Pretty in Pink – Required Viewing

“You know, it’s so insane that someone you’ve never met, never talked to can be your enemy.”  – Andie

There are a handful of movies that I can watch over and over and I will have the same feeling that I had when I saw it for the first time.  The music, the clothes, the lingo, the outsider-misfits, Annie Potts, EVERYTHING.  It is the type of 80’s movie that was my 80’s experience (minus Annie Potts, of course) and the type of nostalgia I not only approve of, but I highly endorse.  James Spader made a career out of being a total dick and he was never better at it than in Pretty in Pink.

“I know I’m old enough to be his mother, but when the Duck laid that kiss on me last night, I swear my thighs just went up in flames! He must practice on melons or something.” – Iona

This movie reminds me of driving around, listening to music and thrift shopping with with friends.  This movie


The Wiki:

Pretty in Pink is a 1986 American teen romantic comedy-drama film about love and social cliques in 1980s American high schools. It is one of John Hughes’s films starring Molly Ringwald, and is commonly identified as a “Brat Pack” film. The film was directed by Howard Deutch, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and written by John Hughes. It has become a cult favorite.

In addition to having a last scene more powerful in its ambiguity (“Wait. Is this supposed to be a happy ending or not?”) than any movie since Casablanca, Pretty in Pink also had a soundtrack full of songs that will be burned in your mind forever.  Classic entries from some of the great indie bands of the time—like Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order, The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and Suzanne Vega. You’ll never be able to hear these songs separated from the movie again, and for that they will be a thousand times richer. Here are my ten favorite musical moments, in reverse chronological order:

10. With a two-measure count off and a classic drum hit, the movie begins. Andie suits up for school and chews out brokenhearted and deadbeat dad Harry Dean Stanton for not getting up to find a job. They are poor, but loving and dignified. “Pretty in Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs plays in the background.

9. Annie Potts rants to Andie on the perils of not going to the prom while fending off album and magazine browsers in their retail record store Trax—Andie smacks the magazine out of a kid’s hand with a pencil, Iona shoots a kid with a staple gun (“You missed my eye by an inch!” “Half an inch.”). The store’s stereo pipes in Danny Hutton’s “Wouldn’t it Be Good”.

8. Andie teaches the unreceptive Duckie about the Russian Revolution and for the only time in the movie, shows true friendship and compassion for the Duck, hoping that she “isn’t the only person how realized how wonderful [he] is.” She leaves to get a drink, and he collapses on the bed in love. Inspired, he picks up Andie’s hairbrush, and sings a very special rendition of John Lennon’s “Love” to her dog (and to Andie, who unbeknownst to Duckie, can hear through the vents).

7. Iona puts Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” on the record player at Trax. Duckie bursts in and begins to lip synch and dance. Afterwards, an unimpressed and embittered Andie (having been seemingly stood up by Blaine) rolls her eyes and remarks to Iona (referring to Duckie) “ever have one of these?”

6. The morning after Blaine and Andie’s fateful date and glorious first kiss, Duckie—having sworn off riding past Andie’s house on his bike—rides past Andie’s house on his bike, bitter and in seclusion. Appropriately, New Order’s “Shellshock” provides the soundtrack.

5. Iona, prompted by Andie’s new romance, waxes nostalgic about her own prom days, raving about her butt and wondering “why can’t we start old and get younger?” They slow dance to the Association’s classic “Cherish”.

4. While Blaine and Andie have a roll in the hay (literally, but not figuratively), Duckie sits at home on his bed in tinted sunglasses, throwing playing cards into his hat and listening to The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”.

3. Andie, so pissed off about being ignored by the cowardly Blaine on the advice of his evil friend James Spader that she waits outside one of his classes and confronts him as New Order’s peerless “Elegia” plays.

2. Andie, having officially been dumped by Blaine, puts on a brave face and suits up for prom anyway, looking as pretty in pink as ever and becoming a source of courage and an example for wallflowers worldwide. “I just want to let them know they didn’t break me,” she states. The last, and most effective New Order tune of all, “Thieves Like Us,” highlights the scene.

1. Duckie and Andie hold on to each others’ hands for dear life, and brace the prom, where a devastated looking Blaine finally tells off his evil friend James Spader and makes one last bid for Andie’s affections.  Duckie, who has insisted from the beginning of the movie that his one goal in life is to make sure Andie is happy, sees how unhappy she is and will be with himself, and heroically tells her to go to Blaine.  Orchestral Manouevers in the Dark’s gorgeous “If You Leave” makes the scene one of the best in cinematic history.


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