This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Cara of Silver Screen Serenade. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Cara! She’s going to tell us what she thought of Some Kind Of Wonderful. 🙂
Just wanted to quickly say thanks to Table 9 Mutant for being so awesome as to pull this blogathon together! It was a great idea, and I’m thrilled to be taking part. Also, T9M, thanks for pretty much picking my movie for me. I suck at decisions. Lol. Anyway, review time!
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Directed by Howard Deutch
Mary Stuart Masterson
Music by Stephen Hague & John Musser
Running time: 95 minutes
Plot synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is set against the strict social hierarchy of an American public high school. The tomboyish Watts (Masterson) has always considered working class misfit Keith Nelson (Stoltz) her best friend. But when Keith asks out the most popular girl in school, Amanda Jones (Thompson), Watts realizes she feels something much deeper for him.
• The cool, very 1980s opening. Dramatic music! Drums! Fixing cars! Teenagers making out! Yeah this film is DOIN’ STUFF!
• Dreamy Eric Stoltz. Those blue eyes and that ginger hair…YEP.
• Elias Koteas as the film’s tough guy. He doesn’t have a huge role in this, but he’s still pretty awesome as Keith’s bully-turned-buddy, Duncan. I could see why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wanted him to play Casey Jones a few years later.
• Mary Stuart Masterson as tomboy Watts. She plays tough yet insecure very well, and she’s got some great lines in this. For example, when Watts and Keith are talking about Amanda—Keith: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Watts: “Yeah, but you can tell how much it’s gonna cost.” You tell ‘im, sassy lady.
• Keith and Watts’ relationship. Stoltz and Masterson portray their chemistry well, and their dialogue is fun and natural.
• The detention scenes. Particularly one in which Keith and Duncan show each other their respective “artwork.” Very funny.
• Watts’ speech confessing to Keith how much he means to her. It could’ve easily come off as corny, but it’s actually one of the best moments of the film.
• Amanda is not a flat character. It’s easy to make the popular girl into a generic villain, but you actually end up admiring her by the end up the film. She has to deal with some stuff, and she grows from it.
• Duncan and co. showing up at the end of the film. Awesome. Just awesome.
• Keith is VERY stalkery with Amanda. I realize he’s got a serious case of puppy love, but he goes too far. He always seems to know where she is, and we only ever see him drawing/painting her. Plus, when he finally takes her out on a date, he blows almost all of his money on too much too soon. Woah, boy. Rein it in. You’re making this borderline horror flick sometimes.
• Is it just me or is the “pushy father who doesn’t listen” a recurring character in John Hughes movies? I’ve encountered him in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I’ve heard tales of him in The Breakfast Club, and now here he is again in the form of Keith’s father. We get it, John—1980s teen boys had daddy issues.
• Amanda’s boyfriend, Hardy. Played by Craig Sheffer, Hardy just didn’t seem like a real person to me. He’s over the top in almost every way. I’m not buying it.
• There’s a scene where Amanda flirts with an older teacher to get out of detention. First of all, ew. Second, there is no way that would ever happen. Ever. Unless the teacher was a secret perv, and that’s getting into a can of worms too dark for a lighthearted teen movie.
• The resolution is too easy and not presented in a completely satisfying way. It’s too hard to talk about this vaguely, so SPOILERS: Yes, Keith ends up with Watts, and, yes, that’s what everybody watching wants. However, Keith had zero romantic interest in Watts (even after a steamy kiss), and all of the sudden his crush on her just kind of smacks him in the face in the last five minutes of the film, leaving poor Amanda high and dry. Plus, Keith and Watts barely get to talk about their feelings, and you don’t really get to see them as a couple. END SPOILERS.
• Random, but why is this film called “Some Kind of Wonderful?” I kept waiting for them to play the song or reference something to do with it, but I don’t think that ever happened…
This film is fun! It might not be as original as The Breakfast Club or as funny as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it definitely has that John Hughes style to it so many know and love so well. As far as teen romantic comedies go, you could do far worse.
My Rating: 7.5/10 (Probably a B+ or so on my rating system)