Some Kind of Wonderful (film)

Some Kind of Wonderful is a 1987 American romantic drama film directed by Howard Deutch and starring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Lea Thompson. It is one of several successful teen dramas written by John Hughes in the 1980s.

Some Kind of Wonderful
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHoward Deutch
Produced byJohn Hughes
Written byJohn Hughes
Music byStephen Hague
John Musser
CinematographyJan Kiesser
Edited byBud S. Smith
M. Scott Smith
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 27, 1987 (1987-02-27)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$18.5 million[1]


The film is set against the strict social hierarchy of an American public high school in suburban Los Angeles. Blue-collar mechanic and aspiring artist Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz) and his tomboyish friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), who has been subjected to rumors that she is a lesbian, aspire to improve their social standing. Keith is an aspiring artist, but his blue-collar father is obsessed with sending him to college, as he would be the first in their family to go to college.

Keith finds himself enamored with Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson), the most popular and attractive girl in school. She is dating Hardy Jenns (Craig Sheffer), a self-absorbed boy from a wealthy neighborhood who thinks Keith is beneath him. He treats Amanda as his "property" and is seen fooling around with another girl. Hearing that Amanda will be in detention, Keith gets himself in trouble in order to spend time with her. Unbeknownst to him, Amanda has sweet-talked her way out of detention, and he is stuck with the school misfits.

When Amanda breaks up with Hardy outside their school, Keith seizes the opportunity to ask her out. Taking it as a chance to prove to Hardy that she does not need him, Amanda accepts. Meanwhile, seeing her best friend with Amanda makes Watts realize her feelings for him are much deeper. She even enlists the help of another boy in an attempt to make Keith jealous, but Keith barely notices. With Watts' help, Keith sets about trying to plan the perfect date to prove he is worthy of Amanda. Watts tells Keith that Amanda will appreciate a good kisser, and shows Keith how to kiss. Keith is oblivious to Watts' attraction to him. He later uses his college fund, with Watts in tow, and selects a pair of earrings for Amanda. When Keith's father discovers that the college fund has been emptied, he is livid, but Keith ultimately convinces his father to respect his right to make his own decisions.

Meanwhile, Hardy plots trouble for Keith by inviting him and Amanda to a party after their date. Hardy jealously plans to have Keith beaten up. Keith finds out about the plot, believing Amanda to be part of it, but goes ahead with the date anyway, spending the rest of his college money on an expensive dinner and roping in Watts (as chauffeur) to help make the date special. At Hardy's party, the timely arrival of other "misfits" saves Keith from taking a beating. Suddenly fearing for his safety, Hardy tries to talk his way out of his predicament. Amused, Keith tells Hardy he is "over," after which Amanda slaps Hardy's face.

Amanda suddenly realizes that Keith and Watts have feelings for one another and realizes that, instead of her earlier selfishness, she wants to do the "right" thing. She returns the earrings that Keith gave to her and urges him to go after Watts. Keith, realizing that he is in love with his best friend, bids Amanda goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. Keith catches up to Watts and they kiss, whereupon Keith confesses to Watts that he had no idea how she really felt about him. Keith then gives the earrings to a delighted Watts. Watts asks Keith how they look, and he replies, "You look good wearing my future."



Hughes was personally not happy with the ending of his previous film Pretty in Pink (1986); in the script and the original cut of the film Andy (Molly Ringwald) wound up with her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer). Test audiences disliked that ending, however, so a new ending was shot where Andy wound up with Blane (Andrew McCarthy).[2] Hughes was always unhappy with this version, which led to a falling out with Pink's director, Howard Deutch.

With Some Kind of Wonderful, Hughes decided to re-tell the story, but with the genders of the main characters switched. Hughes named the three main protagonists—Keith, Watts, and Amanda Jones—as an inside-joke tribute to the Rolling Stones (Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and the Stones' song "Miss Amanda Jones", respectively).[3][4]

Martha Coolidge was signed to direct Some Kind of Wonderful. Hughes wanted Molly Ringwald to play the female lead role of Watts, but she declined in order to pursue more adult roles. Hughes took this refusal personally and this led to the end of Hughes and Ringwald's working relationship.[5] The role instead went to Mary Stuart Masterson. In addition to Masterson, Coolidge cast Eric Stoltz as Keith and Craig Sheffer as Hardy.[6]

At this point, Pretty in Pink was released and became a big hit. Hughes fired original cast members Kim Delaney, Kyle MacLachlan, and director Coolidge, and hired Deutch to direct.[7] Deutch wanted to cast Michael J. Fox in the lead, but Fox turned down the role.[6] Deutch offered Thompson the role of Amanda, but she initially turned him down; after the Thompson-starring Howard the Duck flopped at the box office, Thompson accepted the second offer to take the role. Ultimately, Thompson ended up marrying Deutch as well.[8]

The film was shot in Los Angeles in the summer of 1986. Locations include San Pedro High School, Hancock Park and the Hollywood Bowl.[6]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 42 reviews, with the site's consensus; "Some Kind of Wonderful is above-average '80s teen fare for people who need as much John Hughes in their lives as possible."[9] On Metacritic the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[10] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on a scale of A to F.[11]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film, calling it worthwhile and entertaining.[12] Janet Maslin of The New York Times stated that Some Kind of Wonderful is the "much-improved, recycled version of the Pretty in Pink story".[13] Richard Schickel of Time criticized the film for being unrealistic.[14] Masterson's performance was singled out for praise by several critics.[12][13][15][16]


Some Kind of Wonderful: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 27, 1987
GenreRock, new wave
LabelMCA Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
  1. "Do Anything" – Pete Shelley
  2. "Brilliant Mind" – Furniture
  3. "Cry Like This" – Blue Room
  4. "I Go Crazy" – Flesh for Lulu
  5. "She Loves Me" – Stephen Duffy
  6. "The Hardest Walk" – The Jesus and Mary Chain
  7. "The Shyest Time" – The Apartments
  8. "Miss Amanda Jones" – The March Violets
  9. "Can't Help Falling in Love" – Lick the Tins
  10. "Turn to the Sky" – The March Violets


Chart (1987) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[18] 96


  1. "Some Kind of Wonderful". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  2. "Trivia". Some Kind of Wonderful.
  3. Honeycutt, Kirk (February 15, 2015). John Hughes: A Life In Film: The Genius Behind The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Home Alone. Race Point Publishing. ISBN 9781627886239 via Google Books.
  4. "12 Wonderful Facts About Some Kind of Wonderful". January 17, 2016.
  5. Meroney, John (2010-08-19). "Molly Ringwald's Revealing Interview on John Hughes, Not Being Lindsay Lohan, and More". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  6. "Some Kind of Wonderful 30 Years Later". LA Weekly.
  7. Cieply, Michael (March 11, 1988). "A Fired Woman Film Director—New Questions, Issue Continues". Los Angeles Times.
  8. Harris, Will (2012-02-21). "Random Roles: Lea Thompson". Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  9. "Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  10. "Some Kind of Wonderful". Metacritic.
  11. "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  12. Ebert, Roger (1987-02-27). "Review: Some Kind of Wonderful". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  13. Maslin, Janet (1987-02-27). "Film: 'Some Kind of Wonderful'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  14. Richard Schickel (1987-03-09). "Cinema: Teen Turmoil Some Kind Of Wonderful". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  15. "Some Kind of Wonderful". Variety. 1987-01-01. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  16. Richard Harrington (1987-02-28). "Some Kind of Wonderful". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  17. Sutton, Michael. "Review: Some Kind of Wonderful – Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  18. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 284. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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