- Movie Rating -

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

| February 27, 1987

This will sound a little strange, but I actually had the same problem with Some Kind of Wonderful that I had with 84 Charing Cross Road, that movie about the 20 romance that took place entirely in correspondence.  The problem is that both movies feature interesting people whose potential romance is frustrated by a plot that keeps their romance from flourishing.

In the previous film, it was the distance and that fact that they never meet.  In Some Kind of Wonderful it is the potential romance between a nice guy and his best friend who is a tomboy.  Naturally, he’s in love with a beautiful girl at school and completely misses that potentially the great love of his life – the tomboy – is right there in front of him.

That frustration overwhelms a potentially great film from John Hughes whose portraits of teenagers are real and complete and seem made up of equal parts fantasy and grim reality – he previously made Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, two movies I liked very much.  What he has done with this film is to, again, give us characters that approximate real life.  The guy is Keith, a high school kid who looks like a slacker but stays out the class warfare.  He’s more interested in his art then in fitting in.

Keith’s best buddy is Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) who is a tomboy who is pretty and loves him from the depths of her soul.  But, of course, he doesn’t notice.  He has eyes for Amanda (Lea Thompson) who is beautiful and popular and, of course, is dating a hunky snob.  Keith has such love for Amanda that he has written a song about her and even painted her portrait.  The barrier is the boyfriend who is a jerk to an unrealistic degree.  At one point, he defends his girl with “Keep your eyes and your hands off my property.”  When she objects he tells her to mind her own business.

What I liked is that these characters are given a deeper dimension, much like the ones in The Breakfast Club, particularly Amanda who is a fully realized soul and not just a plot trinket.  Watts turns out to be a girl with great feeling.  And Keith turns out to be a guy with his heart on his sleeve.  

And yet, I couldn’t help but wish that the movie would take off the barriers of the plot.  Keith and Watts should get together.  She knows it, we know it, and he should know it much sooner.  That way we can spend the movie getting to know them as people and their progression as characters wouldn’t be slowed down by the requirements of their predicament.  I liked some of this film but found it much too frustrating to recommend.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Drama