Film / Some Kind of Wonderful

"It's not a great movie. It progresses slowly at times and it uses some fairly standard characters. But it is not about whether the hero will get the girl. It is about whether the hero should get the girl, and when was the last time you saw a movie that even knew that could be the question?"

A 1987 romantic teen drama written by John Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch, Some Kind of Wonderful is the last in Hughes's acclaimed cycle of teen films in The '80s.

The protagonist, Keith (Eric Stoltz), is a working-class student, who's in love with popular girl Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson). Meanwhile, his tomboyish best friend, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), is in love with him, but Keith doesn't notice that. Keith eventually asks Amanda out, right after she broke up with her jerk of a boyfriend, so, mainly out of spite, she says yes. Watts's jealousy causes conflict between her and Keith, but they reconcile, and Watts chauffeurs Keith to his date. At first, Keith and Amanda hit it off, but Keith realizes that he loves Watts. Amanda tells him to go to her, and they get together.

The film is similar to Hughes and Deutch's previous collaboration Pretty in Pink, with genders switched and the ending changed. Some Kind of Wonderful had a surprisingly good (but hard-to-find) young-adult novelization that really fleshed out the characters.

Contains examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Watts' Mini. Keith is humiliated when he borrows it to give Amanda a ride home, and it won't start.
  • All There in the Manual: According to the first draft of the script and the young-adult novelization, Watts's first name is Susan. Also, her parents are both dead and she lives with two neglectful older brothers.
    • One annoying plot hole is also filled in by the novelization: In the movie, we have no idea why Keith is waiting at a club in the hopes that Amanda will show up. In the book, it's explained that she told him she was a big fan of the band who was playing.
  • Alpha Bitch: Subverted with Amanda; she runs with the rich and popular crowd, and Watts tries to stop Keith from dating her because she thinks Amanda is the Alpha Bitch, but she's actually a very nice girl (and working-class, like Watts and Keith).:
    Keith: She's not big money. Do you know where she lives?
    Watts: Yeah, in our sector. But she runs with the rich and the beautiful .. .which is guilt by association.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Keith's sister, Laura.
  • Bifauxnen: Watts in the last act.
  • Badass Boast: Duncan, Keith's skinhead delinquent friend, to Jerk Jock Hardy:
    Duncan: I'm here to wipe the floor with your ass, and you know it, and everybody here knows it, and above all, you deserve it. In fact, I think it's safe to say that this party is about to become a historical fact.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Amanda is set up to be this, but really isn't. Hardy is this.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Part of Watts' masculine look.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Watts.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Watts wears them.
  • If You Do Anything to Hurt Him: As Watts tells Amanda, "You break his heart, I break your face."
  • Inter-Class Romance: Keith and Amanda.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Amanda telling Keith to go to Watts.
  • Jerkass: Hardy Jenns ("With two 'N's!"). He's, like... the perfect asshole.
  • Jerkass Fašade: Duncan, Keith's skinhead/biker friend, is actually quite nice and polite and does his best to look out for Keith and Amanda.
  • Jerk Jock: Amanda's boyfriend, Hardy. See Manipulative Bastard for how he gets away with it.
  • Just Friends: Keith and Watts, for most of the movie.
  • The Lad-ette: Watts. Before the Practice Kiss, she even says to Keith: "Pretend I'm a girl."
  • Last Minute Hookup: Watts and Keith.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Amanda, as it turns out.
  • Love Epiphany: Keith, at the end.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Hardy. He easily projects an affable persona, manages to turn people's insecurities back on them with ease, and even manages to con people who should know better.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Watts and Keith. She is a tomboyish drummer, he's a shy and sensitive artist.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Watts. At the beginning, a guy tells to her that she has "a little bit too much up front to be a guy" so she has to be a lesbian.
  • Oblivious to Love: Keith doesn't realise Watts's feelings for him, and his for her, till right at the end.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hardy gets a massive one at the end when Duncan, Keith's new biker/skinhead friend, show up at his party with a bunch of his fellow delinquents. Of course, the Oh, Crap! moment, and preventing Hardy from throwing Keith a beating, was the entire point of showing up to Hardy's party in the first place.
    Duncan: (to Keith, as Keith is leaving with Amanda) "We're gonna bring this party up to a nice respectable level. Don't worry, we're not gonna hurt anyone. We're not even gonna touch 'em. We're just gonna make 'em cry a little... just by lookin' at 'em."
  • One of the Boys: Watts.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Watts tries this on Keith at one point.
  • Practice Kiss: Keith is convinced by Watts that he should kiss her for practice before he goes out with Amanda. Following it, Keith looks like he's been hit by a train.
  • Same Story, Different Names: Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty in Pink.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Averted; Watts doesn't change her tomboyish style, and still gets the guy. She does dress up in the last act, but she puts on a male chauffeur's uniform, not a dress.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Amanda lampshades this after Keith shows her his painting.
  • This Explains So Much:
    Ray: If you wanted to, you could be a that!
    Watts: Ray, this is 1987. Did you know that a girl can be whatever she wants to be?
    Ray: I know, my mom's a plumber.
    Watts: That explains a lot about you, Ray.
  • Theme Naming: Keith and Watts are both named after members of The Rolling Stones, and "Miss Amanda Jones" was the title of one of their songs.
  • Titled After the Song
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Watts and Amanda.
  • Tomboyish Name: Watts uses her last name.
  • Triang Relations
  • Victorious Childhood Friend
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Watts, sorta. She usually only wears t-shirts or tank tops, loose jeans or shorts. She even gets teased by other girls for wearing boxers. At the end of the movie, she wears a very fancy chauffeur's suit.
  • You Never Asked: Watts tells this to Keith.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Inverted during the "kissing practice" scene:
    Watts: She'll probably do this. (puts her arms around Keith's shoulders)
    Keith: How do you know all this?
    Watts: (getting annoyed) ... I watch a lot of TV.

Alternative Title(s): Some Kind Of Wonderful