Are you singing the song right now? I know I am. I love 80s movies (who doesn’t?). Clearly everything I know about boys and love I learned from 80s movies and Judy Blume. It’s quite possible that this is why I’m still single. Lately I’ve been a bit more nostalgic than normal so I thought that I take a trip down memory lane and revisit my top five 80s movie loves and the love lesson I learned from each one.
5. Ronald Miller, Can’t Buy Me Love
An unexpected choice but also an awesome one. I looooove nerdy boys (nerdy boys who also are in bands, specifically drummers, are even better) and Ronald Miller is as nerdy as they come. I dare say he’s King of the Nerds (I think he’s even called that at some point in the movie).
Ronald pays his very popular neighbor, Cindy Mancini, to pretend to be his girlfriend. This results in a super cool makeover featuring vests and hair gel for Ronald, a spot at the cool kids’ table, several moments featuring seriously awkward poetry and Ronald’s eventual shunning and redemption. My favorite part is the fight in the cafeteria at the end of the movie—fake clapping rocks. I also love the dance scene—genius. Ronald learns how to really rock that vest and that’s not a fashion skill that all men can pull off.
Love lesson learned: Be yourself and people will love you.
4. John Bender, The Breakfast Club
Every girl has to fall in love with a bad boy (or two or ten) and Bender is supposed to be that boy but let’s face it, he’s really “bad boy light.” He’s broody, gets in trouble and is slightly mysterious but not dangerous or a total jerk (as many other bad boys are). At the end of the day, Bender is just a messed up kid who needs a hug.
Bender was a safe bad boy—good for pre-teen and teen girls to get a taste of what bad boys are like without getting their hearts broken outright. After Bender, we could all move onto punk rock boys in bands and the troubled poet in our English class. The most badass thing about Bender was that he got her (Claire) and there wasn’t anything she could do about that.
Love lesson learned: You can’t change a bad boy but they are fun to have around.
3. Duckie, Pretty in Pink
The great Steff/Blane debate will probably rage on for all eternity. Frankly, I don’t care for either of them in this movie and know that Andie deserves better. I do love James Spader (particularly in Secretary) and Andrew McCarthy (in Mannequin and bobble head form in Waiting for Guffman) but I just couldn’t see Andie (or myself) with either one of them.
The real deal is Duckie. We should all be so lucky to have a Duckie (seriously, I’m rhyming?). Quirky, funny, loyal—Duckie is the guy we all know we should be with but we ignore because someone else is cooler, richer or cuter (and typically a bigger jerk). Besides being an incredibly snappy dresser and holding his own with the Dice Man, Duckie was a generally nice guy. And he had all the moves (the dance to “Try a Little Tenderness” is classic). I always get a little teary at the end when he calls Andie stunning despite the fact that she’s wearing the most awful dress ever.
Love lesson learned: You always end up with the person you least expect even though they’re the most blatantly obvious person for you. And nice guys don’t finish last. Remember: Duckie found his Duckette at the end.
2. Jake Ryan, Sixteen Candles
The perfect guy and his car—do I have to say anymore? Well, of course I do. Jake Ryan was the ideal: beautiful, thoughtful (introspective about his love life while a party rages on, yes please) and he had the perfect car. In high school, I always had a crush on older guys. Jake Ryan gave me hope that seniors could fall in love with sophomores. Did I also mention that he was super dreamy? “If You Were Here” will always be one of my favorite songs; I almost cried when I heard the cover version in Easy A.
|That's my Jake Ryan t-shirt. I think I'll wear it this weekend.|
The greatest scene in the movie is at the wedding. Samantha goes back into the church to get her sister’s veil and when she comes out to meet her family everyone has left. As the cars pull away, there’s Jake Ryan leaning against his car and “If You Were Here” plays. Samantha doesn’t think he’s there for her but of course he is. The movie ends with their first kiss while they sit on a glass top table right over her birthday cake. Sigh.
Love lesson learned: Older guys are the way to go and always pass notes in class. Oh, and don’t give your underwear to a geek.
1. Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything
It’s been argued that Lloyd Dobler singlehandedly ruined things for guys forever. Chuck Klosterman wrote about it in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs; Hank Stuever wrote about it in The Washington Post. Lots of women admit that they’re looking for Lloyd. He's fun, sweet, vulnerable, unexpected and truly awesome. He plays your song outside your window to win you back. When he gives you his heart and you give him a pen, he cries. He doesn’t want a career where he has to buy, sell or process anything.
At one point in the movie, Lloyd is hanging out with his cool female friends and Corey tells him, “No. The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.” And you know what? Lloyd answers her by being a man. That’s why women love Lloyd and seek him out in their relationships. We don’t want to write 65 songs about you (and play them all tonight)—we just want to hear you play that one song outside our window at the most unexpected time.
Love lesson learned: Opposites attract, there is no such thing as “the perfect guy and his car” (as much as I love Jake Ryan) and having stellar taste in music is a must for any relationship to last.
I know what I'm doing this weekend: I'm going to pop some popcorn and reconnect with my 80s movie boyfriends.