116. Pretty In Pink


Movie: Pretty in Pink

Release Date: February 28, 1986

Director: Howard Deutch

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

Tag Lines: “He’s good. She’s good. He’s just Duckie.”

“The laughter. The lovers. The friends. The fights. The talk. The hurt. The jealousy. The passion. The pressure. The real world.”

“Blane’s a pretty cool guy. Andie’s pretty in pink. And Ducky’s pretty crazy.”

“He’s crazy about her. She’s crazy about him. He’s just crazy.”

Relevance: I was seven months into my Freshman year in High School when ‘Pretty in Pink’ was released in theaters. By that time, I was starting to get “into the groove” of things, as they say. I made some friends, adapted to the course work and survived each day relatively unharmed. High School is not a shy, introverted human being’s friend. Filled with social cliques and bullies, it was difficult for me each day, but I managed with the help of my very best friend in life, music.

Music has always been my saving grace and it most definitely was at the very ripe age of fifteen. By that time, I had found my lord and savior, Madonna. (Some people believe in God, I believe in Madonna.) I was a fan of hers from 1983 and really never looked back. But contrary to what people believe, I also enjoyed a lot of other different artists and groups as well. INXS, U2, Depeche Mode, Wham!, Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper and Howard Jones are just a few of the artists that I held in very high esteem. I loved pop music and sang and danced all of my troubles away by watching MTV and listening to the radio. Any bad day was instantly cured by those soothing sights and sounds.

Another one of my favorite groups from the 1980’s (and one that I still listen to today) was Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or OMD. Their 1985 “Crush” album, which I owned on cassette, was probably the one that I listened to the most, outside of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”. Songs like “So In Love” and “Secret” could be heard blaring out of my boombox at any given time of the day. In April of 1986, I saw the video for their new song “If You Leave” on MTV and was instantly hooked. The song was pure pop genius and the video was simply a musical trailer for the movie ‘Pretty in Pink.’ I immediately went out and bought the cassette for the soundtrack which was then placed in very heavy rotation in my room.

I am sure that I was aware of the movie ‘Pretty in Pink’ when it was released in late February of 1986, but for some reason I did not see it in theaters. However, once I heard OMD’s “If You Leave” and the rest of the soundtrack which also included INXS, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Psychedelic Furs, it immediately jumped to the top of my must see list. OMD’s song reached number four on the United States’ Billboard chart and was the song of the summer. It was played constantly on popular radio stations and is one that I never tired of. I loved listening to it and singing every word at the top of my lungs. I was still singing it when ‘Pretty in Pink’ was released as a rental sometime later that year.

I rented the film and fell absolutely in love with it. It was a pretty standard romantic high school teen comedy, but with the wit and insight of John Hughes, its screenwriter. I was a huge fan of Mr. Hughes’ films as both writer and director and ‘Pretty in Pink’ was no exception. It was sweet and charming and really funny thanks to the wonderful performances of the talented young cast. I watched the film a few times before shuffling it back to Blockbuster and thankful I had the soundtrack so that I could relive it over and over again.

When the film started playing on HBO, it was a movie that I watched incessantly. Even my mom got into this teen comedy thanks to Annie Potts. My mom loved Annie Potts as an actress and absolutely adored her role of Iona. I could still hear her belly laughs when Iona shot the staple at a kid’s eye in her record store or danced with Molly Ringwald in her prom dress and beehive hairdo. My mom also loved the character of Duckie, played by Jon Cryer. He was my favorite character in the film. His hair, clothing and lip sync to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” were iconic and something I tried to emulate daily.

‘Pretty in Pink’ remained one of my favorite films in high school and one that I eventually owned. Not only did it have great music, but it had a great story and message for my then younger self. It is a tremendous snapshot of what my life was like as a teenager in the 1980’s. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the ’80’s. And ‘Pretty in Pink,’ both the film and the music, is one of the many reasons why.

Today’s Thoughts: “It’s called a sense of humor – you should get one – they’re nice.”

Every time I watch ‘Pretty in Pink’ or any movie from the 1980’s, I am reminded of how simple life really was back then. Of course I didn’t feel that way at the time, but looking back, it really was a time of innocence. So how could I not love watching it again today, in the year 2020, the year that should be erased from all existence.

‘Pretty in Pink’ remains as funny and charming as it was back in 1986. I really enjoyed watching it today because for those ninety-six minutes I was fifteen again laughing at Duckie and swooning at Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. The cast was the perfect 1980’s cast. Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, the always evil James Spader, Harry Dean Stanton and Annie Potts are all wonderful. Watching it today I related a lot more to Ms. Potts character than any others, for obvious reasons. I am now old. Although I didn’t watch wearing a beehive, I was filled with nostalgia for those beautiful carefree days of the 1980’s.

Although receiving decent reviews and having moderate success at the box office, ‘Pretty in Pink’ doesn’t get the recognition that other films from that decade often get. Maybe it was overshadowed by its glorious soundtrack. In my humble opinion, it shouldn’t be overlooked. It is heartwarming and honest and really sweet with lots of humor and great music sprinkled throughout. Speaking of that music, it is now time for a little OMD.

Ways to Watch: Hulu, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, ITunes, DVD Availability.


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