Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Watts is a teenage tomboy who loves to play the drums.  She's quite good at it.  What she's not quite good at is being open about her feelings for her best friend, Keith, which run deep.  When Keith gets a date with the most popular girl in school, Watts' friendship with him begins to get shaky and runs the risk of ending.  The popular girl, Amanda, however, has a former boyfriend, Hardy, who is from the rich side of town and is unable to let her go.  Revenge is on Hardy's mind and Watts must decide what to do.

Directed by Howard Deutch who had previously directed the 80s hit, "Pretty in Pink," "Some Kind of Wonderful" made its premiere on February 27, 1987.  However, it would come shy to doing half as good at the box office having only grossed a little over $18.5 million. 

Why didn't this film do better at the box office than it did?  Was it the story?  The screenplay was written by John Hughes who had written the storylines for such successful films as "Vacation," "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," so certainly it couldn't have been that.  Was it drowned out by other competition?  Popular films that came out earlier that month were "Light of Day" starring Michael J. Fox, "Mannequin" which starred Andrew McCarthy, "Over the Top" with the action star Sylvester Stallone, and quite possibly "Sister, Sister" with Eric Stoltz (who would also be in "Some Kind of Wonderful") or "A Tiger's Tale" starring Ann Margaret and C. Thomas Howell.  "A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" opened at the box office on the same day as "Some Kind of Wonderful," so perhaps that might have been it.  People tend to be suckers for sequels, after all, and it did gross over $44.7 million.

It wasn't like "Some Kind of Wonderful" didn't have an untalented cast.  Eric Stoltz had been in "Mask" for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award, Mary Stuart Masterson had been in seven other films and television productions, and Lea Thompson (who would win the Best Young Artist award at the Young Artist Awards ceremony for this film) starred in such mega-hits as "Jaws 3-D," "All the Right Moves," "Red Dawn" and "Back to the Future."

Perhaps the film would have been more of a success if it had a better soundtrack; "Miss Amanda Jones" by the Rolling Stones and "Catch Me Fall" by Billy Idol weren't exactly huge hits.  In fact, they were forgetable.  As far as the song "Pretty In Pink" by the Psychadelic Furs goes, well... we'd already heard it.

In my opinion, what kept the film alive is that it had a decent story, viewers could relate to the character wardrobe and style, and the soundtrack, though less than stellar, was okay throughout.  Mary Stuart Masterson, on the other hand... I'm guessing people really enjoyed seeing her rock out whilst playing the drums.  With the exception of the Go-Go's music videos on MTV, we hadn't really seen that before.

All that aside, here are some behind-the-scenes information you might find amusing....

1.  Martha Coolidge (who had directed "Valley Girl," "Joy of Sex," and "Real Genius") was originally signed to direct the film but left shortly before production began and was replaced by Howard Deutch.

2.  When Martha Coolidge was hired to direct, she cast 'Kim Delaney' as Amanda Jones and Kyle MacLachlan as Hardy Jenns. When Coolidge dropped out before filming was to begin and Howard Deutch replaced her, he replaced Delaney with Lea Thompson (after Eric Stoltz suggested her for the role) and replaced MacLachlan with Craig Sheffer.

3.  The role of Keith Nelson was written with Eric Stoltz in mind.
4.  Before this movie was filmed, Eric Stoltz had been the original choice to play Marty McFly in "Back to the Future," and he had even shot five weeks' worth of footage as Marty before he was replaced by Michael J. Fox.  Lea Thompson, who plays one of Stoltz's love interests in "Some Kind of Wonderful," played his would-be character's mother in "Back to the Future."
5.  Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Watts but refused it, ending her successful relationship with John Hughes.
6.  Lea Thompson originally turned down the lead when she was approached by Howard Deutch. She then accepted the role after "Howard the Duck" flopped, and Howard Deutch again asked her to play the role of Amanda Jones.
7.  This film marks the feature film debut of Candace Cameron Bure (she played the role of Cindy Nelson and would continue being in various television movies and program series up to this present day).
8.  The three main characters have names relating to The Rolling Stones: Amanda Jones, named after a song of the same name (which is played in the film); a drummer called Watts (Charlie Watts) and a character called Keith (Keith Richards).
9.  The car that Watts drives in the movie is a very dilapidated mini cooper modified for driving in America. Between 1960 and 1967 only 10,000 were sold in the U.S. and then discontinued. Although they are very popular now, they were quite alien and unknown to most of the American public in 1987.
10.  Most of the extras in the film that play the "bad kids" in the detention scene and around campus weren't thugs at all. They were football players from the various high schools in the area. They were chosen mostly because they could tower over the actors and look menacing.
11.  In an earlier version of the script, Keith proposes to Susan (Watts' first name) at the end (August 1986 script).

12.  Howard Deutch and Lea Thompson fell in love while filming this film and they are now married (they've been married since 1989 and have two children).

And now you know.

Take a look at some pictures from this film of which is still considered a cult-classic to this day...

Watts: Because I'm driving you crazy and you're driving me crazy and I'd rather not see you and have you think good things about me than have you see me and hate me. 'Cause I can't afford to have you hate me, Keith. The only things I care about in this goddamn life are me and my drums and you.

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