The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles—arguably three of the best teen movies of the genre, in the ’80s at least.
Molly Ringwald, the star of all three, remains a teen icon to this day.
Now aged 53 and a mom to teenagers herself, the John Hughes muse knows a thing or two about the genre of teen movies.
“One would think that I would have some special insight into being a teenager after having been one of the most famous teenagers ever and I find that I’m really sort of in the weeds along with every other parent,” Ringwald laughed in an interview with Newsweek.
“You know, when I was a teenager so much was different. All of the issues that we had to contend with—the bullying, the insecurity, high school—all of that that hasn’t changed, but what has changed, obviously is the internet,” Ringwald said.
“The fact that kids have to deal with all of that stuff 24/7, and the stresses of the climate and all of that so I really do think that, that it’s harder to be a teenager now.”
But as a teen icon, what modern teen movie does Ringwald think nailed it?
The answer is Eighth Grade, the 2018 teen drama written and directed by Bo Burnham.
“I think my favorite teen movie of all time is probably Eighth Grade, the Bo Burnham movie with Elsie Fisher,” Ringwald revealed.
“I think that to me was that sort of captured the spirit of the movies that I did with John Hughes.”
Ringwald says that the movie “seemed the most true to life in terms of what teams are going through today with the pressures of social media.”
She added: “It’s funny and it’s moving and I think that that’s probably my favorite.”
Ringwald also starred in the beloved Netflix trilogy The Kissing Booth and she says that playing a mom was different but a lot of fun.
“It was a completely different experience and it was a lot of fun to make those movies,” she said. “It was really very low pressure for me because I was basically the mom character—the sort of ‘teen Buddha’ if you will.”
As for her own movies, Ringwald still holds a deep affection for them and to this day, still loves the first 20 minutes of The Breakfast Club.
“I think the first 20 minutes of The Breakfast Club is one of the best openings really of any movie of all time,” she said.
Ringwald is now an advocate for National Meningitis Association and The 16 Vaccine campaign, which urges teens and their parents to get the second of two bacterial meningitis vaccine shots.
“We want to do everything we possibly can to help protect our kids,” she said of the campaign.
“So I’m trying to encourage parents to talk to their teens’ doctor, not just about the meningitis vaccine but also about other adolescent vaccines to make sure that their kids are up to date on all the vaccinations that they should have.”
She added: “I have 12-year-old twins and 17-year-old daughters so it’s something that, that I think about a lot. As a parent, you really want to do everything you possibly can to help protect your kids.”
Parents can visit The16Vaccine.org to learn more about meningococcal disease and prevention, hear firsthand stories from survivors and advocates, and access educational resources.