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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Howard Deutch
Cast:
Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy, Jim Haynie, Alexa Kenin, Kate Vernon, Andrew Dice Clay, Emily Longstreth, Margaret Colin, Jamie Anders, Gina Gershon
Writing Credits:
John Hughes

Tagline:
Blane's a pretty cool guy. Andie's pretty in pink. And Ducky's pretty crazy.

Synopsis:
Pretty but poor, Andie's (Molly Ringwald) a good student who develops a crush on Blane (Andrew McCarthy), the sensitive, well-born preppie. But Blane runs with a fast crowd of haughty rich kids, the kind of clique Andie and her new wavy best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) can't stand. Going against her fretting father (Harry Dean Stanton), peer pressure and social expectations, she decides to date him. But their big plans for the senior prom ultimately fall apart when Blane heeds his friend Steff's (James Spader) warning to "quit slumming." Will Blane find the courage to claim what he really wants and give up the so-called friends he doesn't need?

This classic 1980s teen film from the master of the genre, writer-producer John Hughes features plenty of great '80s pop tunes from the Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, Echo and The Bunnymen, New Order, and more. The continued success of Hughes' films and actors ushered in the era of the "brat pack" and teen films as pop culture.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6.065 million on 827 screens.
Domestic Gross
$40.471 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 8/29/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Howard Deutch
• “The First Time: The Making of Pretty in Pink” Featurette
• “Zoids and Richies” Featurette
• “Prom Queen: All About Molly” Featurette
• “Volcanic Ensembles” Featurette
• “Prom Stories” Featurette
• “Favorite Scenes”
• “The Lost Dance: The Original Ending” Featurette
• “Wrap Up: The Epilogue” Featurette
• Photo Gallery


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Pretty In Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 18, 2006)

After the success of 1984’s 16 Candles and 1985’s The Breakfast Club, filmmakers John Hughes returned to the teen angst well with 1986’s Pretty in Pink. The film introduces us to high school senior Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald). She lives with her boozehound, underachieving dad Jack (Harry Dean Stanton) and maintains her own quirky sense of individuality at school. She debates whether she wants to attend the upcoming prom, an issue complicated since most of the guys she attracts aren’t her type. Nerdy Duckie Dale (Jon Cryer) crushes on her, but she doesn’t feel any sizzle for him, and smarmy Steff (James Spader) just wants to use her for sex.

Into her life steps rich kid Blane McDonnagh (Andrew McCarthy). They share a few fleeting moments but don’t get a chance to truly connect. When they finally make a date, she’s too embarrassed by her impoverished home life to have him pick her up there. The film follows their attempts to overcome the rich vs. poor peer pressures that affect their relationship, and we also see what their interactions do to Duckie and some others.

Since I was in my teens when Hughes’ flicks hit it big, I was a part of their basic target audience. This means that if nothing else comes from screenings of his works 20 years later, I should probably dig them for basic nostalgia value. Unfortunately, the dull and forgettable Pink can’t even muster that level of interest in me.

Maybe the problem stems from the fact that Pink shoots for more of a feminine audience. I suppose this acts as a chick flick fantasy for all the quirky girls who can maintain the dream that they can be themselves, beat the generic blonde girls and get the smart, sensitive cute boy. I don’t know if this ever happens in real life, but those misfit babes sure ate up this tripe.

Frankly, I could never figure out why all these guys were so attracted to Andie. I guess I understand Duckie since he’s a weirdo, but the others think she’s way hotter than she really is. She’s not particularly good-looking, and she dresses like a New Wave bag lady. I certainly see no particularly memorable or endearing personality traits in Andie, so we have to believe that her looks and her looks alone lure in the non-Duckies of the world. I just find that tough to accept.

I hate to admit it, but I identify more with Duckie than anyone else in the movie. That means I should like him the most, but honestly, I couldn’t stand the little freak. Duckie’s far too annoying to be the lovable loser. He feels like an artificial cinematic creation and he just gets on my nerves. I really grew to hate him as the film progressed. Duckie’s charmless and irritating, issues exemplified by the long, pointless bit in which he lip-synchs to “Try a Little Tenderness”.

