Hands Off My Memories, Molly Ringwald!

June 9, 2005 — Really, I don’t know about you, but I know I’ve been sleeping better this week knowing that one of life’s great, unsolved mysteries has come to a close. No, I’m not talking about Mark Felt finally revealing himself to be Deep Throat – I’m talking about the eternal mystery of what ever happened to Samantha Baker!

The uncertainties that have plagued the masses will finally come to an end. Now we will be able to answer those important life questions such as: What every happened to Long Duc Dong? Did Sam pick Jake Ryan or Blaine McDonnagh? Did Farmer Ted and Duckie ever find love?

Or am I getting my John Hughes/Molly Ringwald movies mixed up?

Recent wire reports have shown that Ringwald – now 37 – would like to reprise the role of Samantha Baker in a sequel to the 1984 film Sixteen Candles. She claims that there’s been interest in the past, but it was only recently that she read a script that met her satisfaction and she wanted to star in the movie.

”I’ve turned it down for years. I couldn’t see how it would work,” she said. “Now, it seems right.”

Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but why do I read that quote and see, “OK, I’m so far out of the public eye that I’ve got a standing offer for a spot on the Surreal Life, and my bank account is dwindling rapidly – can I please get a paycheque??”

How often do we see these actors, who are desperately clinging to past glories, decide to sell their souls for one more kick at the can. And why do we, as the buying public, allow our pleasant childhood memories to be ruined by actors pillaging their past in search of the almighty dollar?

Ringwald, and her “Where Are They Now?” compatriots always pay lip service to spending time at home, doing theatre, or whatever other occupation they can come up with to justify their time out of the spotlight. But, despite these high-minded pursuits, they’re seemingly always willing to shed their pretentious airs (almost as fast as whatever scraps of dignity they hold on to) the second a shot at the big time comes around again.

And we, the viewers, are left with the empty feeling and tarnished memories.

Whether you liked John Hughes or not, his movie-making prowess cut a rather wide swath over the popular culture scene in the 80s. Beyond the aforementioned Ringwald star vehicles, Hughes brought Ferris Bueller, the Breakfast Club, and Some Kind of Wonderful to the silver screen. His ability in visualizing a common voice for 80’s youth is almost enough to give him a pass for infesting the world with not one, not two, not three, not four – but five, count ‘em, five Beethoven movies. Almost.

But the thought of revisiting Pretty in Pink would seem to signify a career nadir for all involved — after all, those are pretty shallow waters in which to be fishing for inspiration. People who grew up with these movies are generally polarized in their opinions of them. You either loved Molly growing up you didn’t – and I certainly fell into the latter.

However, I AM a child of the ‘80s. In retrospect, those movies – whether I liked them or not – are part of the fabric from which my popular culture reference is woven. And what those movies — and others like them from that time period – stand up on is not outstanding acting, rich writing, or complicated plots, but rather they are propped up by fond memories, nostalgia, and our general romanticizing of our past.

How often have you held a fond remembrance for a show in your heart, only to have its memory tainted upon a viewing several years later? I used to love TV’s The Greatest American Hero and V – until I saw them again recently. The reality couldn’t stand up to my memories, and a part of my youthful enjoyment was lost.

You would think that we’d have come up with a cure for Sequelitis, but we keep getting afflicted with the disease time after time, bad remake after bad remake. Instead of heeding the once-bitten, twice-shy adage, we desperately cling to the hope that this time, truly, Hollywood will be able to recapture the magic.

But it’s an impossible dream. That magic is borne of a combination of our youth, our memories, and the mollifying effect of time. No matter what strides and advances movie making has made over the years, they’ll never be able to harness the power of our memories.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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