Tag Archives: John Hughes

Monday Movie Mentions #19…

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

imagesIt’s only after I watched Some Kind of Wonderful for the umpteenth time recently that I realised how much it had in common with Pretty in Pink, the John Hughes penned movie that had been completed the year earlier.

They have the same director, same writer – even the same basic plot structure. In fact, these two movies are so similar in concept and execution that they could have been separated at birth, only with Some Kind of Wonderful being the child that has been (unfairly) abandoned at the side of the road never to be spoken about. It’s an unpopular opinion, I know, but this is the more enjoyable film.

Watts: Don’t mistake Paradise for a pair of long legs.

Eric Stoltz is Keith, the working class boy who falls for Amanda, the most popular girl in school, played by Lea Thompson. She is, of course, gorgeous and going out with a rich tool. Mary Stuart Masterson is Keith’s best friend Watts who… well, if you’ve seen any eighties high-school based romantic comedies you’ll know where this goes, but it’s a lot of effortless fun along the way. The three leads play well off each other, with Stoltz being the weakest link – there’s just something about him as an actor that I’ve never bought into.

Some Kind of Wonderful is considered a part of the loosely defined Brat Pack canon, and while it is certainly not the best of that bunch, it’s in the top third… and like I said earlier, it’s better than that other one.

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Monday Movie Mentions #13…

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

planes-trains-automobiles-web_7101With legendary guru John Hughes in the director’s chair, and funnymen Steve Martin and John Candy in front of the cameras, Planes, Trains and Automobiles had all the potential in the world to be great… and thankfully, great is just what it is. It’s arguably the best thing that any of these guys put out in the eighties, if not their careers.

We follow laid back Del (Candy) and highly strung Neal (Martin) as they meet, maintain a love/hate relationship, and try to make their respective ways home across the United States for Thanksgiving, and it’s full of great scenes and fantastic exchanges between the two leads. It’s been several years since I’ve sat down in front of the movie, but I’ve seen it enough times that I can rattle off entire swathes of dialogue without missing a beat.

Del: You play with your balls a lot.
Neal: I do not play with my balls.
Del: Larry Bird doesn’t do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!
Neal: Are you trying to start a fight?
Del: No. I’m simply stating a fact. That’s all. You fidget with your nuts a lot.
Neal: You know what’d make me happy?
Del: Another couple of balls, and an extra set of fingers?

As great as it is – and it is one of my favourite comedy films – I’m glad it never spawned a sequel. I’m sure the temptation must have been there, because it would have been very simple to shoehorn another road trip out of these characters without making it look like a cash-in, so I applaud the restraint.

Similarly, I certainly don’t want to see it remade, as seems to be the Hollywood model in recent years. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the perfect storm of acting talent, story, and humour, and it’s very difficult to think of a couple of actors who would even come close to matching the performances of Martin and Candy.

On a side note, I have heard rumours of a four hour director’s cut of the movie that was (obviously) too long for release… but that is something I would like to see one day.