Pretty in Pink (1986)
November 30, 2022 10:23 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts), who owns the record store where she works, or her quirky classmate Duckie (Jon Cryer), who has a crush on her. When one of the rich and popular kids at school, Blane (Andrew McCarthy), asks Andie out, it seems too good to be true. As Andie starts falling for Blane, she begins to realizes that dating someone from a different social sphere is not easy.

Also starring Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader, Andrew Dice Clay, Margaret Colin, Gina Gershon, Kristy Swanson, Dweezil Zappa.

Directed by Howard Deutch. Written and co-produced by John Hughes.

73% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available for digital rental in the US on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.

Today, I'm going to be posting six 80's teen comedies that seemed to constantly be playing on cable back in the day
posted by DirtyOldTown (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love Harry Dean Stanton in this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:39 AM on November 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

From the very first time I saw this film, what she did to that vintage prom dress has pissed me off. I get that she was "making it her own" but to quote a friend of mine "I could eat my underwear drawer and barf something prettier in pink."

It's definitely less problematic than a lot of 80s romantic teen coming of age films.

Interestingly Molly Ringwald maintains that Duckie was gay but didn't know it, but the director refutes this view and Cryer agrees.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:22 AM on November 30, 2022 [8 favorites]

As someone who was in high school at that time, Duckie didn't read to me as gay. There were Duckies in my school, and plenty of Blanes and Steffs as well.
The gay Duckie question gets all the attention but I think the issue more deserving of attention in that movie is why is James Spader (I always want to say David Spade - that would have been a different movie) still in high school when he looked like a well used thirty year old?
posted by conifer at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

"I want to stand up for all the slightly effeminate dorks that are actually heterosexual." - John Cryer, from the above link from miss-lapin.

Me too. I have no idea if this fictional character who claimed to be straight was actually straight. But I thought we were supposed to listen to, and believe people. Does that apply to fictional characters? Anyway, I was kind of an effeminate dork in high school and I was pretty darn straight. I'd say I've always been about 85% straight.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:08 PM on November 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

But I thought we were supposed to listen to, and believe people.

Unfortunately for a long time, homosexual characters could not be overtly identified as gay because of the Hays Code and had to be essentially be hidden in plain sight. There are a lot of absolutely fascinating articles on it.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was the movie that my friends all dragged me to as a surprise birthday party when I turned 16. It was like 2 in the afternoon and we were the only ones there, and they'd also dragged along a Hefty bag full of balloons they'd inflated for some reason so the guys started a volleyball game with them in the back of the theater while the girls watched the movie.

I don't remember quite so much of the movie itself, I was still reeling from the whole surprise party thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on November 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

I know I'm "supposed" to be rooting for Duckie, but damn, Duckie got on my nerves. (Frankly, so does Jon Cryer in general to some degree--I never liked weasely men.) It kinda made me have to root for the rich guy after that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2022 [6 favorites]

With the perspective of a few decades, pairing Andie up with the handsome guy she pined for was probably a better choice than implying the nerdy guy who hangs around "deserves" the girl just because he really wants her. Some Kind of Wonderful would basically remake this movie, with the genders swapped, and give it the intended ending; I think it was more successful there than it would have been here.
posted by mark k at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2022 [11 favorites]

People used to come up to me with surprising frequency and say, "I saw this movie last night with a girl in it who was just like you!" And the movie would always turn out to be either Labyrinth or Pretty in Pink.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:38 PM on November 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

I will also never forgive that dress. I figured the lesson of the movie is that we should all be free in our youth to make our own horribly hideous and regrettable decisions.
posted by mochapickle at 5:24 PM on November 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

This is another one I first saw at the drive-in. And then at the crumbling movie palace downtown.

Andie not ending up with Duckie doesn’t bother me like it does some people, because he reminds me so much of the closeted gay boys I knew back then.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:13 PM on November 30, 2022

That dress reveal was one of the greatest dress reveal travesty's in all the history of film costuming.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:12 AM on December 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

The sack dress was having a moment in high fashion right when this movie was made. Because they're not even flattering on models, it was a very short moment, but that year there were many similarly awful prom dresses. This does not make the pink dress less of a travesty but does explain it.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:34 AM on December 1, 2022 [3 favorites]

Found a brief interview with the costume designer here where she admits that even Molly Ringwald hated that dress.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:37 PM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Back in 1986/87 senior year, there were classmates that thought I looked like Duckie. I could just barely see a resemblance. It was probably no help that I was often out running around with this red head girl I knew from church. I don't think Duckie was gay, he was fay.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:26 PM on December 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

I had a few guy friends in hs who dressed like Duckie and they weren't gay, just more fashion forward at that age. (context: My hs years were 1981 - 1984). The divey new wave bar that Andie and her friends hung out at is exactly the kind of place me and my hs friends hung out at, lol.

As reprehensible as his character is, Spader in this role as Steff is my favorite Spader role. He plays the asshole perfectly. James Spader was my celebrity boyfriend (imaginary, of course).
posted by sundrop at 11:42 AM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just to clear things up, it's not simply Duckie's clothes that remind me of the gay boys I knew. Lots of boys had a similar style.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:32 PM on December 2, 2022

I was always ticked that the film expected us to believe Molly Ringwald's character was supposed to be poor, even though she had her own car and I forget what other luxuries that neither me nor my high school friends had.
posted by cheshyre at 7:13 PM on December 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Yeah - although it's true of most teen movies and TV shows, it never stops bothering me that we so rarely get anything approaching a realistic picture of poor kids' lives. I don't remember what the actual amount is, but there's a scene where Andie's father asks her how much she spent on an outfit, and the amount she said she spent on the shoes was some amount that seemed astronomical to me at the time. (To this day, I've never had a pair of shoes that cost more than $30, including dance shoes.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:03 PM on December 4, 2022

Kids back then could buy an old car for less than $400. You just had to know where to look and who to ask.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:15 PM on December 4, 2022

$400 for me back then might as well have been $40,000.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:49 PM on December 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Kids back then could buy an old car for less than $400. You just had to know where to look and who to ask.

You also had to actually HAVE $400. There were kids who didn't have that. I was one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:12 AM on December 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

« Older Movie: Teen Witch...   |  Movie: Mr. Majestyk... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments