(On Some Recommendable Films through the Decades) The 1980s: Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
For this yet another series of articles on pop culture, I will cite quintessential youth-oriented films that became a sort of gems especially to those who were teenagers during the decade such movies were released or shown in theaters. But, have in mind that your age should not be a hindrance in being able to appreciate the beauty of these films, especially if you treat them as mere reflections of the youth culture of the decade when they were made. After all, stripped of all the technological, aesthetic, and musical aspects of the films, the storylines (which are usually universal human experiences) remain to be the heart of such movies.
Because the 1980s was the decade when I was a teenager, I will start this series with the said decade. But, this does not mean that I am unable to feel similar enthusiasm with films and arts that originate from other decades. I will also feature many of them in the coming issues.
Without further ado, here’s one of my favorite youth-oriented movies released in the 1980s.
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Among the so-called trilogy of John Hughes’ quintessential ’80s youth-oriented films—Breakfast Club (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), the last remains to be my favorite primarily because of the iconic quality of the movie’s characters, particularly the cute tomboy-looking drummer Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson); the cool guy Keith (Eric Stoltz), who had an impressive vinyl-record collection in the movie; the girl of his fantasy, the popular student Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson); Amanda’s detestable rich boyfriend, Hardy (Craig Sheffer); the skinhead Duncan (Elias Koteas); the punk Ray (Scott Coffey), who had a crush on Watts; and Keith’s pesky sister, Laura (Maddie Corman). The story revolved around a love angle—Watts and Keith are bestfriends; Watts secretly loves Keith, but Keith fantasizes over Amanda, who has a boyfriend—and the plot itself as well as the soundtrack, which consisted mostly of New Wave songs by the likes of Propaganda, The Psychedelic Furs, Flesh for Lulu, Billy Idol, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The March Violets, and Lick the Tins.
My favorite scenes are the intro, in which Watts was shown practice-drumming along Propaganda’s “Dr. Mabuse”; the museum scene in which Keith was giving Amanda the pair of earrings that he bought out of his college-tuition savings while Watts, who volunteered as their chauffeur for that date, was jealously observing the romantic tryst from several seats behind; the part when Duncan gatecrashed Hardys’s party where Amanda slapped Hardy in front of everyone; and the final scene when Keith finally realized whom he should end up with, with matching kiss and makeup and Lick the Tins’ cutesy version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” playing in the background.
The Last Leaf
Just like in music, the world of films has also many gems to offer from any given decade. Many usually older people fall in the folly of dissing films of the current generation, claiming that the best were made during the time when they were teenagers. Or, the reverse, many young people today would claim that old films suck. The folly of these myopic and subjective critics is their inability to appreciate the beauty of something that is new or unfamiliar to them or, at the least, their refusal to give these new things a chance to grow in them.