Some Kind of Wonderful, though, coming hot on the tail of immersing myself in the latter stages of the Halloween franchise is odd to say the least.
Ok, so first things first, could they not have at least tried to smile for the poster? I mean come on guys! Stoltz, I know I can't get you to smile you big ginger crazeball but Thompson, Masterson... come on! you're killin' me here!
Looking at this poster, well it looks like the most depressing 80s film ever made. It looks like a heroin addicts day-trip to the abattoir where they all sit around and read a lot of dense Norweigan literature about the meaning of death. So, right off the bat, you're not expecting dance numbers or balloons.
As a fan of John Hughes and his particular brand of high school observations growing up I wasn't opposed to watching this when the wife suggested it. It was not one of the ones that had crossed my path when I was younger, it was one of the later high school things he did after all. In fact by the time this came around I was probably more into his next film Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
Which may seem weird because obviously I was really a lot younger when these films actually came out in 1987 but, for whatever reason, I actually watched a lot of these films in order, starting of course with the Breakfast Club, just about 5-7 years later than when they first were made.
Anyway, Some Kind of Wonderful (really I can't get over how that does NOT apply to the poster) passed me by. I am, here and now, going to blame The Stoltz and why not.
The film itself isn't bad and is littered with Hughes' brand of witty humour and keen observations of stereotypes, with the obligatory annoying as all hell sister and precocious youngest child. It suffers a bit from the whole actors pushing 30 playing high school kid syndrome and from not having a distinct point or focus, so it's hardly a must see or one of his best, but it's ok.
Elias Koteas is brilliant in it, Craig Scheffer as the rich bully is so eminently punchable it is unbelievable and the two leading ladies do good work with their roles, even if Masterson's tom boy is a little too boyish and 80s for today's taste. I think she was probably too tom boy for 1987 really but anyway...
As for Stoltz... well Eric Stoltz, I don't know quite what it is about The Stoltz that I have such a hard time with. I know that I find his name one of the funniest names to say, not sure why, it's completely inexplicable but it just makes me chuckle, it's right up there with Lou Diamond Phillips and Louis Gosset Jnr, their names just represent a certain something in my brain that is humourous.
Apart from that I think it maybe that he takes himself just so seriously and tries to be all intense but he talks in a soft silly voice and looks ridiculous, the two images, the one he has tried to create and the one that is an actual reality are just so disparate it's hilarious. Can you really be intense with red hair, freckles and a chin like a bum?
He was known on set of this film, for example, as being very difficult and walking around demanding to be called by the name of the character and trying to be an aggressive tortured artist, like the character; Maybe that would be all very well for Brando in Apocalypse Now but he's Stoltz in Some Kind of Wonderful, he should've been a lot less pretentious and just done what the director told him to do.
Sadly he also doesn't have the acting chops or charisma to turn this film into a Say Anything, which is probably the film closest to this in subject matter but far superior, deeper and with a heap more charm and talent.
The only other problem I had with this otherwise, forgettable and harmless film is about the questionable ending.
Just as the Stoltz and Thompson date is ending, where he has shown her a picture he painted of her hung in a gallery, given her earrings bought with his entire college fund and kissed her romantically on the stage of the Hollywood bowl, all in front of a pining and upset Masterson, he comes out of the bully's house, realises in a split second, "doh! wait no I really love the boyish girl next door who dresses like an Australian Madonna impersonator" takes the earrings back from Thompson, runs after Masterson, they kiss, she takes the earrings, they joke and it all ends happily.
Now I understand everyone watching wanted them to get together but I am not sure any woman could really go for this after sitting through a night like that not unless they had no self esteem or were very stupid.
I guess, though, Hughes, as good as could be, was also responsible for the ending of The Breakfast Club. A film that is all about being an individual and respecting that, ending with the prom queen tarting up the nutcase with a bunch of make up and making all her problems go away...
6 out of 10 average tasting ginger biscuits soggy from being dunked in weak tea.