Daily Archives: July 2, 2013

The Emerald Forest

The Jones family summer movie viewing continues. My wife and I have been introducing our children, both teenagers, to features we remembered enjoying when we were about their same age.

Some of the movies I enjoyed in the ’80s don’t stand up well. Alright, a lot of them don’t. I remember thinking that Sixteen Candles was hilarious, and when I sat down with the wife and kids to re-watch it there were plenty of moments of humor… until I was suddenly aware how unconscious I’d been about all the sexism. That the love interest, Jake Ryan, passes over his girlfriend to the geeky character played by Anthony Michael Hall to do whatever he likes with is awful. I vaguely recall being uncomfortable with the moment before, but not so much so that I’d remembered it in detail. Now it struck me as incredibly icky. THIS same guy is the one we’re supposed to be pleased Samantha ends up with? I could no longer shrug the moment off and say, “oh, it’s just a comedy, Howard. It’s supposed to be light.” How could any father, brother, or son have written those scenes? Blech.

The Emerald Forest is a very different animal from Sixteen Candles. But it was an ’80s flick, and I’m a lot older, and I wondered if the messages about deforestation I thought subtle would now be like hammers on a gong.