Pink is as Eighties as it gets. From the music, fashions, and general style, it hasn’t aged particularly well, so it serves as little more than an exercise in nostalgia. Maybe I’m just too far from my high school years to connect to this kind of thing, but I’d think that should carry it to some degree. Unfortunately, we just get unmemorable characters without much of interest to move along the plot.

Footnote 1: if you want to see the one scene that most dates the movie, head to chapter 13 to check out Iona’s (Annie Potts) “modern” outfit. She’s another one with a quirky sense of fashion, so we’re supposed to think she looks great when she goes Eighties. This is actually the worst look she sports at any time during the movie, a fact that makes the scene laughable.

Footnote 2: Pink presents a few interesting glimpses of actors who’d go on to bigger things later. Andrew “Dice” Clay shows up as the nightclub bouncer, and Gina Gershon plays a student. Margaret Colin also pops up as a teacher and Kristy Swanson is the girl who ends up with Duckie. No, none of these folks became enormo-stars, but it’s fun to check them out in these small parts.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Pretty in Pink appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Pink provided a decent but erratic presentation.

Sharpness seemed fairly distinct and detailed, though the movie displayed some general blandness that was likely due to the film stock of the era. Many Eighties pictures haven’t held up especially well in this regard, and Pink looked like a product of its era. Exterior shots appeared nicely crisp and clear, but interiors could be somewhat drab and flat. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, but I noticed moderate edge enhancement at times. Print flaws seemed minor. Some light grain appeared, but only a few rare specks otherwise marred this clean image.

Colors appeared acceptably natural and accurate throughout the movie, but at times they could look drab and bland. The worst examples occurred during interior shots, which were a bit murky. The red lighting of a nightclub was especially muddy. Exteriors offered better definition and looked pretty solid. Black levels seemed acceptably dark though a little dull, and shadow detail was similarly flat. Low-light scenes generally appeared fairly easy to discern, but they looked too lackluster to be anything impressive. This was a perfectly acceptable transfer given the source material but not an especially memorable presentation.

I felt the same about the lackluster Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Pretty in Pink. The forward spectrum dominated and showed some decent stereo imaging. The music spread cleanly across the front speakers, and I also heard occasional use of discrete effects. These panned relatively well across the channels, and the forward audio seemed cleanly integrated. Very little came from the surrounds. They throw out some musical reinforcement but little else.

Audio quality wasn’t impressive. Speech seemed fine, though, as the lines only suffered from a smidgen of edginess. Usually they were clean and distinctive. Effects played a minor role. They appeared acceptably accurate but not particularly rich. Music was the biggest disappointment. Bass response was an issue, as the various pop/rock songs lacked notable low-end. All of this left us with a rather mediocre soundtrack.

Via this “Everything’s Duckie” edition of Pretty in Pink, we get a mix of supplements. These open with an audio commentary from director Howard Deutch. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the film. Deutch discusses working with John Hughes and director of photography Tak Fujimoto, cuts, edits and rewrites, the alternate ending, cast, characters and performances, costumes and music, and sets and production design.

That scope makes this sound like it’ll be an interesting commentary. Unfortunately, it drags an awful lot and never becomes better than mediocre. The main problem stems from the acres of dead air. Deutch goes long periods with no information, and those moments mean that the track becomes tedious. Deutch offers some decent material at times, but the commentary usually seems dull.

Most of the remaining extras revolve around featurettes. The First Time: The Making of Pretty in Pink goes for 12 minutes and 54 seconds. It mixes movie snippets, archival materials, and interviews with Deutch, writer/executive producer John Hughes (in 1985), producer Lauren Shuler Donner, and actors Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, and Andrew McCarthy.

