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Pretty In Pink

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 96 minutes

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader and Andrew McCarthy

Written by: John Hughes

Directed by: Howard Deutch

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: None

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (15 Scenes)

Released: August 20th, 2002

 

 

John Hughes was a one man institution in the 1980s, as we should all know. He pretty much defined the genre "teen movie" and created some great classics in the time period.While it seemed to be a fad then that was jump started again in the late 90s (but with more horror edges to them), I know when I think about teen films in genre, the works of Hughes always comes to mind. While Hughes went on to do more mainstream comedic fair for a broader audience ("Home Alone," "Baby's Day Out"), what was so great about his work for teens in the 1980s was that Hughes knew what it was like to be a teen: the peer pressures, the heartaches, dealing with parents, backgrounds, how teens are compared to peers and so on. And despite the laughs, there is heart in all of his flicks.

"Pretty In Pink," which Hughes did not direct, remains a giant favorite in the genre. It's probably his most beloved right next to "Sixteen Candles" and The Breakfast Club. The story follows Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald). She's poor, she's unpopular and everyone seems to pick on her. Her friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) is obsessed with her, but the poor and rich worlds are about to collide when Andie meets Blane (Andrew McCarthy). The two hit it off, but will their own weights hold them back from coming together?

"Pretty In Pink" is not my favorite of the genre. Personally, while I find it fun, the first hour can be a little dull and even boring sometimes. There are some funny, even a tad bit ridiculous moments, but this is an interesting character study of sorts. It's sorta like "Romeo and Juliet" for a 1980s high school generation: two different people attracted to one another from different ends, and worried what their sides may think (moreso the rich side than the poor).

I think the movie picks up toward the last half-hour. In that 30 minutes alone, there are really strong, dramatic, true and excellent scenes that are so inspiring (well, to a degree). Andie confronting her father about their mother, Iona giving a heartfelt talk to Andie, Duckie standing up to the rich bully and the prom scene, where Duckie and Blane come to terms with all their issues... it's great. Each of the scenes are so well written, so effective and simple in nature... but I love them. They really got me going and really represent what this film is.

I assume pink stands for standing out and some kind of happiness and being noticed for a different, unique reason. I think Hughes' intention and detail is along that line. There are also some finely crafted scenes about the rich judging and not accepting the poor, all not only for their egos, but their insecurities as well. The two different worlds coming together has been done before, but it still works here and it's not overly done or in some preachy manner.

But there's a lot more to like about "Pretty in Pink." Howard Deutch makes a fine directing debut and is good for films like this, and there's an excellent score from Michael Gore that really works. The performances are outstanding as well (and you have an Andrew Dice Clay cameo no less!). Molly Ringwald is a great fit as the lovelorn Andie who must come to terms with her friends, her heartbroken father and what going out with Blane might mean. It's very emotional role and Ringwald handles it with ease.

Jon Cryer is excellent as the crazy Duckie, and Andrew McCarthy is so sweet and tender as Blane. James Spader, Annie Potts and Harry Dean Stanton are excellent in shorter but heavy character supporting roles. "Pretty In Pink" is just a little uneven for my tastes, but the acting, classic 1980s music and stronger moments surely make this a nice classic.

 

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is actually quite nice. There are a lot of scratches, nicks, blemishes and pieces of dirt on the print which sorta get annoying. There's also some noise and shimmering on the transfer, and it's a bit grainy and sorta faded at time. Still, the detail on the transfer is excellent, fleshtones are really good and color saturation is very bold, strong and vibrant. The color saturation sorta gives the transfer a bit more life. No edge enhacment, either. It looks very natural and looks pretty great, despite the flaws.

 

The English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is actually really nice. It doesn't break new ground, and is often pretty direct, but it does tend to be a bit creative and go in a few new directions (no pun intended) from time to time to give it an extra strong punch. Dialogue is great as it has held up pretty well; crisp and clear (just the way I like it). Subtle surround effects make a lot of this fly though, such as doors opening and loud noises. The music sounds the best though. Be it Michael Gore's awesome rock-driven score or the 1980s songs used, they spread like wildfire through the channels with excellent subwoofer use. I will admit a lot of the more creative effects got me into the film a tad bit more. Dynamic range and fidelity is pretty excellent, and like with nearly all Paramount titles, there's a fine balance between the sound elements. Nicely done. Also included are French mono and English Dolby Surround tracks, plus English subtitles and English closed captions.

 

Sadly, nothing at all. Damn. I just love it though how Paramount says on the back of the box "Special Features Not Rated" when they're none to speak of. Hilarious! It's too bad there's not even the alternate ending or deleted scenes here, because I know thos exist. Ah well...

 

"Pretty In Pink" is not my favorite John Hughes flick (that honor goes to Some Kind Of Wonderful), but it's pretty good and I can definently see why so many people get into it and relate to what the film says. The presentation is above average, but it's too bad that there are no supplements. Diehard fans of the movie, be sure to check it out.