Several of John Hughes films can be linked to nerdness in some fashion, and Sixteen Candles is one of those.
Sixteen Candles is about a girl (arguably a bit nerdy in her own right) who turns 16 in the midst of her sister’s big wedding. Her family forgets, of course, and she is left to suffer her misery with a geek stalker a a weird asian foreign exchange student.
Anthony Michael Hall might play more of a geek than a nerd, but he definitely has nerd friends, so for now he is considered a nerd with social skills.
Sixteen Candles has one of the great one liners ever spoken by a nerd in a movie: “No more yanky my wanky, Donger need food!”
Why Scrooged is the perfect Christmas movie
Why Scrooged is, and always will be, the best Christmas film
Every year watching Scrooged makes it finally feel like Christmas for me, even more so than having to lug a massive tree into the house only to have the dog wee on it.
For those of you who don’t already know; Scrooged sees Bill Murray play Frank Cross. Frank is the career obsessed head of a TV station. As Scrooged is an 80’s retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol you will be unsurprised to learn that Frank is visited by four ghosts (Marley plus the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future).
Throughout Frank’s journey to accepting Christmas he shows attitudes towards the holiday season that we all occasionally share. Below I’m going to take you through the stages of Frank’s growth and show how they reflect how our own outlook towards Christmas changes throughout the season.
Stage 1: the adverts wear us down
One of Frank’s establishing moments has him terrify his heads of department before showing them his advert for the station’s Christmas Special. The advert is a hilariously over the top use of fear to sell a Christmas show. For those of you who haven’t seen (or can’t remember) the advert, here it is:
Okay, that’s ridiculous, but now look at this John Lewis Christmas advert:
That penguin may be cute, but the toy version of it costs £95. Just as Frank Cross’s advert uses fear to manipulate people, the John Lewis advert utilises mawkish sentimentality to put pressure on parents to buy their kids a grossly overpriced cuddly toy. I’m sure most of us get a little tired of the way companies are rewarded for being manipulative, and it’s great to see their attitude towards Christmas skewered in a film.
Frank’s commercial outlook to the holiday has robbed him of the warmth necessary to make life enjoyable. These adverts can also take away some of our Christmas spirit. It’s like an accountant has rummaged through your favourite Christmas memories and put a little price tag on all the toys.
Stage 2: resenting the effort you’re expected to put in
Frank Cross is a bastard at the start of Scrooged, in fact he’s a bastard for most of Scrooged. This is made clear by his actions, which include:
- Firing a guy on Christmas Eve
- Suggesting stapling antlers to a mouse’s head
- Shouting at volunteers working in a homeless centre
- Making no time for his family
The sad thing is most of us can empathise with him a little more than we would like to admit. Sure, Christmas is a great time but the run up to it can be horrible. We work longer hours so that we can relax when we get home. We have to fight through crowds to get Christmas presents, all the while surrounded by sick people who are coughing and sneezing everywhere.So when Frank rejects Christmas our laughs are tinged with guilt as we see more of ourselves in Frank than we would like to admit.
Stage 3: we begin to notice the less fortunate (finally)
Scrooged shows people getting fired, some unhappy homes, mental illness and a homeless man dying alone. Gritty material for a Christmas movie.
This is important because this time of year is a tough time for many people, even if most of us are too focussed on ourselves to notice. Seriously, read the dross I wrote above about having to work late and buying presents. What sort of clown thinks that’s an issue when every day he walks past homeless people in one of the richest countries in the world?
My only saving grace is that I’m not the only self-centred person at Christmas. A lot of us find it too easy to forget how hard others have it at this time of year.
This is shown in Scrooged when Frank finds a homeless man who has frozen to death. One of Frank’s first reactions is actually to get angry with the guy for not getting himself somewhere warm. This may seem harsh but I’m sure many people feel momentary flashes of anger when someone’s unhappiness intrudes on their Christmas. It’s the part of you which wants to tell homeless people to get a job, as if the guy mumbling into his can of Special Brew at 9am is going to interview particularly well. After all, it is easier to feel condescending anger than it is to feel guilt about how little we do for the less fortunate.
