Thanks to her work with director John Hughes, Molly Ringwald was one of the most iconic teenagers in film history. The thing that set Ringwald apart was how relatable she was. Yes, her films were fantasy versions of high school: the unpopular girl gets the popular boy (except for The Breakfast Club), overcomes some kind of adversity, and ends up a hero. However, teen girls could see themselves in her shoes. She had the same insecurities, same desires, and in some cases, the same family issues. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we didn’t have Jake Ryan pining away for us. Despite that, she was still the everygirl in the pink dress with a sharp tongue and a desire to succeed.
While her career waned after the 80s, Ringwald’s impact on popular film should not be discounted. She has a role in the upcoming Jem and the Holograms reboot, so hopefully a career resurgence is on the way. Until then, check out these films and decide whether or not she made the right decision at the end of Pretty in Pink. #TeamDucky
Samantha Baker is having a bad day. Her “perfect” older sister is getting married, her weird family is in town, and everyone has forgotten her birthday. Luckily for her, her seemingly unattainable crush, dreamboat Jack Ryan, reciprocates her feelings. Sure, she may make the mistake of giving her underwear to a nerd, but at least Jake is waiting to take her away from it all in the end.
The Breakfast Club
Outside of Dashboard Confessional lyrics, The Breakfast Club may be the best representation of teen angst in pop culture. Since its release in 1985, the classic archetypes of the Princess, the Athlete, the Brain, the Basket Case, and the Criminal have permeated the cultural landscape. Ringwald’s spoiled but sad Claire is a great example of how this film added depth to the stereotypes.
Pretty in Pink
Ringwald played opposite fellow Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy as Andie, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, who falls in love with Blane, country club member and popular prep. Despite Jon Cryer at his most appealing and James Spader at his most villainous (sorry, Ultron) crowding the screen, Ringwald manages to stand out in her iconic pink dress.
The Pick Up Artist
While this movie may not hold up as well as some, no one can deny that the chemistry between Ringwald and a young Robert Downey Jr. is worth a watch. While I will never believe for a minute that a girl like Ringwald would be in debt to the mob, at least they’re cute.
Ringwald keeps this film from going into total after-school-special-mode as Darcy, a pregnant and married teen. Instead of immediately becoming preternaturally wise and selfless at the prospect of motherhood, Darcy is still as spoiled and bratty as any teen. Maybe not the most likable character, but perhaps realistic.
Ringwald and McCarthy reunite, this time for a Serious Film (TM). It’s a better experience if you pretend that it’s Andie and Blane from Pretty in Pink meeting up years later for a torrid affair. Those two were never going to last anyway. Bonus Viggo Mortensen in one of his earliest roles!
Directed by Twitter hero Alan Alda, Ringwald returned to her comedy roots with Betsy’s Wedding. She plays to type as a lovable weirdo with an eccentric, homemade wardrobe who clashes with a family of WASPs.
Not Another Teen Movie
Ringwald’s cameo ties with Chris Evans in a whipped cream bikini as the best moment in this parody film. No one else is more qualified to comment on the ridiculousness of teen movies. F*cking teenagers.