"Sixteen Candles" captured its time perfectly, as writer and director John Hughes did like no one else ever had before or since. The music, the clothes, the hair, the vernacular, the small details -- all spot on. The other thing "Sixteen Candles" gets right is what's now considered politically incorrect -- the casual racism, possible sexual assault, and general homophobia.
I watched it last night, probably for the 50th time, and I still enjoy it as much as I did when I first saw it -- it's still in my Top 5 of all-time favorite movies. Watching it in 2016 is interesting though -- the racism directed towards the Donger sticks out a bit, Farmer Ted having sex with Caroline and neither of them remembering it is also weird now, and I don't think you could call someone a "fag" in a light teen comedy today.
I checked the "Sixteen Candles" message board on IMDB, just to see if there were any complaints, and IMDB's readers did not disappoint. There were the usual comments you'd expect to find -- people called it out for being racist, sexist, pro-rape, and so on. This movie is antiquated and a slight to a lot of people.
But movies like "Gone With the Wind," Disney's "Song of the South" and "Fantasia," and Shirley Temple's "The Littlest Rebel" are beloved, yet all have certain levels of racism. The bottom line is, we're selective about our tolerance level of racism.
Could a "Sixteen Candles" be made today? Will it (along with other movies of its time), be viewed through a lens of their era?