Anthony Michael Hall
Equal parts sly, sweet, and downright silly, SIXTEEN CANDLES broached both gender demographics by focusing on stuff that girls care about ... while delivering a whole lot of silly, sexy stuff that horny young males always enjoy. Featuring some excellent performances by Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and the immortal Gedde Watanabe, SIXTEEN CANDLES was broad, bubbly, and kind of adorable, all at the same time. Although not exactly a smash hit, CANDLES struck a chord with its youthful audience, and it turned a tidy enough profit to earn Hughes another shot (and it's since gone on to become an absolute staple of mid-'80s moviedom.)
For his second effort, Hughes put together something a little bit darker, a little more mature, and a lot more insightful. Now known as one of the truly terrific great-granddaddys of the "teen movie," THE BREAKFAST CLUB is as admired, adored, and imitated today as it was back in the '80s. Equal parts poignant, humorous, and sincere, TBC was a movie that hoped to delve a little deeper into the teenage psyche, and come back with something a bit more challenging than "nerds want sex." Featuring five memorable performances, a lot of great tunes, and a screenplay as quotable as the finest vintage Tarantino, THE BREAKFAST CLUB still stands as one of the finest High School Movies ever made.
After taking a break to bang out a screenplay for WB's EUROPEAN VACATION, Mr. Hughes returned to Universal one last time to deliver the diametric opposite of TBC. If his last movie was strangely serious and even a little melancholy, WEIRD SCIENCE would turn that tide in a hurry. Often considered by fans (like myself) as Hughes' least embraceable teen farces, WEIRD SCIENCE still contains enough colorful ingredients to make it worthy of a look. I mean, it's not every movie that features petrified grandparents, a big brother morphed into a giant mutant frog, and the non-stop sexiness of a young Kelly Le Brock. WEIRD SCIENCE feels like something that Hughes slapped together over the course of one weed-filled weekend, which is why the flick, despite having a solid handful of strong chuckles and memorable moments, doesn't really mesh together as a complete whole. It's a novelty flick, but it's a novelty flick that offers strong work from the likes of Anthony Michael Hall, Bill Paxton, and a very young Robert Downey Jr. (in some of the silliest fashions you ever well see.)
Following the trend-setting success of this trilogy, Mr. Hughes would soon be courted away from Universal, and his next five productions (PRETTY IN PINK, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL, PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES, and SHE'S HAVING A BABY) would turn up as Paramount flicks. The filmmaker would return to Uni for films like THE GREAT OUTDOORS and UNCLE BUCK, but the now-amazingly-successful moviemaker seemed tapped out on the teenage tip.
Mr. Hughes now spends his days in a mansion built on teenage angst and The Smiths singles, occasionally popping up to produce a BEETHOVEN or HOME ALONE sequel. Fans firmly hope that the moviemaker will someday return to the high school well that brought his such renown, but it's not really necessary. Take the very finest work that Hughes ever did, and you're looking at four or five movies that capture teenage trouble like no other. (And two of 'em are included in this package.)
New to this set is an 8-song Brat Pack music mix, on which you'll find the following tunes: True by Spandau Ballet, Tenderness by General Public, If You Leave by OMD, Weird Science by Oingo Boingo, Oh Yeah by Yello, Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs, Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds, and I Go Crazy by Flesh for Lulu. It's a solid music mix, to be sure, but you can get the same tunes online for 89 cents apiece.
But I suppose the commentaries and retrospective featurettes will have to wait for the Brat Pack Mega-Ducky Uber-Collection -- and of course, that thing will sell like hotcakes.