20 August 2009

Thank You John Hughes: Some Kind of Wonderful

John Hughes, celebrated writer/director of many important movies of my youth, recently passed away. Here, I pay a little tribute.

Some Kind of Wonderful
is one of the first movies I remember seeing in the theater. I am not sure who I went with -- maybe my aunt? -- but I do remember that I saw it.

Lea Thompson, it felt, was the "it" girl at the time, having been in Back to the Future, Space Camp, and, of course, Howard the Duck. Eric Stoltz was clearly trying to move past his "Mask" image and into the hearthrob role, and Mary Stuart Masterson was a somewhat newbie on her way to becoming, incomprehensibly, a female lead in many films over the following few years.

This movie followed a typical Hughes format -- non-popular person is in love with popular person, and, somehow, that popular person finally noticed the non-popular. And, in the wings, the non-popular person had a friend who was in love with him/her (also seen in Pretty in Pink).

What I remember the most about seeing this movie was really identifying with Watts. I mean, really, truly feeling like I knew what she was going through, feeling pushed aside by your best guy friend chasing some chick, but knowing deep down that he should be with you. Common, I am sure...but this movie came out in 1987...I was 11 years old. What the hell did I know about being pushed aside? Who was my best friend that I felt shunned me? And I wonder if he also drew pictures of his dream girl and listened to music about her name...

Over the years, this has stuck with me. I get giddy when this movie comes on. As I got older, I identified more with Watts -- a girl on the outside looking in -- but I think many of us did (after all, can we really identify with Amanda Jones? Not the majority of us.). And I think this is what Hughes did best. Stereotypes are born from something common, and while this movie was totally stereotypical, so is the high school experience. High school is formulaic, it is about having outsiders and fringe, and it is about making decisions that seem so important in the moment, that will hindsight you see aren't.

It is about wasting your whole life savings on diamond earrings for your Amanda Jones, and realizing that, if you are going to spend that much, it would be better spent on your Watts.


Pernilla said...

True that! :)

Tom said...

Very nice tribute. Thank you.
I'm partial to Sixteen Candles. The Geek's entourage . . . totally me.