Review 378: Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
I’m a fan of a lot of the teenage John Hughes films like Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles. Some Kind of Wonderful, directed by Howard Deutch, is one I’d missed for a while. My wife and Michael Sanchez both recommended this film so I finally got around to it. It’s kind of an inverted Pretty in Pink accept Watts is cooler than Ducky. I give Some Kind of Wonderful the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Keith (Eric Stoltz) gets a date with Amanda (Lea Thompson), a girl he’s had a crush on for a while, after she breaks up with her jerk of a boyfriend. Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is a tomboy and Keith’s best friend, but after he gets his date Watts realizes she has feelings for him.
Watts is the coolest character in the film. The opening sequence feels like a music video as it cuts back to Watts on the drums. She is playing the song that is in the background of the rest of the scenes. She’s much cooler than her Pretty in Pink counterpart Ducky. Ducky is playing more of a off beat nerd where Watts is a tough tomboy with a punk edge. She is struggling to deal with her feeling for Keith and maintaining her independence. She tries to be the good best friend and it’s tough to watch her suffer.
Lea Thompson’s character, Amanda, is a girl who has managed to move up her social ranking. Her boyfriend, Hardy (Craig Sheffer), is clearly cheating on her, but she tolerates it for a while. He is her ticket to the cool groups and lets her be above her station. It’s an interesting take as Keith is seeing reaching up when asking out Amanda, but really they’re equals. Amanda has a hard choice to make between a nice guy like Keith or a jerk like Hardy as her life will be impacted majorly.
It’s an normal kind of love story
Keith knows that her agreeing to date him is likely to get back at Hardy or to play a cruel joke on him. He has Watts, but, to be fair to Keith, Watts has never expressed an interest in him like that. It starts to become clear to him and he feels the date with Amanda is necessary. A way of standing up to all the jerks at high school. It’s an interesting approach, but I like how it all plays out.
The movie isn’t perfect, but I found it very enjoyable. I don’t think Keith is as compelling of a character as Molly Ringwald’s is in Pretty in Pink. That’s probably what’s keeping this from being a frequently referenced Hughes film. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of his other teenage rites of passage films you’ll likely enjoy this one too.