Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Sixteen Candles:" Jake Ryan

G was kind enough to print and bring in for me a Feb. 14, 2004 article from The Washington Post, "Real Men Can't Hold A Match To Jake Ryan of 'Sixteen Candles'" by Hank Stuever. It is obviously the obligatory Valentine's Day fluff piece. As a one-time teen girl of the 80s, I was intrigued.

For those of you who (gasp!) never saw it, "Sixteen Candles" is a John Hughes classic. The story of Samantha Baker (played by Molly Ringwald) whose family forgets her birthday amid preparations for her older sister's wedding while she suffers a series of embarrassments until the day is redeemed by our hero and her love interest--you guessed it--Jake Ryan (played by Michael Schoeffling.)

The point of the article*--and here comes the spooky part--is that Jake Ryan could never exist but nevertheless essentially ruined women my age (and those up to ten years younger) for other men.

I have a series of random, quasi related thoughts:

Mr. Schoeffling apparently lives in PA, where he's married, has two teenage kids, and a' la "Sex In The City's" Aiden Shaw/pre-Han Solo Harrison Ford, makes hand-crafted furniture, which--let's face it--is more hunky than acting. He had a few small parts in eight movies following "Sixteen Candles," and was called by GQ magazine "the Salinger of male model/actors."

Why is it so unthinkable that a cute, popular guy would (as the article suggests) automatically prefer a bitchy Fox-News-spokesmodel-looking blond** over Samantha? Molly Ringwald is really cute, and she had those lips well before they became the rage. Is our definition of beauty really so narrow? Hm. Maybe so, in light of the aforementioned Fox News spokesmodels (I have this theory that they are stamped out in an underground factory in New Jersey).

Maybe it is unlikely that any guy could solve all of your problems on your birthday. But then again, maybe more should try.

Yes, LLD is the quintessential example of laughing at rather than laughing with when it comes to race and comedy, something that many fans of "Sixteen Candles" seem to have missed and/or developed amnesia about. This phenomenon is closely related to the Mickey Rooney character in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." That said, you could say the same thing about the film as related to elders, the disabled, "ethnic whites," etc.

Anthony Michael Hall is flat-out fabulous, though of course I adore geeks (pon-pons aside) having once been one myself.

Though Mr. Schoeffling's Jake is rather dishy, I much prefer Keanu and Hugh Jackman. No neither "Constantine" nor "Van Helsing" changed my opinion, though I don't need to see either of those movies twice. (For actual acting ability, my faves are Tony Shalhoub and James Cromwell).

Allegedly, many women in the target range have named their babies "Jake" or "Ryan." As it happens, my best friend from high school just had a baby and named him "Jake."

A coincidence, I'm sure.

*you allegedly have to register at The Washington Post but registration is free. That said, I was able to get the whole article just by Googling and hitting the applicable link.

**yes, I have friends who're blond, beautiful, and brilliant, too, but you know what I'm talking about.

Spooky Link

If you are a devotee, apparently, you can buy a Jake Ryan T-shirt online.