Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sweet 16 - Additional piece

 Parts of California really look quite similar to Texas because I was for sure Sweet 16 (1983) was set in some rural desert town where a sweet sixteen birthday party draws quite a crowd, since high school football and the local watering hole seem like the few gathering places for folks to congregate for live entertainment. I was sold hook, line, and sinker that this film was shot in Texas. When I went and researched a bit, I was shocked it was instead shot in California. If you need a sheriff who looks the part, Bo Hopkins is your man. His style seems fitting for such a sheriff, a hands-on, no-nonsense, no-bullshit kind of lawman who goes out an investigates, with an aggressive approach to his mayor (Pataki), not in the mood for a volatile Stroud and his tagalong buddy, nor any racism nonsense towards the Greyfeathers, Native Americans badly looked upon by some in town. The nudity of Shirley, portrayed as fifteen but treated as much older, still is too icky. I get she was older, but Shirley looked young enough to be a minor so I fast forwarded to get to the plot. The cast in this remains such a conversation piece for Sweet 16. Besides Hopkins and Shroud, there is future Michael Myers, Don Shanks as a prime suspect, Patrick Macnee as Shirley's visiting archeologist father, Susan Strasberg as Shirley's mother, Pataki as the easily emasculated mayor who has a past with Strasberg, Sharon Farrell as the coroner office employee with info Hopkins needs (yearning and desiring Hopkins clearly badly), with Kimmel (Friday the 13th Part 3) and Antin (The Goonies) as Hopkins' curious kids; this is quite a list of names you'd think credits on a poster could capitalize on. But I hadn't ever heard of it until the mid 2000s when the film gained attention on the IMDb Horror Message Board amidst a Code Red release.

 I actually like Kimmel quite a bit in this film and her amateur detective lingo is amusing. Hopkins and his chemistry with Kimmel and Antin just seemed so natural...I appreciated that. As a rural slasher I'm on the fence. I love Hopkins and his easy, laid-back style helped leaps and bounds. Nothing against Shirley, but the film really was grooming her as a big deal, complete with her own sappy softpop song, and Kimmel just leapfrogs her easily in terms of personality and appeal.

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