PIP and SKOW – Seeing Teen Movies Too Late

Although I was a teen in the 80s, it doesn’t mean I saw every teen movie released then. Especially teen romantic comedies. Although I adore the quartet of John Hughes initial directorial efforts (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), I never saw the two teen movies he wrote and produced (but let Howard Deutch direct) around the same time: Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful.

Having recently watched both films for the first time as an adult, I sadly found both films lacking sympathetic characters or reasonable conclusions. Most of all, I saw how much they are exactly the same film.

Pretty in Pink (PIP) has the benefit of the better cast and being the better film. Beyond the 3 leads (Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer) is the top notch cast of Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, and James Spader as well as cameos from Gina Gershon, Kristy Swanson, and Andrew “Dice” Clay. Some Kind of Wonderful (SKOW) has the lighter weight trio (Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson) and a less interesting supporting and cameo cast of Elias Koteas, John Ashton, Candace Cameron, and Chynna Philips. Otherwise the differences are minimal.

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The OUTsiders

Although I was the right age, I never read The Outsiders. I also never saw the Francis Ford Coppola movie (released in 1983). But after hearing a typically amazing installament of  “American Icons” on Studio 360 on the book and the movie, I finally watched the film nearly 30 years after its release.

And I liked it. But I’m an adult, not a middle school student for whom the story is intended, so I didn’t LOVE it. How did the movie & book affect those of you were young teens when you first encountered it?

I noticed a few things:

  1. Totally understand why girls have loved this film (and presumably the book) – It’s about hot wrong-side-of-the-tracks bad boys who are secretly sensitive in a harsh world.
  2. There is a great movie make-over as Ponyboy gets his hair first cut by a pocket knife and then dyed by a 16-year-old greaser – and yet it looks fabulous!
  3. What a cast! Mostly unknowns or barely-knowns, they all became famous: Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Lief Garrett and Glenn Withrow. Continue reading