Moviegeek5: Young Anthony Michael Hall
When you think about the teen movies of the 1980s, it is hard not to think about Anthony Michael Hall simultaneously. The lovable geek who manage to portray the genre character without the typical stereotyping but instead gave is characters heart and humanity. He starred in three movies of the King of 1980s teen comedy, John Hughes, before seeking towards TV to avoid forever being cast as the dweebish kid but in recent years he has starred in some high profile movies like War Machine (2017) and The Dark Knight (2008). This year he turns 50 and to celebrate him, we have put together a list of five movies from the time we got to know Anthony Michael Hall.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Hall’s breakthrough role was as Rusty, the son in the hard-tested Griswold family led by Chevy Chase. The highly popular road movie saw Hall beginning his turn as the world’s favourite nerd, as Rust, braces and all, bonds with his clumsy dad on the family vacation from hell. The movie spawned several sequels, but Hall never returned to his role as Rusty Griswold. In fact, a new actor was cast for each and every movie.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Hall’s first movie with John Hughes was this romantic comedy, starring another muse of the director: Molly Ringwald. Here Hall truly found basis for his popularity playing the kind-hearted but goofy nerd merely named Geek in the credits. Lusting after Ringwald’s character while functioning as a kind of King of the nerds, Hall manage to steer his character away from the usual nerd stereotypes and made him someone we wanted to hang out with. Hughes has said that Hall often was cast in character based on himself in that age.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The movie considered by many to be the finest example of a teenage movie, saw Hall return to playing a nerd in the careful hands of John Hughes. Halls’ Brian is the brain of the group under high pressure from high expecting parents and is somehow the glue that connects the group in the end. Warm and touching, the movie also showcases one of Hall’s finest performances and is one he will forever be remembered for.
Weird Science (1985)
With Hughes sci-fi comedy Hall finally got to take a starring position as the lovable geek creating the perfect woman with the help of his best friend, played by Ilan Mitchell-Smith, brains and a little luck. The result is the beautiful Kelly LeBrock and the craziness that follows her. The movie is a slightly different style than Hughes’s other movies, more slapstick comedy, and even though it therefore isn’t considered the masterpiece and zeitgeist pieces the others are, it has developed into becoming somewhat of a Cult classic.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Deciding to move away from being typecasted as the lovable geek, Hall took a U-turn and played the mean boyfriend of Winona Ryder in Tom Burton’s fantasy film. For once he was the bully instead of the geek. So different is his persona, that he is almost unrecognizable, which just proves that Hall was right, he had more than lovable geek to offer.