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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why we all wanted to be Molly

I am watching Pretty in Pink for the twenty-something (understatement) time.  Pretty in Pink from 1986 is the seminal outcast movie.  In the movie, Molly plays Andie, a punkish girl from the wrong side of the tracks who spends most of the movie making eyes at a rich button down wearing boy named Blaine while being followed around by a suspender and creeper wearing Duckie (Jon Cryer).  Andie and Duckie epitomize the style of post punk culture.  I remember seeing the movie at the theater.  I still have the unrequited wish of owning a lavender Karmann Ghia.  But, it was more than just her style.  In the movie, Andie takes care of her depressed dad (Harry Dean Stanton) and gets picked on by rich bitches and hangs in the quad with the punks.  She works in a record store with Iona (played by Annie Potts), a Siouxsie Sioux look-a-like.  Plus, Andie was smart, wicked smart.  To me, she was the ultimate smart but still cool chick.

Before Pretty in Pink was Molly's role in Breakfast Club where she played Claire Standish, aka the princess, a girl from the right side of the tracks who falls for a boy named John Bender, aka the criminal (played by Judd Nelson), from the wrong side of the tracks.  In the movie, the character of Claire opens up and evolves from a superficial popular girl to an empathetic teen girl who just wants to be loved.  This role was a risk for Molly who was originally cast to play Allison, aka the basket case (played by Ally Sheedy) but Molly brings a warmth and humanity to the princess role that is undeniable.  

And of course, before both of those movies was Sixteen Candles, the ultimate 80's movie and Molly's breakout role. In the film, Molly plays Samantha Baker (aka Sam or "Sammy Davis Baker Junior") whose entire family forgets her birthday.  I wanted to be Molly from the moment I saw this movie.  The scene on the bus with Anthony Michael Hall as Farmer Ted is classic.  The part where her grandmother feels her up ("I can't believe my grandmother actually felt me up") is hysterical and the climax is Sam getting the love from Jake Ryan.  It all starts with a note from her best friend asking Sam, aka Molly, who she would sleep with.  She names Jake Ryan, the ultimate hot and popular guy (and a Matt Dillon lookalike to boot)  Jake gets her response by using his foot to slide the note toward him when the best friend falls asleep on her desk.  Later, they meet eyes at a school dance but Farmer Ted intercedes and sabotoges them by approaching Sam with crazy dance moves.  After some comic twists and turns, Jake shows up at the wedding where Sam is a bridesmaid (her sister is marrying a guy who is referred to as an oily beau hunk). In the end, it is clear that Jake loved her all along.

We all still love Molly.  Molly is who we all wanted to be.  A girl with an edge.  A girl who bucked the expectations others put upon her.  In Sixteen Candles, no one (not even her best friend) thinks she is good enough for Jake to date.  In Breakfast Club, Claire decides to love the so called stoner loser despite what will surely be the dismay of the cool crowd.  In Pretty in Pink, Andie is the ultimate outcast and chooses love with Blaine even though he is a rich kid (although I pine for the original ending where she chooses Duckie).

And, in the end, that is why we love Molly because, at least for me, she is every girl.

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