Saturday, October 2, 2021

Point of Personal Privilege: "Some Kind of Wonderful" is one of the worst films ever


It's not the WORSE film ever- heck, it's not even the worst film of it's decade (that "honor" goes to St. Elmo's Fire, which has been analyzed to death for it's loathsome characters, garbage story, and throwaway nonsense 'Happy Ending.')  But as a teen romance that is supposed to be heartfelt, inspiring, and whatever else characterized the era that gave us the Slow Clap, it's truly awful, and I'm going to take a break from trashing commercials today to tell you exactly why.  

(By the way, I especially hate this film because I was working at a Video Rental Store when it was released on VHS and I had to watch it on the store's TV at least two or three times a day for about three weeks.)

(Also by the way, this post was inspired by a discussion on another thread, which is why the following is in a different font- it's literally cut-and-pasted.  I'm kind of lazy plus there's a football game starting in an hour I'd like to get to.)

In 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful, Eric Stoltz's character (Keith) is best friends with Mary Stuart Masterson's character (Watts) and oblivious to the fact that Watts loves him because they are "just friends" and anyway Keith is infatuated with Amanda Jones (Leah Thompson.) Keith displays incredible cruelty toward his "friend" by borrowing her car to give Amanda a ride home, getting Watts to help him practice kissing, and finally using her feelings for him to get her to agree to be his chauffer for a date with Amanda (which Watts does even after repeatedly calling him out on his asshattery, because she's a pathetic doormat.)  Oh, and Keith withdraws his college fund to buy Amanda earrings for their first and quite possibly only date.  Because if he can't charm her, maybe he can buy her?

In the end, Keith doesn't actually realize that Watts is his true love- he gets dumped by Amanda, who decides that while she's grateful for being shown that her relationship with the Evil Rich Kids was toxic, that doesn't mean she wants to be with her Knight in Shining Armor, but that she wants to be Independent. Only then- when he's been abandoned by his Dream Girl in the middle of the street, does he remember that hey, he knows this other girl and she's crazy about him, so he runs over to her and gives her the earrings that were returned to him by Amanda. This is the "happy ending"= Keith failing to win his true love, and Settling for the woman who is willing to be kicked in the teeth repeatedly by the guy she can't stop crushing on no matter how emotionally abusive he is.

This film was seen as "romantic and sweet" in the era of St Elmo's Fire, but it's not hard to see how ugly and manipulative and cruel it is today. 

Ok, back to commercials tomorrow.  Probably.

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