Like Frank, who gradually notices the suffering of others, we will at some point feel pangs of guilt when we realise how selfish we have been thinking about our own non-problems when countless others are having a tough time all around us.
Stage 4: we wonder if we can be better
That Scrooged confronts the darker side of Christmas and does it without being preachy is impressive. It also makes an otherwise saccharine ending much more palatable. Sure, there are some Christmas miracle clichés involved but Frank’s key realisation is one we all have every Christmas (or at least after we’ve had a few drinks).
This realisation is that it’s not too late to become the people we want to be. The type of people who spend enough time with their families, who are more positive in their outlook, who think about others and do their best to help the less fortunate. Ultimately it’s hard to argue with the point that if we started acting how we know we should act then perhaps the world would be in a better state by next Christmas.
The video below links to that scene, so obviously it’s a bit of a spoiler. That said, if you don’t know how a Christmas Carol ends then you should be reading things other than this odd little post.
As a normal film, it gets 4/5 stars but as a Christmas movie it gets 5/5 (obviously). Scrooged is available on Netflix and Stranger Views is full of Netflix film reviews. . You can find all of our movie reviews and posts here. If you don’t have Netflix, get it from Amazon.
Thanks for reading this post, and if you’d like to tell me where I’ve gone wrong or how I should stop reading so much into comedies the comments section is below.
This will be my last post on Stranger Views before Christmas and I just wanted to express my gratitude to all of you who have taken the time to visit the site, read our stuff and occasionally even commented and shared it. So thanks to you, and have a great Christmas.
Strictly Business (1991) Movie Review
Movie Nerd Rating:
I am getting behind in work, and thus the movie reviews are falling behind. But I saw a good opportunity for a quick review.
While cruising through Netflix’s View Instantly, I noticed a good and highly underrated movie from the early 1990s, Strictly Business. It’s a cheesy romantic comedy about young upwardly mobile blacks who make it big by adapting in the white world of business. More than anything, it is a great movie in the early acting careers of Halle Berry, Tommy Davidson and Joseph C. Phillips.
The main character, Waymon Tisdale, is a businessman that falls for a hot hostess, Natalie (Halle) while trying to rise to the next level in corporate America. His friend Bobby (Tommy) helps him get ahead and get the girl.
Halle Berry is flipping SEXY in this movie. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind watching it despite its 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a good 90s flick, give it a shot some day when you are home sick from work.
It even has Samuel L. Jackson in it!
Top Quotes from Revenge of the Nerds
Revenge of the Nerds is hands-down the best nerd movie ever made. It tells the epic saga of the battle between Jock versus Nerd. It is one of the landmark tits and ass films of the 80s, and full of ridiculous quotes that will make you tear from laughter.
When two nerds, Gilbert and Lewis, head off to their freshman year at Adams College, they don’t realize the taunting they will endure at the hands of the jocks of Alpha Beta fraternity. The jocks accidentally burn down their house and are forced to toss the freshmen out of the dorm.
The nerds soon realize they must form their own fraternity in self-defense, and in an effort to find housing. Soon, the nerds begin to exact revenge on the jocks with high-tech warfare. Hilarity follows in the form of several very memorable quotes.
Booger: Big deal! Did you get in her pants?
Gibert: She’s not that kind of girl, Booger.
Booger: Why? Does she have a penis?
Lewis: Jocks only think about sports, nerds only think about sex.
Takashi: I think I’ve got a frush.
Booger: What the fuck’s a frush?
Takashi: Maybe we should have robster craws.
Booger: What the fuck are robster craws?
Booger: I say we blow the fuckers up.
Booger: Step aside momma, I wanna see some of that muff!
Booger: I thought I was looking at my mother’s old douche-bag, but that’s in Ohio.
Coach Harris: You just got your asses whipped by a bunch of goddamn nerds.
Gibert: No one will really be free until nerd persecution ends.