Tuesday, March 19, 2013

teen movie geek-out

 
 
When I was 12 or 13, I remember one entire weekend when, left to our own devices, me and my sister pretty much watched the same two betamax movies in rotation--Pretty in Pink & Labyrinth (I believe my parents were dealing with placing my step-grandfather in a nursing home, and it never would have happened had my dad been in control of the tv.)  Labyrinth has always been a fave, and my appreciation for its quirkiness (and sort of twistedness) has only improved with age. Pretty in Pink is definitely one of less played Hughes movies though (Sixteen Candles & The Breakfast Club are satellite/cable regulars), so I probably watched it the last time at some point maybe in high school.

 At 12 though, I was smitten with pouty Andrew McCarthy and remember loving the final sequence, the prom, and it's OMD playing drama. Last weekend, I discovered it was on Netflix and gave it a whirl only to discover it had not aged quite so well.  It's really sort of bad, and pretty much all the characters deeply annoying in some way.  I think I remember there being, just MORE to it, that isn't there.  While my sister says the real tragedies watching it now are her ditching the Jon Cryer character and the vintage prom dress massacre, I zeroed in on something else I never would have noticed as a teen--Andie's older confidante Iona (played by Annie Potts) who spends most of the film being quirky and unusual and wearing wild out there clothes, but who by the end, sacrifices it all for some bad eighties shoulder pad monstrosity. 

It was depressing, and amusing to me, that suddenly I was identifying with the grown up and not the teens (who were, as teens often are, pretty much clueless.)  But also that there was something telling in that 80's conformity message.  It felt very different as a teen movie from some of the late 90's incarnations, where the quirky individualism usually won out. There are definitely teen movies from the 80's that buck this, Say Anything is a fave, also Cant' Buy Me Love (which also got constant VCR play a couple years later when I was in highschool.)  At some point, I probably could have recited the dialogue by rote from both of these movies.  (Which is also true of Goonies from a couple years earlier.)

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