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This funny, unpretentious film marked writer John Hughes's first time out as a director. The premise is ordinary, but the film is distinguished by funny gags and excellent performances by Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. Samantha (Ringwald) is a high-school sophomore about to turn
16, and her life is dominated by her love for Jake (Michael Schoeffling), a senior and the school heartthrob. In turn, she is followed around by Ted (Hall), a younger boy who is acknowledged to be a nerd. Nothing seems to be going right for Samantha. Her older sister is about to be married, and
her parents are overlooking Samantha's birthday, a major moment in her young life. Her grandparents move into her room, and her relationship with her smart-alecky brother (Justin Henry) gets tense. Simultaneously, Samantha has to be kind and caring to Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), a loony but
sweet Japanese exchange student staying at her home. The situations are predictable, but Hughes saves them from being cliches with his attention to detail. Hall and Ringwald became part of the Hollywood "Brat Pack" with this film, and Hughes emerged as a hot director.