When I was coming of age in the 1980’s two actresses pretty much spoke for my generation. Molly Ringwald was the girl next door who you would bring home to meet your mother while Winona Ryder was the Goth chick who was your buddy and was fun to hang out with. I liked or rather loved them both as they fit into my then duel puberty personality. I wanted to date both of them but kind of figured Molly would blow me off and I would have tons of laughs with Winona as we would have a deep platonic relationship. Who would you pick if you had a chance to date them?
She will forever be linked to the teen films by John Hughes starting with Sixteen Candles in 1984 but I noticed her when she played “Molly” in the first season of “The Facts of Life” on TV in 1979 to 1980. In the Hughes films she played the girl next door in Sixteen Candles, the ultra popular girl in “The Breakfast Club“, and the girl from the wrong side of town in “Pretty in Pink” but I always connected with all of them. Her acting seemed natural and real (Hughes’ dialog helped to be sure). I never thought the characters were the same. I rooted for her in every film but was disappointed she didn’t pick Duckie in Pretty in Pink. Molly was attractive in the films but not fake looking.
My favorite Molly Ringwald film is “Sixteen Candles” (1984). It was the first Ringwald DVD I bought and the one I play the most often.
She and I would be great friends if we met in real life and if her real life was similar to the parts she played on screen. The first time I noticed Winona was in the great film “Lucas” (1986) with Corey Haim and the also great Kerri Green (or and Charlie Sheen too). Winona blew me away as the Goth girl in “Beetlejuice” (1988) and then cemented her place in my film hall-of-fame as Veronica in the epic teen movie “Heathers” (1989). Then she it three for three with me in 1990 with “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael“, “Edward Scissorhands“, and “Mermaids“. The next great role was as Lelaina in “Reality Bites” (1994). Ryder had a great ten years of movie roles.
All of the roles she played in the movies I liked is where she is just playing an average girl. They are shy, some are quirky (very quirky in “Beetlejuice”), and some are just plain janes trying to navigate life like many of us non-popular non-athletic types did.
My favorite Winona Ryder film is “Heathers” (1990) with “Reality Bites” (1994) a close second.
Although Winona has had a bigger career since the 1980’s I still hold a place in my heart for both her and Molly.