Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Written by John Hughes
Directed by Howard Deutch
Sticking with my John Hughes/Howard Deutch kick, I am taking a re-look at the story of Keith Nelson, his best friend Watts, and the object of his affection/muse/obsession, Miss Amanda Jones. Some Kind of Wonderful always seemed to me to be the overlooked of the Hughes movies. Was it because it did not include any of the so-called “Brat Pack”? Did it come at the end of the wave of his earlier movies, thus falling a bit to the wayside? To me, it is an underrated film, and though not my favorite Hughes movie, it is definitely in the top 3.
In some ways one can read this film as a gender-reversed Pretty In Pink. Keith could be Andie, Watts could be Duckie, Amanda could be Blane, but to me that simplifies all of it a bit too much. Keith may be from the “wrong side of the tracks”, he may have an after school job (he’s a mechanic, Andie is a record store clerk), but to me this is where the similarities end.
Keith is an artist, but beyond his art, he seems lost and not to set on his future. In contrast, I think Andie has a clear path she wants to follow with her life, though she is artistic, she is also serious and determined.
Keith is dreamy, and lovelorn, pining after Amanda. Though one might say he is after what she represents (popularity, beauty, acceptance), I think in his mind he loves her, or at least is heavily crushing on the her that she is, and not just an image. Of course the her that she is to him, is what he perceives, and not necessarily her – but I still think it isn’t about her status to him. Andie, in contrast, is not pining away for Blane. He is interested in her, he pursues her, and then she becomes interested. She considers it first, questions things like his position and money and status, and decides that despite all that, she likes him.
Watts is the best friend with hidden love feelings. This is a trope. It is. But its one that I do so enjoy watching play out. Watts is not as overt about her feelings as Duckie is. She is loyal though, in the way Duckie is loyal to Andie, and she comes through in the end. But, she is bolder in some ways. That kiss for instance was a bold move, as was showing her feelings in the end, letting them see her cry. That said, she does do that selfless act of “she’s different, you should go with her” that Duckie does at the dance – except this time the lead has a change of heart. He goes after Watts. He gives her his so-called future.
Do I buy the ending? Was it fan-service because of so many people who wanted Team Duckie to win? I don’t know. Maybe it was, but strangely for me I do buy it. I do believe that Keith felt something for Watts. Did he think about her when he bought those diamond earrings? No, I don’t think so. Did she (Watts) think they would be hers? No, I don’t think so. Though she did hope – she says that, and I do believe it. Is this true love forever? I don’t know, probably not, but for that moment I am happy for them, and root for them in the end.
Course that could be because I had a mad crush on Watts myself, and would have chosen her all the way. What do you think?