Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes, once again, from Rob of Movie Rob. Thanks, Rob! He liked Pretty In Pink after just recently watching it for the first time so let’s now hear his thoughts on Some Kind Of Wonderful. 🙂

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“Keith… you’re losing it. And when it’s lost, all you are is a loser.” – Watts

Number of Times Seen – at least 5 times (Theater in 1987, cable, video and 12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A poor kid who falls in love with a rich girl is helped by his tomboy friend in order to win her over. Little does he know, that she is in love with him too.

My Take on it – What would you do if you were one of the most successful filmmakers of 1980’s teen films and the studio forced you to change the ending of your movie?

You’d do what John Hughes did.. Remake the movie with slightly different characters and keep the ending you always wanted.

I use to love this movie as a teen because it showed that sometimes as a teen you don’t know what’s right for you and are willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want. And then in a moment of clarity, you realize that you made a mistake and are able to rectify that mistake.

Wouldn’t it be great if life was so simple?

That statement is both allegorical to this movie and to the situation Hughes was in himself when he chose to make this movie.

Hughes was so adamant at making everyone know about his frustration that he ever wanted to cast Molly Ringwald in the Main female part. She declined and was never asked to be in another John Hughes movie ever again.

In her stead, Hughes hired Lea Thompson who ended up falling in love with the director of the movie Howard Deutch and they have been married ever since.

Besides Thompson, this movie features Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson (who I still have a strong crush on to this day).

The themes and situations of this movie and Pretty in Pink (1986) are so blatant that you would have to be a complete idiot to not realize that they are basically the same movie but with different happy endings.

Having only watched Pretty in Pink (1986) very recently, I actually think the opposite. In my mind, this movie is the original with the correct ending and the other is the “remake” with the wrong ending. 🙂

Bottom Line – Great “remake” of Pretty in Pink (1986) that actually has the proper ending. Excellent cast.
Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

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Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) Review

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Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) by ME again!

Directed by Howard Deutch

Produced & Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Eric Stoltz
Mary Stuart Masterson
Lea Thompson
Craig Sheffer
John Ashton
Elias Koteas
Molly Hagan
Maddie Corman
Jane Elliot
Candace Cameron Bure
Chynna Phillips
Scott Coffey
Carmine Caridi
Lee Garlington
Pamela Anderson

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Pretty In Pink. But better in some ways.

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My Opinion:

I’ll keep this review short as I’ve already reviewed Pretty In Pink (review HERE) and, for those who don’t know much about John Hughes films, this is basically a remake of that but with the roles reversed (Eric Stoltz is Molly Ringwald – you can figure out the rest if you watch them as I try to stay spoiler-free for Hughes-newbies). Which one is the better film? Pretty In Pink. Which one do I like more? Probably Some Kind Of Wonderful.

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I think it’s a shame that Some Kind Of Wonderful seems to get forgotten while Pretty In Pink gets all the attention. I won’t go into Pretty In Pink much as I’ve already reviewed it but the things it really has going for it are two very strong characters (Duckie & Iona) and some classic Hughes-style quotable lines. I think the script is stronger and, as I said, it’s a better film overall. However, I really couldn’t relate to any of the characters in Pretty In Pink. In Some Kind Of Wonderful, I found them much more realistic & they felt more like people who actually would have been in my high school. Plus Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is a great female character. I prefer the tough tomboy thing to Molly Ringwald’s usual girly roles in the Hughes movies. Watts still gets a little “silly” over a boy but, hey – she’s a teenage girl. Her character feels very genuine in the movie plus her friendship with Stoltz is totally believable and I bought into it more than Andie & Duckie’s in Pretty In Pink.

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Eric Stoltz does a decent enough job in the movie & you do find yourself wanting things to work out for him. Lea Thompson is a little… Empty. But so was the character who was her equivalent in Pretty In Pink. Elias Koteas is the “Skinhead” in this and is a very enjoyable character in the way that Iona was great in Pretty In Pink. The “bitches” are less bitchy than in Pretty In Pink but are more believable. Craig Sheffer is, well, a low-budget James Spader – anyone could have played his role. He’s the equivalent of Michael Ironside being the low-budget Jack Nicholson. But the important thing is that the two main characters, Stoltz & Masterson, are very strong and, for me, more likeable and realistic than in Pretty In Pink. Especially Watts.

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Summary:

Sorry for basically just comparing this to Pretty In Pink but it would be impossible not to. If you haven’t seen either film, I’d recommend both if you like slightly-dramatic 80’s teen movies and especially if you like John Hughes as these are both very much “him”. It’s hard to say which one you’ll like more – some prefer one and some prefer the other. If you’ve seen (and like) Pretty In Pink, you MUST watch Some Kind Of Wonderful as well! It’s good. You may even find you end up liking it more than Pretty In Pink. Okay – Yeah, I like it more too. It just wins out over Pretty In Pink thanks to the characters feeling more real. Some Kind Of Wonderful deserves more recognition than it seems to get compared to the other Hughes teen movies.

My Rating: 8/10

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Dennis (1993) Guest Review

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aka Dennis The Menace

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of Movie Rob. Yes, Rob again! I’m a terrible host. I’ve only reviewed four Hughes films so far. You’re making me look bad, Rob! 😉 I’ll try to do another four reviews before this finishes. Now let’s see what Rob thought of Dennis. 🙂

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“I brought my own pillow so I won’t get my spit all over yours.” – Dennis

Number of Times Seen – 2 (Early 90’s and 11 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A six year old boy terrorizes his neighbor Mr. Wilson and his prized flowers. Based on the comic strip of the same name

My Take on it – As a kid, I use to really enjoy the Dennis the Menace comic strip and books. He would really wreak havoc on Mr. Wilson in so many humorous ways that it was always a pleasure to read.

This movie attempts to re-create and re-imagine that fun and it is widely unsuccessful in doing so.

The kid chosen to play Dennis, Mason Gamble doesn’t look enough like the comic character who is a bit chubbier and larger than the young actor and his antics here just aren’t very funny.
Walther Matthau is usually great in everything he does, but he unfortunately doesn’t have much to work with here since all his character does is yell, scream and have unsuspecting follies happen to him by the well-meaning Dennis. He is wasted in the role of Mr. Wilson.

This movie also adds in a criminal passing thru town played by Christopher Lloyd who attempts to cause mischief but is foiled time and again by Dennis’ mischief. I like Lloyd more in his fun roles like in Taxi or Back to the Future (1985) and he seems quite miscast here as the villain.

John Hughes attempts to make this movie and its lead character a younger, more mischievous Kevin McCallister but fails in doing so.

I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it many more times but Hughes later movies attempted unsuccessfully to “borrow” elements from his earlier successes and suffer because of it. Just because an idea worked in a certain movie, doesn’t mean it can be transplanted into another one and be guaranteed to work.

This is one of those cases where it didn’t…

This is actually a movie I wish I hadn’t seen, because it ruined some of the pleasant memories I had of the character when I was growing up.

Bottom Line – Terrible attempt at re-imagining Dennis the Menace. Waste of time.

Rating – Razzie Worthy

Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) Guest Review

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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. 🙂

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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

Starring:
Eric Stoltz
Mary Stuart Masterson
Lea Thompson
Craig Sheffer
John Ashton

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.

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What I liked:

• 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.

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What I didn’t like:

• 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…

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Summary:

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)

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