’ll go into these in more detail soon:
- Blu-ray world premiere Extended Version (94 mins), featuring the additional cafeteria scene newly remastered in high definition
- Alternate home video soundtrack prepared for VHS and laserdisc releases
- Option to watch additional scene from the Extended Version separately
- Casting Sixteen Candles , an all-new audio interview with casting director Jackie Burch
- When Gedde Met Deborah, a newly filmed conversation between actors Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack
- Rudy the Bohunk, a newly filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos
- The In-Between, a newly filmed interview with camera operator Gary Kibbe
- The New Wave Nerd, a newly filmed interview with filmmaker Adam Rifkin, who shadowed John Hughes while working as an extra on set
- Music for Geeks, a newly filmed interview with composer Ira Newborn
A Very Eighties Fairytale, an all-new video essay written and narrated by writer Soraya Roberts, looking at the film from a contemporary feminist perspective
- Celebrating Sixteen Candles, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including stars Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Dooley, Justin Henry, Haviland Morris and Gedde Watanabe
- Theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
- Image galleries
- BD-ROM: PDF of the original shooting script
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nikki Baughan and Bryan Reesman
The menu features a piece of the Kajagoogoo instrumental mixed with clips from the film, there are subtitles in English and the bog-standard 12 chapters.
Sixteen Candles is released on Monday July 22nd on Blu-ray Special Edition.
Running time: 92 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: July 22nd 2019
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, DTS 2.0 HD Master Audio (Stereo)
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35mmn)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: John Hughes
Producer: Hilton A Green
Screenplay: John Hughes
Music: Ira Newborn
Samantha: Molly Ringwald
Mike Baker: Justin Henry
Jake: Michael Schoeffling
Caroline: Haviland Morris
Long Duk Dong: Gedde Watanabe
Geek: Anthony Michael Hall
Jim Baker: Paul Dooley
Brenda Baker: Carlin Glynn
Ginny: Blanche Baker
Howard: Edward Andrews
Dorothy: Billie Bird
Helen: Carole Cook
Fred: Max Showalter
Randy: Liane Curtis
Bryce: John Cusack
Cliff: Darren Harris
Lumberjack: Debbie Pollack
Ray Gun Geek #1: Ross Berkson
Ray Gun Geek #2: Steven Farber
Jimmy Montrose: Jonathan Chapin
Geek Girl #1: Joan Cusack
Reverend: Brian Doyle-Murray
Robin: Jami Gertz
Rudy: John Kapelos
Patty: Beth Ringwald
Wedding Guest: Agnes Belushi (uncredited)
Student Breakers: New York City Breakers (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.