For young people hitting adolescence between 1984 and 1987, John Hughes was the name-brand self-appointed voice of a generation, churning out teen comedies and romances as quickly as the money rolled in.
He found a winning formula and stuck with it: the star-crossed love of two characters from opposite cliques, the popular and the unpopular, which usually translated into the rich and the poor.
Hughes always identified with the underdog, but his films were often fantasies of upward mobility, ending with the Cinderella hero realising that it’s okay to keep the glass slippers.
With his filmmaking machine operating at full tilt, Hughes passed off the directorial duties to Howard Deutch, who dutifully whipped up Pretty In Pink (1986), completing an informal trilogy of Hughes collaborations with Molly Ringwald.
Hughes and Deutch then made the same movie one year later with Some Kind of Wonderful – fixing the ending and screwing up just about everything else.
Swapping genders and changing names, they plugged in a new love triangle, with Eric Stoltz for Ringwald, Mary Stuart Masterson for Cryer, and Lea Thompson for McCarthy.
Stoltz is at high school in LA’s San Pedro area. He fantasises about taking out the very popular Thompson, whilst being blind to the charms of his tomboyish friend, Masterson (easily the least convincing drummer in cinema history).
The only novel twist was in casting Lea Thompson as poor and popular, which causes her snooty peers to immediately dismiss her for dating Stoltz, a part-time grease-monkey from a working-class family.
Some Kind Of Wonderful goes through the same paces as Pretty In Pink, paying lip service to rich arrogance and poor pride. But in refining his can’t-miss formula, Hughes did little but shave two full minutes off the running time.
Mary Stuart Masterson
Laura Leigh Hughes