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Monday, September 16, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I'll readily be the first one to admit that coming up with blog topics for this venture is not always easy. And sometimes I resort to checking a variety of references in order to come up with a topic that will make people want to read it.

And just what are some of these sources of inspiration?

Well, I do have a small library of pop culture books that I flip through often. Sometimes I'll get an idea from inside the pages of a reference book and run with it. Not today though.

Sometimes I'll be inspired for topics by perusing social networking communities like Facebook. Occasionally, I'll see someone on my news feed commenting on a particular pop culture tidbit and it will inspire me to do a blog topic on the subject. In fact, a lot of the current event blogs that I have done were inspired as a result of scanning my Facebook news feed.

But while I am definitely one to get inspiration from Facebook...this is not one of these entries.

No, admittedly this blog was inspired by my tastes in music. Oh, and the pink text? We're getting to that.

Ever since I received my iPod as a gift, I have been downloading songs onto it like crazy. I have all of my favourite songs on it, and I listen to my iPod at least once a day. It's certainly a lot less bulkier than a Walkman or a Discman, and I can literally take it anywhere I want to.

So, when I knew that I had a Monday Matinee feature coming up in the future, I decided to consult the power of the iPod to help me make up my mind. I happen to have a rather large selection of songs that come from movie soundtracks in my collection, and my theory was that whatever the first soundtrack song that popped up when I set my iPod to shuffle would be the movie in which that song appears in. It was a great plan.

Unfortunately, the first three songs that popped up came from movies that I have already featured in the Monday Matinee (and in one case, a Tuesday Timeline entry). And, I never cover the same movie twice.

Then by around soundtrack song number four, the following song appeared. And it was there that I had my Monday Matinee for today!

ARTIST: The Psychadelic Furs
SONG: Pretty In Pink
ALBUM: Talk, Talk, Talk
DATE RELEASED: May 21, 1981

Now, you might notice that there's a star beside the chart position. I'll get to that.

The song was originally released in 1981 with a slightly different arrangement by The Psychadelic Furs – a group based out of the UK that at the time of the song's release featured members Richard Butler, Tim Butler, Duncan Kilburn, Roger Morris, Vince Ely, and John Ashton.

Now in 1981, the song didn't exactly chart in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it just missed the Top 40.

So, how did the song end up eventually peaking at just under the Top 40 on the Billboard Charts?

Well, let's fast forward five years to 1986. In 1986, The Psychadelic Furs re-recorded the song “Pretty In Pink” for the soundtrack of a John Hughes written, Howard Deutch directed film. The 1986 version sounded almost identical to the 1981 version...the only difference was that it was slightly modernized. In 1986, the reworked version of “Pretty In Pink” was released on the Billboard Charts, and that's how it made it to #41. In the United Kingdom, the re-released “Pretty In Pink” charted even higher than its original version, peaking within the Top 20!

Pretty In Pink” was certainly very popular. My own sister even bought the cassette tape soundtrack for the film (which amusingly enough was pink), and the soundtrack boasted other singles from Echo and the Bunnymen, Suzanne Vega, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and INXS. No wonder the film soundtrack sold so well in record stores!

Ah, but what about the movie? Well, as it turned out, the movie also did very well at the box office. Many people would even consider it to be one of John Hughes' most memorable films!

And as it so happens, the name of the film happens to be the same as that Psychadelic Furs single.

This is the blog entry on the 1986 film “Pretty In Pink”.

The movie was released on February 28, 1986 and earned a total of $40 million at the box office. Molly Ringwald – who according to some people was the Queen of the Brat Pack – was the star of the film, and other actors who appeared in the film were Harry Dean Stanton, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, James Spader, Kate Vernon, and Annie Potts.

Now, “Pretty In Pink” is a film that could be classified as one of those romantic comedies, so naturally there has to be some sort of conflict in terms of finding one's true love.

In the case of high school senior Andie Walsh (Ringwald), it was class division that posed a huge problem when it came to love and romance. Trust me, I could definitely relate to that one.

It wasn't as though Andie's father Jack (Stanton) hasn't tried to give his little girl everything that she needed. But with jobs being scarce in town and Andie's mother not in the picture, Andie's family struggled financially, and Andie accepts her working-class background, albeit reluctantly.

Unfortunately, Andie has a crush on the preppy and insanely rich Blane McDonough (McCarthy). A boy who by all accounts would NEVER hang around with the offspring of blue-collar America. And certainly Blane's two friends Steff and Benny (Spader and Vernon) don't make it easy on Andie. Their arrogance turns her off in a huge way and they get their kicks by harassing and bullying Andie and her best friend Phil Dale (Cryer), who is better known by his nickname of “Duckie”.

