Tempestuous Teen Triangles

It's a strange world, the John Hughes universe—populated with beautiful teens (even the geeks!) with fantastic dress sense (even the geeks!), gifted with witticism and wisdom beyond their years (or at least their parents' . . . and weren't most of them about 26 anyway?), all set to the strains of New Order and the English Beat. Wicked—no wonder we who grew up in the '80s gobbled it up like candy-coated crack. Unfortunately, the DVD Hughes experience has been patchy, thanks for the most part to Universal, who have yet to give the titles in their stable (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, etc.) any decent frills. Paramount, bless 'em, have been far kinder to the oeuvre, and following last year's Ferris Bueller's Day Off package comes this week's Pretty In Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful special editions.

As notable for each's charms as for their doppelgängerness—i.e., smart, adorable redheaded misfit from the wrong side of the tracks is torn between the seemingly unattainable, posh kid of their dreams and the smart-alecky loser who really loves them—it's Pretty In Pink that has endured as the most beloved of the two, probably as much for its substance as for its starring Hughes muse Molly Ringwald and the fact that it came first. Peculiarly, this has been dubbed the "Everything's Duckie Edition," which might make sense if the actual, original ending—i.e., she winds up with lovelorn Jon Cryer, leaving Andrew McCarthy to bug his eyes out in the dust—were presented in full. Instead, we get a featurette on why said ending was scrapped with a number of arguments from the cast and director Howard Deutch. Yeah, I'm not buying it, folks—she belongs with Duckie.

Which is why, then as well as now, I maintain the controversial opinion that Some Kind of Wonderful is the superior film. In response to Pretty In Pink's Annie Potts and Harry Dean Stanton and "If You Leave," Some Kind of Wonderful offers Elias Koteas and Maddie Corman and Lick the Tins' cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love!" And, yes, it was shot at my high school, but that doesn't makes me biased or anything. (I mean, it's not like there were any boys who looked like Eric Stoltz at my school, and believe me, I looked. . . . ) Nope—it's all about beautiful, brassy tomboy Mary Stuart Masterson getting her man. Three cheers for the right ending! Both discs feature commentary tracks and various making-of featurettes.

Also recommended this week: Arrested Development: Season 3; The Castle of Cagliostro; The Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition; Romancing the Stone: Special Edition; The Tick: Season 1; Trilogy of Terror: Special Edition.


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