By Mike Hammer
The art of love is a delicate thing. That’s why we take our cues from the experts. We’re talking about the classic big-screen, teen-steam machines … like Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer, and the Pepé Le Pew of the pubescent scene, Kevin Bacon!
Yes, these high school anti-studs, who somehow bumbled their way into the hearts of some of the finest teen babes from The Breakfast Club to the Joel Goodson bordello, offer a fine road map to finding romance -- even if you’ve already made that wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Here, some of the key lessons you need to study to score an “A” in Love 101 … or just to score.
Sex education: You may not be in the cool clique, but if you dance (like a man), baby, and stay true to thyself, you’ll step right into her heart forever!
Big-city Kevin Bacon might as well be ET when he crash-lands in a one-plow town where American civil liberties apparently don’t apply. No music! No parties! No dancing! Hell, no freakin’ Flock of Seagulls! So when the moussed-up, future Mr. Sedgwick shows up in shrink-wrapped jeans and a ripped-up sweatshirt, he executes a foolproof plan to dance his way into the heart of the hottest girl in town (Lori Singer), defeat her fire-and-brimstone-preaching pop (a dance denouncer) and bring joy to the masses in the process. But once Bacon kicks off his Sunday shoes, the town loses its oppressive laws, Pop loses his religion and Lori Singer chucks her virtue into the bargain. The lesson here: You gotta be you … unless you happen to be Kevin Bacon -- he’s stuck with being him. If you have confidence to let your freak flag fly, women will know you’re the real deal.
Weird Science (1985)
Sex education: You can manufacture confidence, and when you do, it’ll bring you action.
It would take a miraculous scientific breakthrough for super nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Illan Mitchell-Smith) to get a girl to notice them … so they plug a program into their SUV-sized computer and … Oingo Boingo! Say hello to the hottest digital development until the iPod: virtual vixen Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). Her mere presence alongside Gary and Wyatt makes these guys the coolest kids in school and the high schoolers with the hottest chicks. But it was more than just the virtual girl that got them action; it was the real confidence she gave them to prove that geeks can get freaky with the best of them. So remember: You don’t have to be cool to draw some heat … just gotta act it.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Sex education: If you’re a good friend, you’ll get a girl -- it just might not be the girl.
Money-challenged Andie (Molly Ringwald) is in love with richie-rich Blaine (Andrew McCarthy). But Blaine’s snobby buddy, Steff (James Spader), wants him to dump her for someone more appropriate to his social set. But even more tragic is that Andie’s Salvation Army-styled best friend, Ducky (Jon Cryer), who’s hopelessly in love with her, has to convince Blaine that she’s worth more than all his friends combined. Sadly, he’s successful and Blaine blows off the snobs for Ducky’s dream doll. But wait! Ducky then gets plucked from the prom crowd by smokin’ hot, future vampire slayer Kristy Swanson … who admires his character! The lesson here? Friendship and loyalty lead to love -- at least for Jon Cryer, who gets action that’s way over his head. So be nice, kids -- clearly it pays off!
Risky Business (1983)
Sex education: Put yourself at risk for a chick, and you can melt her heart.
Joel is a good kid with hydrogen-fueled hormones. He’s working to get on Princeton’s short list, but he’s no genius with the ladies (which is kinda weird since he looks suspiciously like Tom freakin’ Cruise). So when his friends dial up a not-quite-lady of the evening, who directs him to a sweetie with more up top and less between the legs … it’s unlikely love at first credit card swipe with superhot Lana (Rebecca De Mornay). And while Joel looks like an easy mark, his selfless efforts to save her from her somewhat menacing pimp (we actually think L. Ron Hubbard is scarier than Joe Pantoliano) cause her to fall head over hooker heels for him. Also? He gets into Princeton! Remember, though: Paying for sex never pays off … unless, you know, you’re Tom Cruise and you’re in a movie that says it does.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sex education: Clichés can date outside their own species.
Wondering what happens when you gather a jock, a geek, a thug, a princess and a freak in the same room for detention? To find out, you must first find some actors who are at least eight years out of high school to play them. (Hello, Judd Nelson! How’s the AARP treating you?) Then, despite the fact that they all hate everything the others stand for … they’ll just open up to each other like they never have to even their closest friends or parish priests. Once they discover they’re all just struggling, decent kids underneath their choreographed exteriors, they’ll mate like bunnies in a breeding farm -- except for the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), of course -- he’s got a girlfriend in Canada! So don’t despair! Remember there’s someone out there for anybody -- as long as you’re willing to ditch your own adorable, antisocial persona … and you’re into the ‘80s band Tears for Fears.
Mike Hammer is a writer and former editor of Maxim, Stuff and Shock. Every night before bed, Mike prays that John Hughes will make another movie.
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