The show looks at the script and its development, how Deutch came onto the project, performances, Hughes’ impact on the production, and the movie’s cinematography. We also hear about music and how all the parties collaborated. Inevitably, some of the material repeats from the commentary, but “Time” acts as a decent overview of the production. It’s too brief and superficial, though; I’d have liked a longer, more detailed program. This one throws out some nice notes but not a ton of specifics.

During the 18-minute and 26-second Zoids and Richies, we hear from Hughes (in 1985), Deutch, Ringwald, Cryer, McCarthy, Shuler Donner, and actor Annie Potts. The program looks at casting and other actors considered for some of the parts, characters and performances, rehearsals and relationships during the shoot. “Zoids” fleshes out actor-related subjects quite well. I like learning about other casting options, and we find some nice stories about filming the flick. “Zoids” turns into an informative little piece.

The lead actress takes the spotlight in Prom Queen: All About Molly. It runs 12 minutes, 42 seconds and includes notes from Ringwald, Hughes (1985), Donner, Potts, McCarthy and Deutch. We learn about Ringwald’s teen life during the shoot, how her relationship with Hughes developed, Ringwald’s take on her character and how she related to her, and various aspects of the production. I feared that “Queen” would be little more than a puff piece to talk about the greatness of Ringwald, but it gives us more depth than that. We learn insights into her career and work, especially as they relate to Pink. It succeeds as a nice program.

More about Andie’s clothes shows up in the nine-minute and 17-second Volcanic Ensembles. It features Deutch, Cryer, Ringwald, Potts, and costume designer Marilyn Vance. As expected, we get details on costume design and how the filmmakers chose all the different outfits. The piece digs into the topic with acceptable gusto and provides solid notes about this area of the production.

A short series of memories appear during Prom Stories. It offers thoughts from McCarthy, Shuler, Deutch, Potts, and Ringwald, and goes for three minutes, 10 seconds. Only Ringwald’s statements come from new interviews; the others all emanate from 1985. Some mildly amusing stories emerge, but don’t get your hopes up for anything scintillating. This is a forgettable piece.

More cast and crew reflections pop up in an area called Favorite Scenes. We look at eight different segments for a total running time of 20 minutes and 18 seconds. In addition to glimpses of the various scenes, we find comments from Ringwald, Deutch, Cryer, Potts, and actor Kate Vernon. We watch a mix of sequences and get insights into their creation. I feared this would just be a lot of blather and praise, but it gives us good information about the production. We definitely learn a lot in this useful featuette.

A look at deleted material shows via The Lost Dance: The Original Ending (12:16). It includes remarks from McCarthy, Cryer, Donner, Ringwald, Potts and Deutch. We hear about the nature of the original ending and learn about its shoot along why the filmmakers dropped it. We also get remarks about the reshoot for the ending actually used in the film. I’d have liked to see the actual footage of the cut ending, but we find out so much about it that we don’t lose much by not watching it. “Dance” covers the subject well.

For a summary of the film, we move to Wrap Up: The Epilogue. The six-minute and 45-second show features Hughes (1985), Donner, Cryer, McCarthy, Ringwald, Potts, and Deutch. They discuss their thoughts on how the flick would do at the time, current appraisals of it, considerations about a sequel, and general notions related to Pink. They give us a slightly puffy but generally thoughtful capper on the DVD’s extras.

The DVD ends with a Photo Gallery that includes 29 shots. These mix publicity images and snaps from the set. They’re forgettable for the most part. No trailer for Pink comes on this disc.

In the Eighties, John Hughes milked teen drama for all it was worth, but that doesn’t mean he did so with consistent success. As someone who went to high school in that era, I should enjoy this nonsense if just due to my memories, but Pretty in Pink is so overwrought and cheesy that I found it tough to take. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a very nice set of extras. The audio commentary bores, but the rest of the supplements add quite a lot to the set. I can’t recommend this tedious film to new viewers, but I expect the DVD will please fans of Pink.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.34 Stars Number of Votes: 50
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main