Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen
It came upon me as a bit of a surprise this morning when I first checked some our radio prep services for entertainment news and headlines and then, as it settled in, I found myself getting a touch melancholy.
Sixteen Candles turns 30 this weekend. It was 1984, I was in the third year of, what would turn out to be five years of school at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania, and John Hughes was soon to be my, and our hero.
As prolific writer for the screen as any there was he was behind the pen for 27 films between 1983’s Mr. Mom and 1997’s Home Alone 3. But, more importantly he was also behind the camera for 7 of the films he had written and those 7 films spanned most of my college life, undergrad and graduate. The actors were all me and my friends, the stories were all our stories and the John Hughes formula worked every time, no matter that you knew you were following it.
Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Plains, Trains and Automobiles, She’s Having a Baby and Uncle Buck with Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful in the midst of those as the writer.
There even seemed to be a grand arc from Sixteen Candles to She’s Having a Baby almost as if John Hughes were growing up with us, like a big brother.
John Hughes showed us the geeks we may have been in High School and how much it may have hurt while at the same time letting them have their chances to shine and be cool in their own way.
When it came to cool he showed us that too, gave us characters we wanted to be like, or at least dress like. He knew what was truly funny which, of course, was exactly what we knew was truly funny. He knew our music and he knew exactly how to use it in the most dramatic of ways at exactly the right moment which is exactly how we used our music at the exactly the right moment in our often melodramatic lives.
And, man, did John Hughes also know how to make us cry…and to reflect as we did in our, also, melodramatic ways.
All of this started with Sixteen Candles.
We’re grown now and we’ve moved on to our own versions of Sixteen Candles. It may have been then, but it somehow helped our now. To John Hughes? I, we, thank you and miss you, desperately.
Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen.
From the John Hughes Wiki page here’s his filmography