Saturday, April 23, 2022

Pretty in Pink scratches the ol' nostalgia itch

Thanks to Covid, I've wound up with a rare bit of time on my hands the past couple of days. I keep finding myself on the couch, remote in hand, wondering what to watch to kill off some time. Some nostalgic person on my Twitter timeline planted a seed Thursday afternoon with a post about the Pretty in Pink soundtrack.

I hadn't seen the movie since it came out back in 1986. I was a junior in high school, and there may or may not have been valid comparisons made between my hair and Duckie's. Certainly nothing intentional. Not my fault he had nice hair. I certainly didn't dress like him, and while I may not have been the most popular kid in school, I wasn't quite the outcast he was, either.

Beyond the hair, I can't say I recalled a lot about Duckie, the character. I vaguely remembered the plot, or at least the key points. The ending matched my memory, the rest of it fell into place well enough, though there were points I was waiting for things to happen that happened in other movies. Sixteen Candles, perhaps?

I'm on a minor 1980's nostalgia thing lately. I picked up Tell the Wolves I'm Home in part because it was set in 1987, the year I graduated. I was practically obligated to watch a Molly Ringwald movie. Consider the itch at least partially scratched.


  • James Spader is super rapey in this movie. I mean, I get he's supposed to be an over-the-top jerk, but there is nothing redeeming about him whatsoever. Yuck.
  • You want to ask, "where are the parents?" at times. But given Andie's dad can barely feed himself breakfast and it's the 80's, it's not actually unrealistic. We used to have jobs after school and not come home until long after dinner. We were much more feral back then than most kids seem these days.
  • Of course, by the time I was 18 the drinking age had been 21 for several years and it wasn't even realistic to try to get into a club like Cats. (Well, maybe if you looked older than I did, and had a reasonable fake ID.) That went up in 1984, two years before this movie came out, so not sure if that was an all-ages club or if they took some liberties there. Certainly kids had parties with plenty of beer, not that I went to those.
  • Harry Dean Stanton ... ha, the second I saw him, Repo Man popped up on my "maybe next" list. He's surely a sad sack dad here. Perhaps not 100 percent convincing all the time, but he's hard to dislike.
  • The soundtrack sure held up. "If You Leave," by OMD is the one I've heard the most over the years, but the title track is just as good. And I was today years old when I learned that the Psychedlic Furs first recorded it five years before the movie came out. It was on their 1981 album, Talk Talk Talk. Which I just bought as I started writing this so I could push that nostalgia needle all the way up to max.
  • Holy cats, were the "richies" ever mean. Those girls, particularly, were quite bitchy. And Blaine, even for being the nice guy, was more than insensitive to bring Andie to that party. And then to bring her up to the Steff's room to get away? Really?
  • I know they were just teenagers, and it was Andie's first time to really fall for someone, but to declare herself in love after one really crappy date? Did we think like that back when we were 17? Yeah, probably. How painfully naive.
  • Annie Potts was so great as Iona. Weird, but so kind, and so okay being weird. And such a perfect boss/friend for Andie. I didn't remember her in this movie at all, and she was probably my favorite character.
  • I hope Iona didn't want her old prom dress back. I thought it looked pretty nice as it was, but give Andie points for making something unique for herself. Still, think twice if she asks to borrow anything off you.
  • I miss real record stores. I would have loved Trax. We used to ride our bikes eight miles down to the University District (Seattle) to spend the day searching for cool stuff at Tower Records, Cellophane Square, and probably half a dozen other shops I can't even remember the names of. And book stores. There were several used book stores we would check out regularly. We were nerdy enough to think that was cool, and I still think it was all these years later. So there.
  • The Duckie vs Steff fight in the hall ... I kept thinking Duckie was going to get thrashed, but that was probably a draw. Steff talks better than he punches. Then again, Duckie had righteous indignation on his side.
  • I know Andie isn't obligated to settle for Duckie just because he's so infatuated with her, but come on, how long are we supposed to believe her relationship with Blaine ran after the movie ended? No way they made it beyond the summer. Maybe they saved face when he left for his Ivy League school in the fall and parted friends.
  • I paid $3.99 to watch that on Amazon Prime. I have no complaints.