I don't normally enjoy 80's movies, but Some Kind Of Wonderful is a startling exception. Written by John Hughs, the story-line is far from original, greatly resembling Pretty in Pink, but it still has an endearing charm that makes it a classic. The story line follows as such: the lead male, a sensitive loner named Keith(Eric Stolz) is considered an outsider because he would rather focus on his art work than to be a jock, a nerd, or a trouble maker. He doesn't fit into any preexisting group. His only friend is a tomboyish drummer named Watts(Mary Stuart Masterson) who is in love with him, but he doesn't know. Keith wants to date the popular Amanda Jones(Lea Thompson), but she is dating a possessive, controlling, overtly rich Hardy Jenns(Craig Sheffer). Amanda breaks up with him, and to make it final she agrees to go out on a date with Keith. To Keith this is dream come true. He uses his newly formed connections with the "out" crowd to orchestrate an amazing date. Even going so far as spend all his college savings on a pair of diamond earrings for Amanda. Watts, ever faithful to Keith, volunteers to be their chauffeur for the evening. Hardy has invited both Keith and Amanda to a party he is throwing that night, but the real reason is so that he and his friends can jump Keith and beat him up. Keith hears about this and makes sure that his new-found friends keep the fight even. Just Keith and Hardy, but Hardy chickens out and is exposed as the spineless sleaze-ball we all knew he was. Amanda gives Keith back the diamond earrings and opts instead to be alone and learn who she is when she isn't defining herself by the boy she is dating. Watts has left the party and is walking away when Keith begins to run after her, he kisses her and gives her the earrings. Love wins out in the end and Keith utters the paramount quote, "You look good wearing my future."
This movie has my respect because it accurately portrays the social themes of the 80's without making them look cheesy; themes such as trying to figure out who you were, who your real friends were, the joy and pain of falling in love, and rebelling against your parents. Durring the 80's people felt liberated by the release of tensions with the ending of the Cold War.
Stolz gave a great performance as a misunderstood, out of place teen trying to find his way. And Thompson was very believable as the poor girl from the working class neighborhood who tried to fit into the popular crowd; surprisingly enough, she didn't come off as pretentious, quite the opposite in fact, appearing deep and amiable. In America during the 80's social status was much more defined; people began to focus more on the individual and the individual's accomplishments.
But Mary Stuart Masterson stole the show with her amazing portrayal of Watts. Not only was she witty, but she carried you along her emotional journey. Even when Keith had chosen Amanda, Watts still stood by him as long as she could. Her tough facade clearly hid an emotionally vulnerable woman who's lifelike predicament spoke to so many.
Though this movie was not an initial box office smash, it is a perfect example of the 80's genre. Once you have seen this film it will inevitably become one of your all time favorites.
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