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, agreed to meet with a friend of a friend — a man interested in the possibility of doing some travel writing. Because even now, almost 30 years after their well-loved movies about the trials of teenhood first mesmerized young audiences, Ringwald and Mc Carthy are still largely frozen in the public eye as they were back then — sensitive young adults in totally awesome duds staring down moodily from the posters on countless teenagers’s bedroom walls.
But the man Bellows met with in an East Village bar wasn’t a recent journalism school grad, or a laid-off newspaper travel section reporter, or even a blogger hoping to make some glossy-magazine scratch. Although there is much to be said for starring in the films that forever changed the outlook of a generation of young people, for portraying characters so beloved that fans dress up as them on Halloween and name their children after them, for Ringwald and Mc Carthy, a fresh creative start seems in order.
Growing up, Ringwald loved reading (Raymond Carver was a favorite), and felt that books helped her navigate the waters of a Tinseltown adolescence.
Although many of the inhabitants of live in and around Los Angeles (Ringwald herself grew up in California, then did stints in France and New York before moving back to the West Coast a few years ago), there is little here having to do with the entertainment industry of which Ringwald has now been a fixture for three decades (she currently stars on the ABC Family show ) — and stays frozen there for 15 years.
And it’s the best movie I’ve ever made.” Ringwald, for one, wasn’t surprised at all: “When I heard that he was really into gardening,” Ringwald told me, “I thought, of course he’d be into gardening, because so am I.” She and Hughes already shared a worldview, a sense of humor, a birthday.
Gardening was just one more thing to add to the list.
Through her elegant, spare prose, Ringwald paints a haunting portrait of characters living, as Thoreau would say, lives of quiet desperation.
There’s Greta’s next-door neighbor, Betty, who, frozen in grief years after her husband’s death, still cooks meals for him regularly.
The story of Peter on the plane ride reminded me a bit of something Ringwald told me about her life in France when I interviewed her for my book: “I felt like I could just sort of walk around [there], and be myself,” she said.
“If I was recognized it was usually by American tourists, and I knew where to go in France to sort of avoid that.
It’s hard not to draw a parallel here to Ringwald, herself perhaps pigeonholed into a certain kind of youthful role for far longer than she would have liked to be.
In one scene, Peter finds himself on a plane ride from New York to Los Angeles, being offered a free upgrade to first class by a group of flight attendants: He posed for a picture with each flight attendant individually, then for a group picture snapped on self-timer with a point-and-shoot camera precariously perched on top of the galley cart.