'Sixteen Candles: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry, Michael Schoeffling, John Cusack, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1984) 2020 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: In his debut film as writer-director, John Hughes immediately cemented himself as the king of teen cinema with 'Sixteen Candles,' and in the process also introduced one of the most iconic faces of '80s Americana: Molly Ringwald.
For high schooler Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), her 16th birthday might be the worst day of her life. Her entire family has forgotten about it due to her older sister's impending wedding.
Add to that her biggest crush, high school hunk Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) has discovered an embarrassing sex quiz filled out by Sam in which she details how she is saving herself for him, and to make matters worse, she is hounded by a relentless nerd (Anthony Michael Hall) who won't take no for an answer.
But Sam's sweet sixteen isn't over yet, and before the end of the night, all her birthday wishes could still come true!
Blu-ray Verdict: Most films are about other films, and few invent new stuff in the film world. So when something new comes around, it is remarkable.
The big deal with this film is that it DOES add something to the cinematic vocabulary that wasn't there before.
It references the movies we invent and carry in our minds from high school. `Fast Times at Ridgemont High' was the originator of this idea, but the manner used there never caught on (unless you could Kevin Smith).
Here, the idea is to be fantastic, so amazingly so that we agree with the direction of the fantasy. It is precisely the direction we were already going with the exaggerations we play with in our own memories.
A house is not just trashed by a party, it is decimated and defiled. A foreign student isn't just out of touch, he is from outer space and this Earth just gobbles him up.
All this frantic fantasy wouldn't work without an emotional anchor. The `rule of twos' says that you need a girl and a boy, here Molly and Hall. These are characters who live in that chaotic mess and who you can see knowing it and devising strategies to get by.
Michael Hall is terrific, but Molly Ringwald interests me more. Nowadays, a director would find a 20's something actress to play a teenager (like dePalma had with `Carrie').
Molly was actually younger than her character but understands the notion of trying to find a lighted path in a fun house.
She is only asked to do one thing here. Her subsequent career shows she is limited as an actress to this one thing, but she does it so extraordinarily well, it anchors the fantasy.
We relate to her and use her a springboard for our own remembrances. No shrinking redhead can appear in film now without referencing her in some way. (I'm thinking directly of Lauren Ambrose here.)
It is a touch of genius. This is her best work, and that of Hughes as well. It added something, something that stuck. Now, many movies are about this one.
In closing, viewers should also keep an eye out for both a young John Cusack as one of the nerds who gets locked in a car trunk and also his sister Joan, who dates Long Duk Dong, the wild exchange student!
Superbly written, cleverly observed by John Hughes, 'Sixteen Candles' truly stands the test of time. Again, this is a film worth watching over and over and over again and is always guaranteed to put a smile on your face -- if not make you laugh out loud. Watch and enjoy, my friends. Watch and enjoy. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation of the Theatrical Version of the film (92 mins), plus Blu-ray premiere Extended Version (94 mins), featuring the additional cafeteria scene newly remastered in high definition
Original lossless mono audio, plus 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround option
Original English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
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
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
Official 'Sixteen Candles: Special Edition' Blu-ray Purchase Link