- Sixteen Candles (John Hughes, 1984): I have to confess, I kind of hated this. I wanted to like it, I love The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, so I kind of figured I’d like this. But…uh, there is some rape in it? That is not portrayed as horrible and ugly but as though it’s like somehow nice that the rich popular dude “gives” his passed out drunk girlfriend to a nerdy virgin to drive home. And then she wakes up in the morning and is nice to him, and tells him that she “enjoyed” it. Uh, ew.
Also that whole Long Duck Dong thing is also kind of racist? It could have not been, but it so, so was. The Molly Ringwald can’t catch a break bits are actually pretty funny, as are the John Cusack and that other guy geek chorus, and I get the whole Bakhtinian carnival thing1 but the whole thing, it’s kind of gross. I realize it’s supposed to be a classic for our times, but it has not aged well at all.
I still love you, Molly Ringwald!
- What Have I Done To Deserve This?! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1984): This holds up really really well; it’s Almodóvar’s fourth film and the cinematography and storytelling are leaps and bounds above the first three. It’s not as polished or bright as the stuff that came after and that really made him famous, but I found it surprisingly enjoyable to watch again.
- The Law of Desire (Pedro Almodóvar, 1987): I’ve probably said contradictory things before, but this is my favourite Almodóvar. Things I like: it is beautiful, visually daring in cinematography and fantastically overwrought in mise-en-scene, with ’80s fashion and kitsch altars; you get gay love treated as just part of life, without any kind of weird stress or hysteria, that may not seem like a big deal now, but it sure as hell was in 1987; young, crazy Antonio Banderas, in repressed gay love with Eusebio Poncela, seduced by his movies; Carmen Maura’s performance as the transsexual Tina is still one of the best things I have ever seen, she seems so aware of her body and she seems to feel everything so unabashedly. This was the movie that made me fall in love with Almodóvar.
“Who’s he?” “He’s me.” “Then who are you?” “I’m him.” ↩