Pretty In Pink (1986) Review

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Pretty In Pink (1986) by Me! Cinema Parrot Disco finally wrote another review for this blogathon!

Directed by Howard Deutch

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Harry Dean Stanton
Jon Cryer
Annie Potts
James Spader
Andrew McCarthy
Kate Vernon
Andrew Dice Clay
Kristy Swanson
Alexa Kenin
Dweezil Zappa
Gina Gershon

Plot Synopsis:
Romeo And Juliet. With 80’s Hipsters.

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My Opinion:

You all know I love my John Hughes teen films but I’ve never loved Pretty In Pink QUITE to the same degree as The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles (my review for that HERE). I re-watched this a few days ago for the first time in years to see if my opinion would change. It didn’t, really, but I still appreciate two of the best characters that John Hughes created (Jon Cryer’s Duckie & Annie Potts’ Iona). And, as usual, some classic quotable lines that Hughes always did so well.

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I think the main problem is that I never could fully relate to these characters. The main theme here, “rich vs poor”, isn’t something I really experienced in my extremely tiny Midwest American town. The (three!) families in town who had a bit of money still weren’t exactly rich by big city standards. High school popularity was based, mainly, on things like being good at sports. And I suppose sluttiness. So… I really had no chance at popularity either way. 😉

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As for the “original hipster” look of Andie & Duckie’s clothes… Again, I couldn’t relate. I’d like to say I had the balls to dress like that back in high school (well, except for her ugly ass prom dress at the end) but dressing like that in my little farming community would have made me an outcast. Individuality wasn’t considered a good thing! For today’s teenagers, however, I’d want them to watch something like Pretty In Pink & realize that being a “Duckie” really is the way to be. Don’t conform, teeny boppers! Did I just say teeny boppers?? God I’m old…

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Molly Ringwald is okay here, even if I can’t fully relate to her. If I had to choose the Hughes Ringwald character I was most like as a teen, it would be the socially awkward Samantha in Sixteen Candles. But at least in this one she’s possibly the strongest character in that she does stand up a bit to the rich bitches (but still gets too silly over a boy). And she’s not an annoying popular snob like in The Breakfast Club (who can relate to that??). But, as mentioned before, it’s Duckie & Iona who really make this a better film overall. Unfortunately, for me, the biggest thing that doesn’t work in Pretty In Pink is the romance.

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I mean… Andrew McCarthy?? Reaaaaaally? I’ve never understood having a thing for him. Give me Jake Ryan any day! Plus Ringwald & McCarthy just have zero chemistry here. Unlike with Duckie. So… Okay – everyone knows the ending to this but I still feel like I shouldn’t come right out & say it. But I think it’s pretty widely known that most people weren’t happy with the ending. Well, that’s why Hughes went on to make (the Pretty In Pink remake, basically) Some Kind Of Wonderful which I think isn’t quite as good of a film but I still prefer in many ways. I’ll review that next week. As for Pretty In Pink, I do still like it A LOT as it’s typical of the Hughes way of writing that I loved so much but the overall story & the romance just don’t quite speak to me in the way they did in his other teen films. Oh, and great use of things like New Order. As always, John Hughes knew how to choose the right music for his movies!

My Rating: 8/10

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31 thoughts on “Pretty In Pink (1986) Review

  1. LOL – I don’t know how this ends!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Those two people in your first picture look like a couple of douches I would have hated in high school….

  2. I know several women who would have taken Spader’s mean, nasty, rich snob over McCarthy any day of the week. I saw this when I was a teenager in Dublin: like you, I had difficulty relating to it, but for slightly different reasons. I didn’t know any girls who dressed like Molly Ringwald at all, so she was for me a bit of a weirdo. of course, i didn’t know many girls, but that’s beside the point 🙂 More importantly, and to this day this still jars for me: i couldn’t understand how she should be considered poor. After all, she has a car! And for me, in Dublin in 1986, the idea that a high school kid could drive a car and still be termed ‘poor’ just didn’t gel (i didn’t know any teenagers that drove their own car). I haven’t seen it since, and would not be in a rush to watch it again, but I share your affection for the Duckman (I think a lot of socially akward teenage boys projected themselves on to him). Cocky little pricks thought they were Ferris Bueller, of course. Plus I had a bit of a crush on the girl from the record shop (who is that actress?)

    • Annie Potts. ; )

      You sound like my British hubby with the whole “she isn’t poor” thing. He was arguing with me about it the other night. Yeah… I admit that having a car in the “John Hughes 80’s Midwestern American teen” world wasn’t rare and, yes, Ringwald’s character would have been considered poor in that world. Just not to the rest of the world which, I suppose, makes his movies more popular in America than elsewhere. I assume. : ) And, ugh – BIG no to James Spader! Blech. ; )

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  4. Omg I love Andrew McCarthy in this. Him, circa 1986….totally my dream man (with the exception of my husband). To me class war bullshit isn’t ever as prevalent as it is in movies. It’s more about the awkward teenage feelings that unite kids regardless of their parents bank books here, like so many of Hughes’ movies. Spader is the exception, but there will always be dicks in life that are a class all their own.

    This is probably my number 2 fave Hughes movie. McCarthy is just so dreamy.

  5. Pingback: Thanks To Everyone Involved With The John Hughes Blogathon | Cinema Parrot Disco

  6. Hipsters?! No no no. Their Euro-style, Post-Punk listening clique were called “trendies” back then. And they weren’t the popular kids back then; the high school preppies in the movie were the equivalent to the current hipsters. Trendies were considered outsiders.

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