Some Kind of Wonderful Reviews
Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz turn in sweet performances as non-conformist high school kids (her a tomboy, him an artist, both mechanics) trying to find not only love but also their paths in life. Lea Thompson is the popular girl Stoltz falls for and pursues, and turns in a strong performance as well - if you get a chance, watch her facial expressions in the scene where she slaps her rich boyfriend, played well by Craig Sheffer. But Masterson is the one to watch here: tough, funny, and incredibly pretty.
John Hughes had a quite a run in the mid-late 80's, and in producing/writing this film, I consider it among his best work. What a fantastic last line, "You look good wearing my future", and final song, a very nice cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" by English band Lick the Tins, capping off a great soundtrack. This one makes me smile.
John Hughes for president!!
Typical John Hughes genre movie with some incredible soundtracks.
Some Kind of Wonderful was a film that I have seen roughly around 5-6 years ago, during the height of my 80s/John Hughes addiction; but I have always felt that this was a misstep for Hughes and stands very small against the rest of his high school screenplays. My sister has told me many times that Some Kind of Wonderful is a response to the disappointed audiences of Pretty in Pink's conclusion. Watching this now, my memory of Pretty in Pink is pretty vague but if there is one thing I do remember, and after this viewing, I can boldly say that Pretty in Pink is a much better crafted movie than Some Kind of Wonderful; down to the script, direction, performances, and soundtrack.
John Hughes' screenplay revolves around a middle class boy, Keith who works at a gas station and is best friends with a tomboy drummer, Watts. Keith falls in love with a gorgeous socialite, Amanda Jones, and manages to get a date with her, but not everyone around him is pleased with it. Some Kind of Wonderful attempts to reach beyond its shallow storyline about social class and the selfish intentions that people would go through in order to maintain or reach that desired class. The film could have succeeded in exploring this if it didn't shape its story too heavily, and by that I mean the characters in this film feels too aware of their mature issues and handles it in such a way that does not feel appropriate to their age groups. This obsession with social class also connects with the obsession that some of the characters in this film have with their personal insecurities. I think this would have provided deep insight of its characters if it was emphasised enough by Howard Deutch's direction or Hughes' script.
Self-awareness is a significant trait that everyone must strive to gain but for one to have complete awareness, especially during a youthful age where it is very uncommon, is almost unbelievable when projected on screen. I think it would have worked if only one or two characters truly had the answer or are fully aware of their and society's flaws but in this film, almost every single one had something extremely important to claim or convey to its audience and due to this, I felt a little bombarded.
The film also touches on an interesting relationship between father and son, which is a safe recipe for family drama, but this film does not expose enough of it, to make it such a serious issue; the characters only seem to deal with the problem when it arises, we do not get to see how their relationship impact each other outside the heated arguments.
Some Kind of Wonderful features generic performances from its cast, with Eric Stoltz coming out as the strongest of key cast members. Stoltz played the isolated "loser" character, Keith Nelson, strongly but lacked that punch that Jon Cryer was able to deliver in Pretty in Pink. Lea Thompson does decently as the sexy Amanda Jones, relying more on her ability to physically attract rather than to emotionally impact. Mary Stuart Masterson was kind of forgettable here, which is frustrating as her role was meant to be this character that stands out from the rest. I was, however, impressed with Elias Koteas who plays this rebellious punk, balancing fear and comedy through his dialogue delivery and facial expressions.
Out of John Hughes' screenwriting filmography, Some Kind of Wonderful is his most disappointing, at least from what I have yet seen, due to its easy to follow storyline but difficult to connect with characters.
" The story felt just like high school felt, with all the painful doubts and growth of one's teenage years, and the film's credibility is greatly enhanced by the excellent performances of all the principle cast members (Masterson, Stoltz, Thompson, Sheffer, and Koteas). The class tensions of the 1980s crop up as real obstacles for the characters to deal with (especially Thompson -- buying in, or selling out?). And how can you beat that great opening theme by the late, lamented Propaganda? Best of all, unlike that humiliating scene in "The Breakfast Club" in which Ally Sheedy's outsider character conforms to stifling beauty norms (she was so cool until then!), none of the characters in "Some Kind of Wonderful" betray their integrity. And that makes those characters ones you WANT to identify with, I think. All in all, an underrated gem of a film.