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A silhouette of elands grazing in the plains with raising sun in the background inside Mas
  • Writer's pictureBryce Chismire

Valentine's Day Triple Feature - Part 2

All right. NOW here’s the third film that I promised, and one that I’m looking forward to talking about here.

First off, I’m starting to become a fan of John Hughes. His films did in amazing job of telling great stories about high school teenagers and making them, through their personal dilemmas, as relatable as possible.

Second, a quick little fun fact about Hughes before I jump into the movie I’ll be talking about here. When Pretty in Pink was released in 1986, he and director Howard Deutsch, who directed Pretty in Pink, were both dissatisfied with the ending. So they decided to pair up again, take a gamble, and create another high school movie; same plot threads, different characters, and most of all, the same kind of ending they wanted from Pretty in Pink. The final result is Some Kind of Wonderful...and OMG, did the gamble pay off!

This film was an endearing film with a very uplifting message — even though it was not John Hughes’ intent to provide this movie with a ‘message’ message — about the differences between being treated like outcasts and standing your own ground about yourself, and how you should not toss aside your differences in order to blend in with the popular crowd, but rather to be proud of what makes you different from it. This was best exemplified through the three main characters of the movie. There is Keith (Eric Stoltz), a shy young man who was also an aspiring artist. Next, there’s his best friend since elementary school: a drummer/tomboy named Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), who was seen by others as being too boyish to be one of the girls. Finally, there is the popular girl in school, Amanda (Lea Thompson). Well, at least, she TRIED to be one of the popular students in school, and she attempted it by dating the popular guy in school, Hardy. However, this sort of led to her being frowned upon by others for allegedly being as snobbish as Hardy and the rest of the popular crowd, especially by Watts. All it took was Hardy to shamelessly date other girls in addition to Amanda and Keith’s newfound crush on her, and she started her trend of trying to back away from Hardy, which continued after Keith finally told Amanda how he felt about her. There’s only one problem: even though Watts would have wanted what’s best for Keith, she started to realize that she may have had feelings for him, too.

That is what this movie is all about. Of course, in addition to what the main characters represented, the movie also showed us how to not judge a book by its cover. The most obvious example is Hardy. He’s rich, he’s handsome, he’s one of the coolest guys in school...and was also an absolute jerk. There’s also a delinquent in the movie named Duncan. The first time you see him, you’d think he’d also be a jerk and be the school bully of the film. However, the more we see him, the more we’d realize he was a surprisingly decent, humble guy, and he not only became friends with Kieth later on, but he even helped him in some of his pursuits with Amanda.

I would go as far as to say that the book-judging message also applies to the film's narrative. The first time you read about it, you’d think this movie would have ended with Keith getting Amanda. However — and without giving anything away — while it did come with a happy ending, the resolution is more unpredictable than you’d think, and those who have seen Pretty in Pink would figure half of it out right away. Personally, you’d have to see for yourself how it ended for everyone, because it felt perfect and, dare I say it, even a little empowering.

Well, much like The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail, I feel very happy to have seen this movie just in time for Valentine’s Day. While I can’t say that this movie is as spectacular as some of John Hughes’ other such hits as the Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller‘s Day Off, this is definitely one of the strongest, most underrated films under Hughes’ penmanship that I’ve ever seen and it deserves more recognition. What else can I say about it except Some Kind of Wonderful is some kind of wonderful.


Originally published on Facebook, February 13, 2018

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