The 80’s meant a lot to many people and though there may be differences of opinion on style, politics and music there is one constant that cannot be argued against. John Hughes created a genre for a movies and meaning for a generation. His films span over decades, yet the teen angst and social strata exposure that his young adult 80’s movies revealed has yet to be matched. Originality and truth rang out in theaters and created applause for the underdog, the less popular and the quiet interesting character.
This is most prevalent in his film Pretty In Pink. Though Howard Duetch directed the movie, Hughes wrote the screenplay and produced the picture. With his muse Molly Ringwald as the true inspiration for the story it is hard to believe that the studio was considering a certain Flashdance star for the role. Hughes won out and our quintessential teen scene queen took her rightful place in this masterpiece. John Cryer, Andrew McCarthy and the unforgettable James Spader all character rich and so incredibly talented that it makes the viewer wonder what happened to teens who could lend humanity to a role.
Andrew McCarthy’s Blane is innocent and unaware that the world he lives in shelters him until he sees Andie and suddenly his crisp white world is full of pink. Steph played by James Spader whose life has been one big party cannot understand why for Andie he isn’t good enough. James Spader as Steph became the model for all passive aggressive movie villains, and has yet to be matched. He is truly the character you could fall in love with but hate yourself while it’s happening. Saving the best for last has there ever in the genre been character that can compare to Duckie Dale? With hope, and naïve faith Duckie believes he and Andie will someday be together as he serenades her with Otis Redding not knowing that Andie is waiting for Blane until he sees him in the window and with one glance his world is shattered. Duckie’s eyes welled and unbelieveing fill with anger as his voice cracks holding back the tears of hope now gone.
The silent exchange between Andie and Steph as she walks past him in the parking lot, contempt and fear are in her face while Steph shows little satisfaction in what he has done and she has yet to find out. All this revealed but without speaking one word, only the brilliance of New Order’s instrumental Elegia bringing the viewer in. For those who havent seen this movie, it is a requirement for all ages and those who have, give it another watch as an adult, it is quite stunning. The cliche’ “They dont make um’ like that anymore” rings true with this film and with a generation more concerned with being rich, skinny, popular and jumping on the new bandwagon with being “Green” than being different, interesting, individual and unforgettable, films like Pretty In Pink send a message that is seldom heard, and rarely spoken.
The emotion, truth and honestly that each of these actors brings to their roles has yet to be matched by anyone in since this genre leading film was released in 1986. In an age of tweens, vapid idiocy and frames filled with orchestrated and unimaginative dance scenes, one needs to ask: would Pretty In Pink still be relevant today? With today’s economic climate and children being pressured everyday from a extremely young age to conform, have the right clothes, have the right music and have the right friends, Pretty In Pink and many other John Hughes’ movies are more important that ever. The way individuality and non-conformity were portrayed gave many people from the 80’s the security that someone else was out there and what they were going through was not in vane. Redemption wasn’t necessary for the central character because integrity was always present.