a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Pretty in Pink (1986), starring Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Harry Dean Stanton.
Per IMDb: “A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.”
Molly Ringwald plays Andie Walsh, a pretty girl who lives in near poverty after her mother leaves the family and her dad (Stanton) is too depressed, or lazy, to work to support the family. She has a fashion ingenuity about her and designs, and makes, her own clothes. She works in a local record store for an eccentric boss, Iona (Annie Potts) and they basically sit around and gossip and talk boys and troubles. Andie is picked on at school by the rich and popular girls, often to cruel measures, but Andie refuses to give up the antagonists, which makes her look even more like a goody-good-doer. Her main worry, though, is that she won’t get asked to the prom.
She has a not-so-secret admirer, though; two actually. First, there’s the lovable geek and outcast, “Duckie” Dale (Cryer) whose undying love for Andie has him hanging out with her father during the day, following and somewhat harassing her around at work and hanging out at her house in the evenings. They’ve been friends for a while and he’s smitten. She only sees them as friends. Then, there’s Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Blane is a rich kid who struggles with his sensitivity and living up to the snobbish standards of his other rich friends. It’s a tough ride, really.
He takes an interest in Andie and that not only infuriates Duckie, it makes Blane’s best pal, Steff McKee (played by a pre-weight gain/still an a-hole James Spader), reveal his true a-hole self. It’s not pretty. Andie is skeptical of the whole thing because she worries that she’s out of Blane’s league, he’s rich, she’s poor. She’s somewhat embarrassed by it. They go on a date, Duckie flips out. How does the date go? Who takes her to the prom? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I’ll admit that for whatever reason, I never saw this all the way through until just a few years ago. I don’t know what it is about the rom-com John Hughes “Brat Pack” films that just escaped me, because I really enjoy them. I just didn’t see them. I think to some extent we all know someone like each of the characters and we can relate to them. While the times are different, the situations really aren’t. It’s typical coming-of-age stuff and it’s relative to us because of it.
We watched this film to introduce 3B to it. That’s part of the Sunday tradition, now. Cook and watch an older film. He seemed to really enjoy it. He’s in high school now and I can see, and I think he can, too, the relativity to his life. He laughed a good bit. That’s a good sign.
Jon Cryer plays the part of Duckie perfectly. Smart, witty but a lonely outsider who is just head-over-it with Andie. McCarthy shows good sensitivity and still has the pretty-boy look to fit what the part needed. Harry Dean Stanton, is still alive today and is 90 years old. He’s a great actor and played the part of Andie’s dad with compassion for his daughter but with the distraught disposition that the role called for. James Spader is always a great a-hole. Molly Ringwald grew up with John Hughes. She is what she is because of him. She has talent and it shows up in this film. She took the lead and ran with it.
John Hughes has a way with capturing what he’s looking for in a story line through his soundtracks. They always are more than just songs in the background. Take for instance the song “If You Leave” by OMD. It’s in the final scene. If you’ve seen the film you understand why that’s important. If you’ve not seen it, you will when you do. Other songs fit in perfectly, too. The title track, of course, “Left of Center” from Suzanne Vega and Joe Jackson, “Shellshock” from New Order, “Wouldn’t It Be Good” by Nik Kershaw (on the soundtrack as Danny Hutton Hitters), “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” from The Smiths, and so on. It is considered by many to be one of the top movie soundtracks of all time. Huffington Post, Rolling Stone and Allmusic all rated it in their greatest soundtrack lists.
Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 80% Fresh with an Audience Score of 81%. IMDb has it at 6.7 stars out of 10. That’s a little lower than I though it would/should be. We watched this on Amazon Prime and I rate the film 4.25 stars out of 5 because I think it’s an important film for those living that age, now, for us that grew up in the one depicted in the film and because the soundtrack is awesome. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review? I want recommendations, dang it!!!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“May I admire you again today?” – Duckie