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JOHN HUGHES PRESENTS 'SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL'

The beautiful Mary Stuart Masterson is the Master of the credit title sequence in SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
By the time SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL hit theaters, and thereafter looped on afternoon cable television, John Hughes had already been a household name, and within his wheelhouse of motion pictures, including those he didn't direct but served as producer and, most important, writer, involving awkward kids with more secret confidence than the popular jerks whose open campus stardom has to do with good looks and money, and not in that order...

The Forlorn tomboy
In real life, high school popularity is based almost solely on looks and confidence, not money, especially since the kids have one and their parents have the other, and parents... yours or theirs... just aren't cool during that time: no one cares what THEY have (unless you go to Hollywood High... not some Chicago dump). Yet Hughes makes a deal of class envy, and like THE BREAKFAST CLUB and unlike PRETTY IN PINK, it kind of works as The Brat Pack, or any members therein, are replaced by a fresh new crop of young actors that had been around other places: including Eric Stoltz, a super-serious performer who tried comedy with Cameron Crowe's forgotten gem THE WILD LIFE, straight man to Sean's little brother, Chris Penn...

Ola, Lizard Eyes
And here, without all the noise, Stoltz gets to shine a lot brighter, but still can't hold a candle to the girl we're supposed to believe is the friend he can't take seriously: For while Mary Stuart Masterson doesn't wear glasses for then to suddenly take them off, exposing her genuine beauty, changing the heart of the guy who had overlooked her for so long, her character, Watts, a female tomboy drummer painfully in love with Stoltz's Keith Nelson, is much too cute to be ignored... The short hair and awkward social skills, maverick attitude and lack of fashion (and cup size) doesn't make her any less attractive... There's no rough on this diamond.

Enter Eric's WILD LIFE starlet turned BACK TO THE FUTURE movie star, Lea Thompson, while natural as the pretty, popular yet poor Amanda Jones... intentionally named after an early fuzz-toned ROLLING STONES tune playing long before an end-credit cover for a ready-made soundtrack... body aside she's simply not "perfect" enough to make us forget or neglect Masterson, who acts like Quasimodo to Stoltz's clanging bell of misunderstood artistry. And ONLY SHE understands the troubled young man: He's a poor kid who, born into lower-middle suburbia, has a blue collar mechanic father, desperately wanting him to go to college and get the breaks – all the stuff he, dad, never had...

Stunned again
Scenes with character-actor John Ashton (Judge Reinhold's grouchy partner in BEVERLY HILLS COP and scene-stealing third guy bounty hunter in MIDNIGHT RUN) are a bit contrived. He's a great actor stuck on a one-note treadmill. In fact both dad and the intentionally annoying little sister trouble Keith to no end, providing sporadic comic relief throughout a film that's more Romantic than Comedy, the first heavy on the mind of our semi-involving hero who wants, even more than a future, to take Amanda... whose dastardly boyfriend, Craig Sheffer, is so rich and downright horrendous it's a wonder he's even made of flesh and bone... on one single date to prove his worth: and word spreads around campus, in droves.

Hanging at The Club
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL wields the type of gloriously unapologetic kitsch that makes the 80's so 80's: shot from the proverbial canon (within the extensive Hughes canon) and making an immense explosion of everything John ever brought to the table, and then some; eventually shaking off the corny magic to become a (foreshadow to) an edgy and foreboding THREE O'CLOCK HIGH involving an upcoming party the same night as Keith's dream-date, where the big bad bully awaits in sheep's attire: so at one point it's all about a jerk's reputation, a nice guy's lovelorn ideals and the girls caught in-between...

Before that we meet a Judd Nelson style Detention Criminal in the always high-strung character-actor Elias Koteas (who has a DeNiro TAXI DRIVER vibe)... A side-story involving the mismatched kinship between bad boy and good boy (Koteas and Stoltz) exceeds even the love triangle mainline, and yet, eventually, the good, bad and ugly connect in the kind of climax and location befitting this era and genre.

Random Hot Shower Bitch
Hughes sets up his characters so uptight and dialed-into each other from the onset that, within the first minutes of talky melodrama backed by a electro-metal pop score (imagine if "The Cure" recorded "Oh Yeah"), it feels like the third episode of an established TV series and so, eventually, the kids on screen and audience at home can only become more relaxed, winding down into the somewhat realistic, less annoying caricatures who, although we've experienced their world already, seems brand new, somehow.

Locker Lovelorn
RATING: ***1/2
TRIVIA: While watching the 1975 cult film THE STEPFORD WIVES, it was a pleasant surprise seeing a very young Mary Stuart Masterson as the daughter of the main character, so click here for pics of the child actress and review of that movie • Okay so Eric was famously rejected as Marty McFly while filming BACK TO THE FUTURE, which, if he wasn't replaced by a sly Fox, would have made this the third movie, including the THE WILD LIFE, alongside Lea Thompson... And in WILD, Lea's also smitten with a bullying jerk, who wants to kick Stoltz's ass • Throughout his career, before semi-retiring in the early nineties, John Hughes would juggle high school films and movies about grownups who were just as childish as the teens were adult-like, the latter mostly going through a mid-life crisis at a young age while the older guys try forgetting about life in general, THE GREAT OUTDOORS, PLANES TRAINS AUTOMOBILES and his greatest grownup venture, and one of the funniest movies of all time, UNCLE BUCK, are examples... Yes, he was quite a mogul in his day, and his death, while walking in Manhattan, was random and tragic... the man should have gotten some kind of special Oscar for all he did for "the people that you spit on," quoting David Bowie as occurs at the beginning of (perhaps arguably) his best work, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, John's personal ON THE WATERFRONT, and that nowadays would be up for many Oscars • Last but not least, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL was directed by PRETTY IN PINK's Howard Deutch, obviously Hughes's personal Buddy Van Horn, director for hire, and has many things in common including a ton of bullying class envy, James Spader in place of Craig Sheffer; puppy love worn on the sleeves, Mary Sue replacing Jon Cryer; and two perfect polar opposites hooking up despite the odds, Stoltz and Lea in place of Molly and Andrew: although like mentioned in the PINK interview that you can read by clicking here, SOME KIND is far superior, perhaps making up for the previous fluff, although PRETTY is far more beloved... to girls.
The 1980's were famous for High Schoolers who look old, but c'mon, Zeppelin Shirt is 37, if that young
Another older looking dude, Elias isn't jerking off, he's saying the word Lesbian very, very slowly
Wow, our hero's one cool dude... And to think, John Bender merely walked in front of a car
Sheffer makes out with Lea, and the artwork surrounding is cool enough to mount this screen cap
The painting that can get Stoltz in like Flynn with his dream girl... A painting of/for her... now on Ebay?
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