RANDOM THOUGHT: Why in the world does Jon Cryer always get stuck playing geeks, nerds, and dweebs? From “Pretty In Pink” to “Two and a Half Men”, he is always shown as the geek! Poor guy can't get a break. But, I suppose if that makes him a millionaire, who is he to complain, right?

Anyway, one of the things that you need to know about Duckie is that he has had a crush on Andie dating back to even before they entered high school together, but he is too afraid to admit it to her. Instead, he turns his affection for Andie into a running gag of sorts.

The senior prom is fast approaching, and Andie is considering not even going as she is having trouble finding a date. But her friend/mentor Iona (Potts) who owns and runs TRAX, a record store specializing in New Wave music, encourages her to go to the prom anyway, with or without a date.

Of course, who ever wants to attend a senior prom by themselves? Or, at least, that's what the made-up high school guide to social life tells us anyway?

Well, as it turns out, unaware to all of Blane's inner social circle, Blane secretly has admiration for Andie as well, and he decides to make his move on her and asks her on a date.

But when Blane arrives late after promising to meet Andie at TRAX, Andie and Duckie get into an argument at the record store. Duckie is very concerned that Blane is only using Andie and that she will ultimately end up hurt. Still, Andie refuses to believe that Blane would do something so terrible and agrees to be Blane's date to a party that Steff is throwing.

So Andie and Blane arrive at the party and poor Andie has a miserable time. Because she is not a part of their inner circle, the party guests treat her horribly. The ringleaders of this are, of course, Benny and Steff. Andie suggests to Blane that they go to the local club instead, and when both of them arrive there, Duckie and Iona are already there. A war of words erupts between Duckie and Blane, and in the kerfuffle, Duckie plants a kiss on Iona to make Andie jealous. All it does is cause much more friction between Duckie, Andie, and Blane.

And such, a 1980s love triangle was born.

So, which guy does Andie pick? As if I'm going to tell you. Truth be told, two different endings were shot for the movie. There's one in which she chooses one man, and there's one where she chooses the other. And one ending was initially intended for the film, but after it was screened to a test audience, they didn't like it. Hence a new ending was tacked onto the film, which was then shown in theatres.

Either way, Andie does end up at the prom, looking pretty in pink, courtesy of a beautiful dress her father picked up for her at a thrift store. And, for someone who has normally shunned romantic comedies, I have to say that “Pretty In Pink” is a really decent film. I enjoyed it.

And, just for the record, I've seen both endings, and I thought either one would have worked. But that's just my opinion.

Anyway, sit back and grab yourself a pink lemonade or a strawberry daiquiri, or any other pink coloured drink. This blog isn't quite finished yet. There's a lot of behind the scenes trivia and goodies left to talk about within this piece.

For instance...did you know that...

1 – When the movie's endings were changed, it also meant a change in the soundtrack? Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were already committed to the film and were going to submit their song “Goddess of Love” for the film. But with the last minute ending change, they were forced to come up with a new song. They composed the song “If You Leave” in just twenty-four hours for the re-shot ending. That song would later peak at #4 on the Billboard Charts in the spring of 1986.

2 – Anjelica Huston was once briefly considered for the role of Iona, but was forced to turn it down. Annie Potts was later given the role after John Hughes saw her in “Ghostbusters”. Just months later, she would be cast in the sitcom “Designing Women”.

3 – Anthony Michael Hall was initially considered for the role of Duckie, but he turned it down as he didn't want to be typecast as a nerd (he previously played nerds in “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, and “Weird Science”).

4 – Charlie Sheen auditioned for the role of Blane. Given that Sheen would later work with Jon Cryer on “Two and a Half Men”, that could have been quite interesting.

5 – The high school where “Pretty In Pink” filmed was hardly the first time that the school was used in a film. It also served as the setting of Rydell High in the film “Grease”.

6 – The band “The Rave-Ups” (the band playing in the film) had a personal connection to star Molly Ringwald. Molly's sister gave birth to a child that was fathered by one of its members!

7 – Two cast/crew members died after the film wrapped up. Bruce Weintraub, the set designer for “Pretty In Pink” died of AIDS in December 1985 at the age of 33, while actress Alexa Kenin was found dead in New York City on September 10, 1985 at the age of just 23.

8 – Molly Ringwald lists this film as her most favourite film project that she has ever been in.

9 – Believe it or not, Robert Downey Jr. was almost cast as Duckie! Can you seriously picture Iron Man as Duckie? A strange image, I know.

10 – When the actors had to be called back onto the set to reshoot the ending, Andrew McCarthy had to wear a wig, as he had already shaved his head for a New York City play that he was involved in. He also looked considerably thinner, given that he had to lose weight to get the part in the play.

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie and it is on my list to buy on DVD if I could ever find it.