Blu-ray Review: Sixteen Candles (Arrow Video)

It’s Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday. Unfortunately for her, it’s also the day before her older sister’s wedding, causing her entire family to forget about her birthday. To make matters worse, she has a crush on a popular, good looking senior named Jake (Michael Schoeffling) who doesn’t seem to know she exists. Things only get weirder when Samantha’s grandparents arrive at the house for the wedding, bringing along an exchange student named Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe). To escape the insanity at home, Samantha goes to a high school dance, where she is accosted by Farmer Ted AKA The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall). Jake is dating Caroline (Haviland Morris), possibly the hottest girl in school, but his interest in Samantha is growing, even if she doesn’t realize it.

Watching Sixteen Candles now, it’s amazing the MPAA gave the film a PG rating. With the PG-13 still a few months away from debuting at the time of Sixteen Candles’ release, the choice was between PG and R, and the MPAA apparently believed that something so obviously aimed at teenagers shouldn’t be deprived of its target audience. Sixteen Candles with bare breasts, f**** word, and oral sex innuendo. To say nothing of the ethnic stereotyping of Long Duk Dong.

The spot-on performance by Molly Ringwald is what made this film work originally and remains worth watching today. Every scene that diverged from Samantha is forgettable. The scene in which Ted offers the more experienced Jake advice about women is cringe worthy, but the moment Ted shares in the auto shop with Samantha is sweet. No matter what happens, Samantha retains her believability. She could be two or three girls I knew in high school. Jake is too good to be true, and Ted is a bit over the top.

John Hughes’ directorial debut, Sixteen Candles has never been my favorite film of his (that would be a tossup between The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), but flaws and all, Sixteen Candles offers an honest snapshot of high school during the mid-eighties.

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the brand new 4K restoration looks wonderful. The excellent texture reveals details not evident in previous home video releases. Sharpness never wanes, and that consistency gives the film a natural look overall. While there’s a nice level of grain, no DNR has been applied. Colors look bright and contrast appropriate. Viewers should be very pleased with this transfer.

There are multiple sound options, all in DTS-HD. Original Theatrical Mono and a 5.1 upmix. The 5.1 upmix offers notable clarity. However, the 5.1 mix is the easy choice. Contained largely in the fronts, music is the primary use of the expansive soundstage. Dialogue is clean, clear, and concise. A curious extra, is the VHS mix, where much of the music was changed for licensing reasons.

English SDH subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

Sixteen Candles comes packaged in a nice slipcover, and a well-appointed booklet which contains stills, technical data, cast and crew information, and two essays.

  • Theatrical Version (HD, 132:35) and Extended Version (HD, 134:01) are options under the Play Film menu.
  • Additional Scene (HD, 1:28) Direct access to the scene in the Extended Version.
  • Alternate Home Video Soundtrack (HD, 134:01) Features the original home video soundtrack, which changed or omitted songs due to music rights issues.
  • Casting Sixteen Candles with Jackie Burch (HD, 9:06) A new interview with the film’s casting director.
  • When Gedde Met Deborah (HD, 19:20) A new interview with actor’s Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack.
  • Rudy the Bohunk (HD, 6:26) A new interview with actor John Kapelos.
  • The New Wave Nerd (HD, 8:19) A new interview with Adam Rifkin, who was an extra in the film and shadowed John Hughes.
  • The ln-Between (HD, 7:38) A new interview with camera operator Gary Kibbe.
  • Music For Geeks (HD, 8:19) A new interview with composer Ira Newborn.
  • A Very Eighties Fairytale (HD, 17:21) A visual essay by Saraya Roberts.
  • Celebrating Sixteen Candles (HD, 37:58) An archival featurette from the film’s 2008 DVD release.
  • Trailers and Promotional Spots
    • Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:30)
    • Trailer 1 (HD, 2:50)
    • Trailer 2 (HD, 2:42)
    • TV Spots (HD, 1:01)
    • Radio Spots (13:42)
  • Image Galleries
    • Shooting Script (HD)
    • Production Stills (HD)
    • Poster and Video Art (HD)

Sixteen Candles (1984)
Sixteen Candles

Movie title: Sixteen Candles

Country: USA

Duration: 94 min

Director(s): John Hughes

Actor(s): Molly Ringwald, Justin Henry, Anthony Michael Hall , Gedde Watanabe, Blanche Baker , John Cusack

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Teen, Coming of Age, Drama

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

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