229. Pretty in Pink (US 1986)

                     

Director: Howard Deutch

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, James Spader, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, Alexa Kenin, Kate Vernon.

Cinematography: Tak Fujimoto

Music: Michael Gore; various

Script: John Hughes

Fact: Director Deurch didn't want Spader to play the role of Steph because he thought he was an arsehole.

Fact: Kate Vernon is the daughter of SV.com favourite John Vernon, the slimy mayor, corrupt official or conscienceless businessman in many Don Siegel movies.

Fact; Alexa Kenin was murdered by persons unknown just after the film was completed. The film is dedicated to her.

Lie: Mollie Ringwald's prosthetic chin was modelled on Bruce Forsyth's chin from his 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium' compering days.

 

In one line: Poor girl falls in love with rich boy.

Summary

Andie (Ringwald) has won a scholarship to an exclusive school. She lives in a poor part of town with her unemployed dad (Harry Dean) and is worshipped by Philip F. "Duckie" Dale (Cryer), another (relatively) poor kid from the school. Andie falls in love with rich kid Blaine (McCarthy - it's Hughes's fault) and they begin a relationship. Blaine's mind is poisoned by the Iago-like Steph (Spader) who has been spurned by Andie on a number of occasions. Steph manipulates the differences in Andie and Blaine's backgrounds to destroy the relationship and Andie is left without a date for the High School Prom. Andie borrows an old pink dress from her boss Iona (Potts) at the record store where she works and transforms it for her solo Prom date. A depressed and dishevelled Blaine has also gone to the Prom alone. When Andie appears in 'that' dress, he begins to understand how and why he has been used......

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The second best of the Brat Pack teen movies*. The Breakfast Club is not number one (if you're wondering). It is absolutely shite - especially Judd 'fucking horrible nostrils' Nelson - and I have no idea why people have affection for this terrible film. 

Probably because they've been told to.

Pretty in Pink when stripped down to its component parts is also fairly deplorable, but it's told with a certain amount of pace and style and verve, and it benefits from a group of talented actors.

There are many terrible things in this film:

Jon Cryer: 'Fuckie'

"I have needs, Blaine - special needs."

 

There are some good things as well:

Duckie: thinking about a Sherman over his Jimmy Hill-chinned unrequited love (after finishing some unique home improvements).

Other points:

Harry Dean Stanton phones in a lacklustre, lazy arse performance as Ringwald's lacklustre, lazy arse dad.

The final 'kids dancing at the prom' scene has the most risible dancing since the opening credits of not very fondly remembered Australian soap 'Young Doctors'.

Nik Kershaw's 'Wouldn't It Be Good' is included on the soundtrack, but is sung by an American unknown - presumably for the sake  of 'one laugh' at Kershaw's expense.

The plot of Pretty in Pink was 'resurrected' for Hughes's next film Some Kind of Wonderful.

Ringwald and McCarthy are currently residing in the 'Where are they now?' file; Spader went on to bigger and better things (but is now more of a TV star); Cryer's career took a 'nosedive' but he is now appearing in the hit shitcom 'Two and a Half Men'. Harry Dean Stanton works when he needs some ale money.

Iona: did a 'shitload' of Cow and Gate in the sixties.

So then: Pretty in Pink - shite, but enjoyable, although its omnipresence on the various movie channels may hinder any lingering affection before the year is out.

*The underrated Catholic Boys/Heaven Help Us is easily the best.

7/10

 

 ste@saintvespaluus.com