Paramount // 1987 // 94 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 19th, 2002
Some fun, some heartache, some kind of wonderful!
Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction) is a loner and an outsider at his high school. He loves art, his family often drives him crazy, and he's not very popular among the school's student body. Keith spends much of his time working as a gas station attendant and hanging out with Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson, Fried Green Tomatoes), a tomboy whom obviously likes Keith even though he seems oblivious to her affections. Keith is smitten with Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future), a popular girl who is dating Hardy Jenns (Craig Sheffer, Nightbreed), a rich jerk who treats everyone around him with contempt and ridicule -- especially Amanda. After a nasty breakup with Hardy, Keith makes his move and asks Amanda out on a date. To his surprise she says yes, though what Keith doesn't know is that Amanda is really just using him for her own personal reasons. As their date nears, Hardy invites Keith and Amanda to his party to show that there's no hard feelings -- though the truth is that Hardy is planning on beating Keith up in front of all his friends. When Keith accidentally discovers Hardy's motives for the invite, Keith decides to take a stand against the deceptive Hardy. All the while Watts continues to pine for Keith's affections as his desires for Amanda keep on flourishing. As the big date arrives, Keith, Amanda, and Watts will discover that love and social standing don't always go hand in hand.
It's always nice to come across a movie that is both enjoyable and filled with thoughtful characters and ideas. Some Kind of Wonderful is a sweet natured film that doesn't rely on intricate plot points or dazzlingly witty dialogue to achieve its emotional punch. The film was written by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and directed by Howard Deutch (Pretty In Pink), and is a story about young people coming to terms with who they are and what they want (or need) out of life. The actors in this film are so genuinely likable -- especially Stoltz and Masterson -- that it makes you yearn for the teenage yore of the 1980s. Stoltz gives Keith an affective, moving shyness while Masterson plays her character with more depth than one might expect from a movie about teenage lust. The only weak link in the chain is Craig Sheffer as the stock bully -- his portrayal is a bit over the top (is anyone that cruel and heartless?) and often one dimensional. Otherwise, Hughes and Deutch have captured life as an adolescent to the tee -- confusion between love and lust, a desire to fit in among one's peers, and the confusion that comes with learning adult lessons at a childish age. Hughes' films have always been about more than just being 17; Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club were all about geeks, jocks, and rejects trying to overcome society's hurdles and the teenage stigma surrounding differences. Some Kind of Wonderful takes this same premise -- utilizing a rich girl and a middle class nobody -- and some how makes it seem fresh and enjoyable. While the film may not be quite as good as other Hughes hits, it is one of the better teen stories to come out 1987. Recommended.
Some Kind of Wonderful is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Paramount has really done a very nice job at making sure this print is sparklingly clear of any dirt, edge enhancement, or other defects that might otherwise mar the image. Aside of a little softness in the picture, this is really a topnotch transfer. The soundtrack is presented in a newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound mix in English. Also included on this disc is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix in English, a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix in French, and English subtitles. Some Kind of Wonderful certainly isn't some kind of special edition DVD -- Paramount has opted to release this film in a completely bare bones edition which will surely disappoint fans who were hoping for some insightful extras or even a measly theatrical trailer of the film.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13