While Some Kind of Wonderful may not feature the same kind of young spirit that Pretty in Pink may have had or the kind of older type of intelligence that Say Anything might have had, it’s still a cute, charming little romantic comedy with some recognizable faces penned by ‘80s icon John Hughes, responsible for such teen films as The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, to name a paltry few.
Keith (Eric Stoltz, Mask) is a bit of an underachiever, who…likes to paint and has aspirations beside the business school his father (John Ashton, She’s Having a Baby) might want for him. Despite the advice of his friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson, Fried Green Tomatoes), he decides to pursue Amanda (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future), who lives in the poorer side of town with Keith and Watts, but who goes out with Hardy Jenns (with TWO N’s!, played by Craig Sheffer, The Program), a rich kid who treats her like crap.
Sure, the ending and story you may see coming a mile away, but the viewer gets a chance to watch Keith empower himself in a somewhat convincing way that makes it more relatable than others would expect. The only problem that I’ve had with the movie in the numerous times I’ve watched it since in came out almost two decades ago is that Watts is more than a little bit hard to accept. Much of what goes on is barely implied, but it’s just enough for you to buy it.
Even though most of the characters definitely appear older than high school years (although Stoltz was almost unrecognizable after so many prosthetics in Mask, he still looked about 5 years older than high school, as most everyone else is. As one who is more of a Duncan (Elias Koteas, Gardens of Stone), I enjoy the little man getting over and screwing the big boys now and again, and the bigger journey to screw the cliques and find happiness over all else is something we could all root for now and again.
While there’s a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the movie seems to be one of those that was recorded somewhat poorly and stayed that way. There’s adequate sound throughout the film, it just doesn’t seem as clear as it should be.
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen that upon further review was a slightly improved transfer (or at least a brighter, more natural one) from the first time around. Skin tones are a lot more natural and there’s a consistent layer of film grain present through the feature.
Thompson and her husband, who is conveniently the director of the film, Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink) reunite for a commentary track which is presumably a new one for the film. There’s a lot of silence throughout the film as they’re clearly watching it, but Deutch provides some of the more salient or tangible memories of the film while Thompson recalls the fashion and times for a bit before her character starts to appear more in the film. There are some moments where they hint to their then-blossoming relationship (they married a couple of years after the film was released), so there are some cute moments there, but there’s not a lot of newer nostalgia that’s brought to the table, and it would have been nice to see Stoltz or Masterson jump in to provide a different voice as well. The making of featurette has participation (or more recent) interviews with them, which is nice, albeit very very brief at just under 10 minutes. There is some additional interview material with the cast, some of it is on set, some of it is newer, and includes time with the supporting cast, including Ashton. Aside from a small piece on the music and a dated interview with Hughes, the only other extras are a stills gallery and some previews.
For those fans of all things ‘80s, Some Kind of Wonderful is now out in a special edition treatment that is light compared to other ‘80s films, but it’s somewhat respectable and probably won’t get any better. A recommendation for fans of John Hughes films (shoot, he wrote it), and is arguably better than some of the films that have been remade for today’s kids, so on that criteria, it’s definitely worth seeing.
Special Features List
- Director/Actor Commentary
- Making of Featurette
- Cast Interviews
- John Hughes Interview
- Still Galleries