Blu-ray Review: Pretty in Pink [Paramount Presents] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, September 18th, 2020  

Pretty in Pink

Studio: Paramount Presents

Jun 22, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s easy to forget that some of the best movies in John Hughes’ teen canon weren’t helmed by the famed writer-director. Howard Deutch stepped in for the Pretty in Pink (1986) – and then again for the gender-swapped, quasi-remake Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) – and the results were one of the classic high school romances of the 1980s.

The plot of the movie is incredibly simple: poor girl and rich boy fall for each other, then struggle to make it work as their friends try to keep them apart. The film works has endured so well, though, for a myriad of reasons, reaching far beyond its perfect New Wave soundtrack and hip ‘80s fashions. Pretty in Pink highlighted Molly Ringwald’s crowning performance of the Brat Pack era – watching her sob and wail on Andrew McCarthy as he flakes on the prom is still excruciating – and Jon Cryer became every Eighties Kid’s favorite friend-zoned SOB as the lovelorn Duckie. (Sorry, Jay and Ye: his was the more classic spin on Otis’ “Try a Little Tenderness.”) And then, of course, the great Harry Dean Stanton turns in a heart-wrenching performance as Andie’s depressed, alcoholic father in his limited amount of screen time. Second only to The Breakfast Club (1985), Pretty in Pink is the most essential of Hughes’ high school movies.

Newly returning as an inaugural title in the new Paramount Presents line of home video releases, Pretty in Pink has received a massive upgrade via 4K remastering. For the many of us who grew up on the movie in constant cable rotation, the new Blu-ray is a revelation. The colors pop, and there are so many details you could never appreciate in older transfers: this is especially true in Iona’s kitschy apartment, and in Trax, the record store where Andie holds down an after-school job. Music geeks could spend hours here alone scouring the shop – which was actually in Los Angeles, rather than Chicago, where the movie was set – for vintage ads and daybills. Check out the Lloyd Cole and the Commotions poster on the stairwell where Duckie pantomimes his Redding track; the General Public and Subhumans stickers on the register; the Smiths poster on the door to the back room; little ads for new Suzanne Vega and Dweezil Zappa LPs. And don’t get us started on the record racks themselves! Given that Trax was a real music shop and how much of the movie takes place there, these scenes become an amazing time capsule in high definition.

Other bonus features include the 2006 DVD featurette about the movie’s original ending, as well as a new isolated score track and on-camera interview with the director about the movie’s legacy. We’d have recommended this one to fans for the visual overhaul alone, so the new bonus materials are just icing on the cake.


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