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In pop culture, YADA-YADA usually means "blah, blah, blah" or "more of the same." For this blog, YADA-YADA is an acronym meaning "Young Adult Discussions About Young Adult-Designed Art." Check out my summaries and reviews of teen media. Chime in and let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blog No. 41- Pretty in Pink [DVD]

GENRE: Romantic Comedy [DVD]

Title: Pretty in Pink
Director: Howard Deutsch
Screenplay: John Hughes
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader.

Bibliographic Information:
Viewing Level: Young Adult, 13 and up
Rated: PG-13
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Film Release: 1986; DVD Release August 29, 2006
Run Time: 96 minutes


Reader’s Annotation:
Andie is a high school girl who lives on the poor side of town with her loving but unemployed father. Her best friend, Duckie, called this because of his 50s hairdo, has a crush on her, but can’t complete with the rich kid, Blaine, who falls for her shortly after they meet.

Plot Summary:
Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is a poor girl who lives with her unemployed and loving but depressed father on the poor side of town. She makes her own clothes, is obsessed with the color pink, and has two really good friends—the odd Duckie, played by Jon Cryer, who has a throwback 1950s haircut and is in love with Andie, but hasn’t the guts to admit it, and Iona (Annie Potts), a quirky single woman in her 30s who is like a comic strip mother to Andie—she runs her own clothing shop and changes her 80s hair in style and color to match her mood almost daily. She encourages Andie’s talent for fashion design and for being her own person—which is difficult at her high school filled with rich kids.

Andie meets Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) who sweeps her off her feet, much to the chagrin of Duckie. Her few friends are concerned that rich kid Blaine is only using her, fueled by Duckie’s desire to have her himself and her dad’s concern about letting his little girl.

But Blaine seems to care, despite pressure put upon him by his rich friends, especially the creepy Steff (James Spader) who has tried to score with Andie in the past and has failed. Steff calls her a “mutant” and nearly succeeds in keeping his friend from liking Andie. Blaine takes Andie to a party of his rich kid friends, who are largely drunk, and she finds them superficial. After weeks of not admitting where she lives, Andie finally lets Blaine taker her home He asks her to the prom.

But peer pressure fueled by Steff wins out, and Blaine brings their relationship to a halt. Andie goes to the prom anyway, with Duckie, and while there, Blaine apologizes. Duckie, although in love with Andie himself, encourages her to go to Blaine.

Critical Evaluation:
Teens who like “old” movies may find this one entertaining, particularly to laugh at with the weird 80s hair and clothes (did people really dress like that)? But the performances are good, especially Ringwald's, who portrays a teen girl with reality, maturity and sympathy. She is believable in her role as Andie, and comes across as a true heroine. Jon Cryer as Duckie is the winner in this film, with his quirkiness and his obvious love for Ringwald’s character making him both endearing and sad at the same time. The funniest part of the movie is when Cryer lip-syncs to “Try a Little Tenderness” at Iona’s store—a fabulous moment!

To say the film holds up might be a stretch, but it is refreshing to see a young actress play a character with depth and dignity, unlike most of the overacting and over-emoting clan of Disney-esque actors today.

Girls, and some boys will love this film, but it is a testament to the writer, John Hughes, who fills the films with great dialogue, and Ringwald, who makes that dialogue ring true.

Reading level/Interest Age:
Recommended for Age 13 and up, due to the PG-13 nature of the film.

Information about the Author:
John Hughes the famous screenwriter-director, passed away in 2009, and Molly Ringwald wrote a touching eulogy about him that was published in the New York Times. She credited him for helping her get to know herself, and for putting a teenage female character out therei n the public eye—and writing a film that spoke from this teen girl’s point of view.

Hughes was born in 1950, in Lansing Michigan, moved to Detroit, and then, by the age of 13, moved to the Chicago area. He met his wife, Nancy, in high school, married her and then dropped out of Arizona State as a junior. He became an advertising copywriter, and wrote for many clients, such a 7-Up. He moved to LA, and wrote and became an editor for National Lampoon Magazine, which got eventually led him into screenwriting. National Lampoon’s Vacation was based on a short story he wrote.

Around this time, teen movies were getting popular (Like Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and he felt he could do better. He eventually wrote The Breakfast Club, which did not get made until he had a hit with the film Sixteen Candles, also starring Molly Ringwald.

Although he had a deal with Paramount, he created under his own production company. He changed the way everyone viewed teen movies.

Curriculum Ties: None.

Challenge Issues: None.

Why I Included This DVD:
I heard an interview on NPR with Molly Ringwald on KPCC’s Air Talk with Larry Mantel. She just wrote a new book, and hearing her reminded me of this film. I rented it, and loved it again—it is a quintessential late-80s America teen film that all teens should see.

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