Sunday, May 28, 2017

Some Kind of Wonderful (Howard Deutch, 1987)

The act of re-watching some of my favourite movies with trans-tinted glasses over the past two or three months has been quite the rewarding experience. Like, did you know Dr. Caligari is the ultimate transgender movie? Well, if you didn't, you need to watch it again. It's so trans, it's ridiculous. Anyway, it's also been quite the horrifying experience, as some of the films are just plain awful. Now, Some Kind of Wonderful (a.k.a. Ist Sie Nicht Wunderbar) isn't close to being awful, but watching it again recently (in widescreen for the first time ever) was kind of awkward. And I think you all know what I'm about to say next. That's right, the amount of heterosexual stalking in this movie is insane. Every time you see a character doing something, you should always assume that another character is leering at them from a safe distance. What was once a lighthearted, John Hughes-approved romp, is now a dark, twisted movie about a socially maladjusted auto mechanic who exploits his trans-lesbian gal pal in order facilitate the entry of his erect penis into the vaginal cavity of a leggy redhead. While that might sound like quite the leap in tone, it's not. The movie hasn't changed one iota since it came out in 1987. It's me who's different. And I'm not going to sit idly by and let this movie's pro-stalker, pro-entitlement stance slide. Of course, I'm kinda kidding around. But part of me is dead serious. Some Kind of Wonderful is a dangerous movie.


If you think about it. Unpopular high school senior, Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz), is basically a serial rapist/killer in training. Guilty over his desire to rape and murder a popular classmate named Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson), Keith pretends to attempt suicide everyday while walking home from his after school job at a garage.


His does this by walking in front of a moving train, but then stepping aside at the last minute. To give his psuedo-suicide attempt more significance, the industrial pop of Propaganda blasts on the soundtrack. Oh, and as with the majority of John Hughes' (teen) movies, the music heard throughout the production is outstanding (more on that later).


And not only does Keith time his train dodge perfectly, he manages to time it so he arrives at the home of Amanda Jones just as she's saying goodbye to her boyfriend, Hardy Jenns (Craig Sheffer), who is a giant dickwad.


Since he doesn't have the nerve to manhandle Amanda's organic structure, Keith takes out his frustrations on Laura (Maddie Corman), his younger sister, by physically abusing her. When Laura tries to complain to her parents, they simply shrug it off.


Her younger sister, Cindy (Candace Cameron), might be able to help Laura. But unfortunately, she's clearly deranged... in 1987 terms. If Cindy was around now, she would be a productive member of society; she believes in self-care and seems to give a shit about the environment (something unheard of in 1987). But this isn't now. So, Keith's reign of terror continues unabated.


In order to better familiarize himself with his victim, Keith sketches Amanda in full view of that giant dickwad Hardy, who is justifiably annoyed by this creepy ass display.


Realizing that Keith must be stopped at any cost, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), a staunch yet stealth trans-lesbian, decides to pretend that she's a heterosexual trans-woman who has a crush on him.


While most of the rubes who go to this high school buy the fact that Watts is a heterosexual trans-woman, Duncan (Elias Koteas), an affable skinhead (he's a punk with a shaved head), doesn't... buy it, and nearly blows Watts' cover by outing her in front of Keith, and a smattering of Goths and Metalheads.




Since serial rapists/murderers don't really have any use for college, Keith repeatedly shuts down his father's (John Ashton) multiple attempts to get him to "buckle down," and choose a college to attend once he finishes high school.



In the movie's most disturbing scene, Keith gets in trouble on purpose (he pulls the school's fire alarm). You see, the plan is to get sent to detention. I know, that doesn't sound like much of a plan. But the reason he does this is because he thinks Amanda is going to be there (while stalking her, he learns that Amanda has been given detention). Little does he know, but Amanda, no doubt using the shapeliness of her killer gams, manages to sweet talk her way out of serving any detention.



Finding it difficult to suppress her lesbian desire, Watts struggles to keep her girl cock under wraps. Watching her covet Amanda's femininity in the girls locker room was quite the eye-opener, and, not to mention, relatable af. I mean, who among us hasn't looked at Lea Thompson and said: I want to be her. I want her hair. I want her skin. I want her body. I want her everything. Am I right? Of course I'm right.


The look on Watts' face when Keith finally makes his move on Amanda says it all. She just let a vicious psychopath get his hooks into the woman she swore to protect. It's tragic.


As you might expect, this simple act upsets the balance of the universe, as the entire school's social order is thrown into disarray.


Will Watts be able to stop Keith before he rapes and murders Amanda Jones? And how long will she be able keep the fact that she's a trans-lesbian a secret? It's hard to say, as the film offers no easy answers. I mean, will Watts have to masquerade as a trans-woman who digs a cishet man for the rest of her life?


God, I hope not. Look at him! He's not Goth at all. *shudders*

  
Speaking of Goth, the film's soundtrack might open with an industrial-tinged pop classic. But make no mistake, Some Kind of Wonderful is a Goth movie. Well, Goth pop. Or, better yet, Goth pop-lite. Three of the movie's key songs are performed by bands/artists who are super-Gothy.


Sadly, Flesh for Lulu (veterans of the Batcave scene) and The March Violets (veterans of the Leeds scene - the same scene that spawned The Sisters of Mercy) were not as Goth when this movie came out. Meaning, what you are hearing from them is basically watered-down Goth. Which is a damn shame. All that's missing from the OST is a song by Gene Loves Jezebel, who are another great example of a Goth band who slowly turned pop as the '80s progressed (they went from "Shaving My Neck" to "Desire" within the span of three short years).


In case you're wondering... Yes, I consider Charlie Sexton's "Beat's So Lonely" to be Goth. Okay, it's Goth-adjacent, but still... At any rate, "Beat's So Lonely" is probably my fave song from the movie as of right now.


As for a favourite character. I'm torn between Maddie Corman's Laura and Elias Koteas' Duncan. Anytime these two are onscreen the film seems to come alive. Plus, they're hilarious and are the only ones who didn't give off a stalker-ish vibe.


Oh, and that whole subplot that involves Keith spending all his hard earned money on a pair of earrings to give to Amanda Jones was just plain stupid. I mean, I can see spending it on electrolysis or laser hair removal (I've read that doing a bit of both can be quite effective). You know, something worthwhile. But earrings?!? What the fuck, Keith. You bland, totally unhinged, creepy as fuck, non-Goth motherfucker.



Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to piss like a racehorse (damn these fuckin' titty skittles).


5 comments:

  1. Maddie Corman is a scene stealer no matter what film she is in!
    And though it wasn't mentione, can we talk about Amanda's awful girlfriends? God, the 80s! Am I right or am I right?

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    Replies
    1. Maddie Corman mops the floor with Andrew Dice Clay in that Ford Fairlane movie.

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    2. Oh, and, yes, Amanda's "friends" are the worst.

      That part of the movie where they freeze out Amanda was, well, just plain cold. I get chills just thinking about their awfulness in that particular scene.

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  2. Your take on this movie is just gold. I wouldn't even qualify it as kind of kidding.

    ReplyDelete