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IMHO: Top 5 Unusual Friendships in ’80s Teen Movies

The new DVD, Dirty Girl, is an homage to 80′s teen films and tells the story of the unusual friendship between a force of nature played by Juno Temple, and an awkward, social outcast played by Jeremy Dozier. After watching the movie, it got me thinking about the films of that era and other unusual teen friendships in 80′s teen movies. Sounded like a way to kick off a new series inspired by Nick Hornby’s seminal novel, High Fidelity. Without further ado, here are the top 5 unusual friendships in 80′s Teen Movies… in my humble opinion.

5. Gary and Karen in The Last American Virgin

Gary (Lawrence Monoson) is an all around good guy who hangs around with Rick (Steve Antin), a ladies man, and David (Joe Rubbo), who fills the heavy set comic relief role so prevalent in early 80′s teen romps. On the surface, The Last American Virgin is the basic story of three guys trying to get laid while some great 80′s music provides the soundtrack. The movie takes a turn when Karen (Diane Franklin) transfers to their high school. Gary quickly falls for her, but she only sees him as a friend. Slick Rick is more her type, which is convenient since he really wants to bang her. After Rick gets Karen pregnant, he promptly dumps her. Who does Karen turn to when she decides to have an abortion? You guessed it, Gary. Because he cares for her so much, Gary scrounges the money to pay for the procedure and then takes care for her while she’s recovering. Often overlooked in the teen film genre, The Last American Virgin may have all of the hallmarks of your typical sex film, but it also shows how complicated and painful friendship is when you’re in high school.

4. Sam and Farmer Ted in Sixteen Candles

John Hughes classic brings together birthday girl, Sam (Molly Ringwald), and Farmer Ted, the king of the geeks (Anthony Michael Hall). Their unusual friendship comes about after she confesses her love for hunky Jake (Michael Schoeffling) and Ted relays info that Jake’s been asking about her. Sam is so ecstatic that she lends the freshman her panties so that he can win a bet for some floppy discs. Ted also becomes Jake’s confidant and for his friendship gets to drive home the prom queen. The hunk and the sweet sixteen girl may wind up together, but it’s Ted who really wins. I mean, a girl’s underwear, a stack of floppys and and sex with a snobby blond? Legendary.

3. Bill and Ted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

What, you think this list can only have the opposite sex? Bill and Ted’s adventure through time is one of the 80′s best bromance pics. While the plot of Ted passing history so he doesn’t get sent to military school so that he can eventually form Wyld Stallyns is the driving force behind the pic, the core of the movie is the unique friendship and love between the two dimwits in the title. Ted completes Bill and vice versa. This is one great friendship, unusual and charming thanks to the performances of Alex Winter and one Keanu Reeves. When you watch the film, keep and eye out for Diane Franklin, from The Last American Virgin, as one of the princesses.

2. Lane and Monique in Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead is director Savage Steve Holland’s bizarro world of clamation hamburgers, snow sniffing weirdos, Howard Cossell loving Korean drag racers and a psychotic newspaper boy. John Cusack is Lane, a heartbroken high school kid whose girlfriend has dumped him for the captain of the ski team. Lane spends half the film trying to kill himself until Monique, a French foreign exchange student who doesn’t speaks English, moves in with his creepy neighbors. Monique is played by (wait for it) Diane Franklin! These two strike up a friendship in which she helps him restore a classic Camaro and also helps him regain his confidence. Cusack is at his goofiest best and Franklin oozes innocence, sexiness and charm. After an insane ski-off in the final act, is it any wonder that Lane and Monique ultimately wind up together in the final frames?

1. Andie and Duckie in Pretty in Pink

What John Hughes touched upon in Sixteen Candles he perfects in Pretty in Pink. Molly Ringwald’s Andie is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for rich kid, Blane (Andrew McCarthy). While she struggles to fit in with all of his snobby friends, she also tries to keep her best friend, a flamboyant young man named Duckie (played with flare by Jon Cryer). Andie and Duckie share the same music, the same sensibilities and I believe they share the same clothes (not confirmed, though). Sure, Duckie pines for her throughout the movie, but we all know that these two are better off as friends. Hughes and the director, Howard Deutch, felt the same way, changing the original ending of Duckie and Andie getting together (they would go back to the original when they made the mirror version of Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful) and gave us the Hollywood moment of Blane and Andie kissing in the parking lot. Works for me. You know the romance won’t last. And when Andie needs a shoulder pad to cry on, she’ll have Duckie. She’ll always have weird, unusual, loving and understanding Duckie, her best friend.




  • Sandy

    Well said! I strongly agree with you about the unusual friendships. If I had to pick, I would’ve gotten the same result as you (:
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  • http://www.bullz-eye.com Anonymous

    Big fan of The Last American Virgin, and Diane Franklin.