Play Pause

Monday, 21 January 2019

Retro Review: Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Some Kind of Wonderful
Cast: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, Craig Sheffer, John Ashton, Elias Koteas
Genre: Romantic Drama
U.S Box Office Gross: over $18 million

Plot: When Keith goes out with Amanda, the girl of his dreams, Amanda's ex-boyfriend plans to get back at Keith. Meanwhile, Keith's best friend tomboy, Watts, realises she has feelings for Keith

'Some Kind Of... Modest '80s Teen Rom Drama'

Back in 1987, John Hughes, who had previously helmed the likes of The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink, took another crack at the so-called popular teen falling in love with the misfit/underdog in Some Kind of Wonderful: a film in which over 30 years on, has become part of the teenage canon, despite being derided as a gender swap version of Pretty In Pink and with the same director at the helm, Howard Deutch. 

A love triangle develops between a boy who is attracted to a pretty girl, but the boy's female best friend suddenly develops feelings for him. Artist and student Keith is oblivious to the fact that so-called tomboy Watts not only has a crush on him but that she has fallen in love with him too. Complications arise further when Keith dreams of being with the attractive Amanda Jones, and that Amanda's ex & rich boy, Hardy wants her back and sees Keith as nothing more than his nemesis. 

Watts comes across as confident, defiant who wears a leather jacket and rocking that rock chick-look - yet underneath it, all is an insecure girl who can't muster up the courage to express how she truly feels to Keith. Mary Stuart Masterson plays Watts so well and who is cool and the tomboy type who is into the same or similar things as guys and Masterson delivers her best onscreen performance; and one that really should have led to bigger and better roles. Eric Stoltz (originally the first choice for Back to the Future's Marty McFly, before Michael J.Fox became the series mainstay) is effective, without really exploding on screen. I mean, he was okay, but he was also bland in a way too and I expected a greater performance from him in a drama that is heralded by many of one of the best that deals with teen romances and Keith is far from a compelling character, nor one that made a major impact. 

Lea Thompson has been an actress, who especially through Back to the Future, has been a major player in the early to mid-1980s Hollywood movie scene, but who has seen major movie roles dry up over the decades. Her character, Amanda is not a villain per se, rather she tries to be a good friend to Keith, whilst being unaware her current squeeze is, in fact, cheating on her. The movie, thankfully, avoids the mistake of making Amanda a shallow, b****y type of girl and Thompson makes her out to be redeemable when she could have so easily been undesirable. The characters, as a whole, are less cliched and stereotypical, due to the performances which range from respectable to impressive (but for probably say Stoltz) across the board.

I finally and eventually got round to watching Some Kind of Wonderful: normally, this is not the type of movie I'd get excited for and it is also one that wouldn't have appealed to me back in the 1980s. This is a conventional romantic drama that whilst it is argued both the female characters are underdeveloped, which they are, Watts for me was the most interesting out of the two, whilst as admirable as Lea Thompson is here, it can be disputed that she makes Amanda far too much of a sweet nice girl. Me personally, she fared all right. 

Canadian actor, Elias Koteas plays the so-called bad boy who is friends with Keith, whilst Craig Sheffer revels as the bad boy, whose performance was rather appealing. 

Final Verdict:

Over 30 years have passed and Some Kind of Wonderful still holds up and Howard Deutch, who has mostly been a deficient director with his efforts, manages to get the best out of his then-young cast.

It's not a bad effort and as much as I wished it could have gone a little deeper in the dramatics and expanded a bit more on Watts and Amanda's troublesome boyfriend, Hardy, there wasn't literally one moment throughout that I disliked. The film's main asset is Mary Stuart Masterson, whose turn gives it and her role, some pathos and nuance. 

Some Kind of Wonderful is a solid-yet tightly held teen-based drama that gets better as it goes on. 


No comments:

Post a comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...