Some Kind of Formula

It’s unavoidable to ignore how Some Kind of Wonderful mirrors John Hughes’ other high school scripts, only centered on Eric Stoltz rather than Molly Ringwald. A love triangle, the rich jerk, and parents not understanding any of it; calling it routine is being gentle.

To Some Kind of Wonderful’s credit, it’s broader in scope than a Pretty in Pink. Focusing on Stoltz, he’s pulled between a future in business or art, while his father doesn’t want a son working with his hands. There’s a demeaning impression of blue collar work. A better life is only available through a college degree, ignoring Stoltz’s own interests, as much as believing higher education is the only route to success.

Some Kind of Wonderful makes Masterson infinitely likable with a sarcastic bite

The star is Mary Stuart Masterson though, struggling with an identity where she can’t fit into a middle American culture. A key scene where she stares at Lea Thompson’s body, seeing herself as imperfect, worried her figure can’t match Thompson’s, speaks to a broader cultural concern. Her looks further draw derogatory comments about lesbianism, ensnaring the ‘80s in their hateful rhetoric and the pressure those slurs caused.

Some Kind of Wonderful does what teen romances do, bringing into question who Stoltz will choose between Thompson and Masterson. Yet, there’s only one possibility given Some Kind of Wonderful’s theme: Acceptance and being free to not fit in. Stoltz isn’t an athlete, a bully, or geek. Masterson doesn’t embrace surface looks or mainstream values. By the end, it’s a matter of helping others see the positive in individuality, not force those outsiders to conform and lose themselves.

To a fault though, the script plays in a normative zone, appealing to a wide audience on its romantic whims, charming humor, and stock bit parts. Some Kind of Wonderful makes Masterson infinitely likable with a sarcastic bite, and Stoltz, for his average middle class high schooler, is designed to swoon young women as he walks across the screen. Other than Masterson’s choice outfits, there’s little “odd” about them to celebrate or notice. Maybe that’s just time however. Changing social norms made the differences less apparent – and thanks to movies like Some Kind of Wonderful. In its methods, there is progressive thinking processes, even if touched only by cliché.

Video

A middling debut on Paramount Blu-ray, sourced from an older master going by looks alone. Resolution never rises above fair, producing so-so fidelity. Slightly misty cinematography reduces sharpness at the source, but there’s a further reduction by way of this disc. Texture doesn’t stand a chance, merely squeezing out.

Grain juts forward, well resolved by the encoding, if certainly thick thanks to the dated scan. Imprecision defines this presentation overall. Given Some Kind of Wonderful’s inclusion inside a John Hughes box set (with no stand alone release), there’s not much attention given.

Thankfully, Some Kind of Wonderful creates high contrast, consistently bright and pure. While saturation doesn’t leap from the screen, it’s pleasingly natural. Accurate flesh tones and firm primaries both work simultaneously.

Audio

Nothing stands out in particular about the TrueHD 5.1 mix. The pure ’80s soundtrack gives the track some depth, including bass. Dry dialog sounds typical from the era.

Minor ambiance reaches surround channels when near busy streets. It’s enough to notice the rears working since the rest sits firmly in the center.

Extras

Commentary comes from Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch. That’s followed by a new interview with Deutch (almost seven minutes), an older making of featurette (over seven minutes), a cast rundown (13-minutes), and a Hughes interview with Kevin Bacon (11-minutes).

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Some Kind of Wonderful
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Movie

A movie about fitting in while feeling different than the rest, Some Kind of Wonderful doesn’t break many cliches in its method.

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