Even though my friends and I were a little old for them, there was a period in the 1980's when we took in all that era's high school movies. Is there anything that screams "1980's" more than the John Hughes movies, plus Say Anything
, and of course Fast Times at Ridgemont High
When you don't have children, you don't really have a barometer for the passage of time, so if most of your friends are childfree and your only sibling is also, it's easy to kid yourself for a long time that you aren't getting older.
My most recent smack in the face occurred when I read recently about Molly Ringwald playing the MOTHER of a pregnant teenager in an upcoming TV movie
. I can deal with James Spader having morphed from a creepily pretty young man into the prissy, pursed-lips Church Lady clone that is his Alan Shore character on Boston Legal
. I can deal with John Cusack being a passionate activist whose eye-crinkles are now crow's feet. I can even deal with the trip into bizarro world that is Two And a Half Men
reruns that precede Family Guy
every night on the CW.
But Molly Ringwald as the mother of a teenager? That, my perpetually adolescent friends, is a true hot kiss at the end of the west fist of reality.
Last night I was flipping channels and came across the last ten minutes of one of the worst of that particular genre, Pretty in Pink
. I should have loved this movie when it came out; after all, it had a geeky heroine like I was, who instead of hiding under a poncho like I did in high school, managed to create her own style. It may have been a ghastly style, but it was a style. And we were supposed to believe that both of the pretty rich boys in town wanted her but caved to social pressure -- from each other, no less. The two boys were the aforementioned James Spader at his absolute creepiest and the rabbity Andrew McCarthy, while the Molly Ringwald character's TRUE soulmate; the one that there's no way she'd be able to appreciate until she's 40, is the quirky Duckie, played by Jon Cryer.
We all knew guys like this in high school -- ferociously smart, funny, talented guys so full of their own zany energy and able to cover up their self-loathing with a quirky wit. And they never, ever get the girl; not until they grow into their faces and the girls stop longing for the chiseled jock with the hot car. I was thirty-one when I saw Pretty in Pink
, and I really, really wanted Andie to realize at the end just how freaking cool Duckie was:
Of course, at the age of 31, it was the Annie Potts character that I wanted to BE.