Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Look! Freak hasn't reviewed this movie yet! Insert evil laugh here.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you what a legend John Hughes was in the 80's. Basically, whatever teenage angst movie he was associated with turned to pure gold. No one quite knew how to capture the emotions of teenagers in a way that made you want to pay attention to the underlying themes and messages. That's our John! It's sad for me today that we don't have anyone in this decade who can speak to teenagers like John did then.
What makes this a really good movie?
Do you get the chills whenever you hear that opening drumming done courtesy of Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson)? .....Pretty girl Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson) is sucking face with her scummy boyfriend Hardy Jenns (Craig Sheffer) while Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz) is pouring oil into a car.
And this is how Mr. Hughes introduces us to the three main characters of the movie. Remember the introduction because their actions are indicative of their place in high school food chain.
Watts and Keith are best friends. When Watts isn't drumming and Keith isn't working at an auto shop, they spend their time together hanging out and discussing whatever comes to mind. In the food chain of high school, they are somewhere towards the bottom. Watts is made fun of because she doesn't dress like a girl. Keith is ignored because he's a painter.
One day, Keith brings up Amanda Jones. Isn't she something? Watts is not amused at Keith's attraction to Amanda.
Watts: Don't go mistaking paradise for a pair of long legs.
Amanda Jones, who comes from the same poor part of town as Watts and Keith, happens to be higher up in the food chain. Why? Because she's dating the fast slickster, Hardy Jenns. Dating him has put her in with the "A" crowd.
Sooner rather than later, Amanda gets fed up with Hardy's roving eye. While out one evening, she explodes and Keith steps in to ask her out. On the rebound, she says yes.
As Keith prepares for his date of a lifetime, Amanda struggles with how to tell Keith that she doesn't want to go out. Some of it has to do with the fact that she's not really interested but the biggest reason is that dating Keith would knock her down into the part of the food chain that she doesn't want to be in.
Amanda: I’d rather be with someone for the wrong reasons then be alone for the right.
While Keith is juggling his friendship with Watts and his impending hot night with Amanda, he faces another conflict at home. Keith has a father who is more interested in his son's continuing higher education than anything else. Every time he walks into the door, his father is quoting some college brochure or letting his son know how is college fund is doing. Keith only wants to continue his education in art - something that his father doesn't consider worthy of consideration.
And that's all of the plot I'm going to tell you about. Wanna know more? See the movie silly.
Like Pretty In Pink, John Hughes wrote and Howard Deutch directed. There are a ton of comparisons I could make to the two films. Everything you know about one, reverse the sexes and change the ending slightly. If PIP had kept their original ending (boo hiss), they would have matched up 100%.
But back to this movie, there are so many neat things about it.
The Music - Just like in his other films, John is great at finding music to match the emotions of his characters that also compliments the pacing of the story line. Most of the songs would be considered alt-pop, even the classic Miss Amanda Jones which is performed by The March Violets.
Eric Stoltz - What I like a ton about Eric is that he's extremely believable in this movie as a teenage boy from the poor side of the tracks. Although you probably wouldn't find him initially attractive, you can look back at his chemistry with Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson and see just how charming and adorable he was. John did a great job in casting him.
Witty Quote - A fun part of the movie is the one-liners put out by almost all of the characters. I'll leave examples of those for the end.
Trivia - The movie is filled with lots of juicy scoops, for instance did you know....
1) The three main characters have names relating to The Rolling Stones. You have Amanda Jones, who is named after a song of the same name. Then there's a drummer named Watts and the lead character of Keith.
2) Molly Ringwald turned down the part of Amanda Jones. She decided that she was too big of a movie star to be in any more of John's teenage angst filled movies. Guess what? That snub caused a huge riff between the two and they never worked together again.
3) Lea Thompson met her husband, director Howard Deutch while filming this movie. They're still together today, along with their two daughters.
I really hope that one day, someone is smart enough to put out a collection of John's movies from the 80's. In the meantime, you're missing a piece of 80's history if you haven't seen this. Just do it.
While his little sister Laura is sitting in his room, snooping through his albums.
Keith: Do you understand the concept of the word privacy.
Laura: Yes, I do and that's why I never let anyone in my room.
Walking across the high school campus.
Skinhead: How long have you been a lesbian?
Watts: Excuse me?
Skinhead: I think that you have a little bit too much of front to be a guy so you must be a lesbian.
After getting in a scuffle with Watts and Keith. The principal busts the skinhead.
Skinhead: Those aren't mine (cigarettes)
Skinhead: Those are just for show (Jack Daniels)
Skinhead: Those are a gift uh, from your wife (Dirty girl cards)
After Amanda catches Hardy manhandling another girl...
Hardy: How can be so beautiful and so insecure all at the same time?
Keith has told Watts about his attraction to Amanda.
Watts: She runs with the rich and the beautiful. That's guilt by association.
Keith: You can't judge a book by its cover.
Watts: Yeah, but you can tell how much it's gonna cost.
At the dinner table discussing Keith's upcoming date with Amanda
Laura: Any fool can get into college. Only a select few can say the same about Amanda Jones.
Cindy: I don't think I've had a balanced meal here. I think I'm missing one of the important food groups here.
Watts, sitting with Ray, trying to show Keith that someone is attracted to her.
Ray: See, a lot of guys I know think that you're... confused. See, but I know it's just an act. I know that if you wanted to, you could be a girl like that.
Watts: Ray, this is 1987. Do you know that a girl can be whatever she wants to be?
Ray: I know, my mom's a plumber.
Watts: That explains a lot about you, Ray.
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Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12