“I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was so hard on you.” ~ Keith Nelson
“Me too.” ~ Watts
“You always hurt the ones you love.” ~ Keith Nelson
“So when are you going to beat the shit out of Amanda Jones?” ~ Watts
About the movie:
Some Kind of Wonderful is a 1987 film starring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Lea Thompson. It is one of the several successful teen dramas written by John Hughes in the 1980s, although this one was directed by Howard Deutch. This one has been often overlooked when John Hughes movies are packaged together, featured in a movie series, or discussed, thus making it somewhat underrated. It is a favorite of mine, though, and one that I go back to, and re-watch, often.
Originally, Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Amanda Jones. She turned it down. Martha Coolidge was originally signed to direct the film but left shortly before production began.
. Howard Deutch, the director, has asked Lea to be on the film, and at first she declined, but later, after working on Howard the Duck, and that film failing at the box office, she changed her mind and agreed to be Amanda Jones.
Howard and Lea fell in love on-set, and are now married.
The three main characters have names relating to The Rolling Stones: Amanda Jones, named after a song of the same name (which is played in the film); a drummer called Watts (Charlie Watts) and a character called Keith (Keith Richards).
Miss Amanda Jones :: The Rolling Stones
Elias Koteas (Duncan) improvised much of his lines and actions. When Duncan puts his head on Amanda’s shoulder, Lea Thompson’s surprised laugh was real.
The ending, with Watts and Keith, had the somewhat typical kiss at the end ending, one that can be seen in Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink, and in some regard, The Breakfast Club. The ending originally written to be Keith asking Watts to marry him, which I think is quite an extreme as they are Seniors in high school (I believe). I prefer the kiss ending to that alternative.
I’ve also heard and read speculation that the ending, Keith choosing to be with Watts, was in response to the dissatisfied fans who wanted Andie to wind up with Duckie in Pretty In Pink, though that may be just a rumor.
Kiss at the end
Some Kind of Wonderful is in my Top 3 favorite John Hughes films, third to The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink. This one has staying power over the years, and I actually feel like I love it more with each re-watch. Some of the things I like best about it is that Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) never changes who she is for Keith (Eric Stoltz), or anyone else. There isn’t that makeover moment, like what we see in so many non-Hughes teen movies, and in some regard we do see it with Allison (Ally Sheedy) in The Breakfast Club, but not to the full She’s All That or Grease levels.
I do at times wish there was more motivation to Watts’ character than her feelings and friendship/relationship with Keith, though I suppose we can assume there is more going on with her off-screen than what we see. I like to picture her the drummer in an all-girl punk band that sometimes plays at the club we see Andie hangout in, in Pretty In Pink.
The other thing I love about the movie is the soundtrack. I have written about the soundtrack album before, listing it as one of my favorite albums/quintessential albums, and it definitely is. I love it from start to finish, and find myself throwing songs on it on many a mix and playlist. If pushed to pick a favorite I would struggle and say that they change often, and that I really love all the music from the movie, even the songs no on the actual soundtrack album.
I Go Crazy :: Flesh For Lulu
Do you have a favorite from the soundtrack?
As for Keith as a character, I feel like I understand him more and more as I grow older and have more distance from my own high school years. I think that Amanda Jones fell into that ideal category, a crush that was beyond just feelings for a girl, but also feelings for what being with her would mean. He is an outcast in the school hierarchy, not quite part of Duncan’s group of punks and delinquents, but not part of the popular crowd either. I’m not sure he’d fit in with the “nerds” either, or that there is a category in The Breakfast Club “groups” that he fits into (maybe the closest is Allison, but he really isn’t a basket case). He’s an artist, in his own category, best friends with a tomboy (does anyone use that term anymore?) drummer who doesn’t seem to fit any of those categories either. All that said, I think a part of Keith longs to belong, and Amanda Jones represents that to him.
I do not believe for a second that he is self aware enough, at seventeen/eighteen, to realize that, nor do I think he quite understands his feelings for Watts even, until they are spelled out to him. At times, that latter fact makes the ending a little hard to believe, except for the fact that we do have that earlier kiss to refer to, and the way he responded to it. Does that mean that he is in love with Watts, enough to say propose marriage? I don’t think so. But, I do think there were more feelings there, previously undiscovered, that he realizes.
Is it enough to keep them together for the long haul? I’m not sure. But, maybe we aren’t supposed to be sure, instead I think we are supposed to believe, and maybe see ourselves in that final scene. Unrequited love realized – haven’t we all wished for that at least once in our lives?
Miss Amanda Jones, not quite a manic pixie dream girl, but still up on that proverbial pedestal to Keith. I’m never completely sure how I feel about Amanda. I think she’s longed to belong so much that she’s traded her happiness, and a bit of free will, to be “popular“. In that way, she is a little like Claire in The Breakfast Club, though she is not as sympathetic as Claire is to me. To be honest, I struggle to like her except in brief moments. She does not seem fully realized, but then again, maybe that’s the point, as Amanda does admit that she’s not sure who she is, or what she wants, except to try going it on her own for once, in the end.
It really is all about Watts to me