Challenge Week 50: Some Kind of Wonderful

Teen/coming-of-age/1980s movies are often a hard sell for me, but John Hughes-penned ones have a bit of heart and tenderness that hit me in the right place, so I was hoping Some Kind of Wonderful, one of the few I’d missed up to this point, would fit the bill as well, and it pretty much did. I’m also one of the people who think Pretty in Pink would’ve been better if she’d ended up with Duckie, so if you’ve seen both films, you may guess how I felt about this one on that front.

Keith (Eric Stoltz) is a high school kid who cares more about art than college, and is kind of on the lower rung of the ladder at school in terms of social class – his family is working class, and he envies the more well-off kids from white-collar families. He’s best friends with a tomboyish girl, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), but has eyes for Amanda (Lea Thompson), who runs with the posh crowd. Yes, this is turning into a love triangle.

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This movie is almost aggressively ’80s in terms of fashion and music, which is great if you like the ’80s. I’m not a HUGE fan, but after the credit sequence (possibly the worst part) I got more into the groove and ended up enjoying the soundtrack quite a bit, and the music at the end is pretty perfect. I didn’t totally buy his realization of who he really loved (the little flashbacks seemed placed as much to convince him as us), but it’s the ending I wanted, so I went with it.

Stoltz is fine but a little flat in the lead role – I found myself drifting away occasionally whenever Watts wasn’t on screen, because Mary Stuart Masterson is the real magnetic one here. Thompson, who’s supposed to be the center of attention for the whole school, basically, pales in comparison. I also wished a little more nuance had been paid to the college/no-college quandry, if they were going to bring it up at all – as it is, it feels like a throwaway plot point.

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Stats and stuff…

1987, USA
directed by Howard Deutch, written by John Hughes
starring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson

I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how Some Kind of Wonderful entered my chart:

Some Kind of Wonderful > The Good Shepherd
Some Kind of Wonderful < The Machinist
Some Kind of Wonderful > The Three Caballeros
Some Kind of Wonderful < The Thief of Bagdad
Some Kind of Wonderful < Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
Some Kind of Wonderful > Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)
Some Kind of Wonderful > Umberto D
Some Kind of Wonderful < Junior Bonner
Some Kind of Wonderful > On the Waterfront
Some Kind of Wonderful > Design for Living
Some Kind of Wonderful > Splice

Final #1300 out of 3738 (65%)

It is now my #1 Howard Deutch film, my #3 Eric Stoltz film, my #1 Mary Stuart Masterson film, my #16 Teen Movie, my #52 Coming-of-Age Movie, and my #9 film of 1987.

Some Kind of Wonderful was recommended by my cousin Kevin.

A Few More Screenshots…

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