There are many theories as to why John Hughes-penned films remain the zenith of teen cinema — and you’ll hear most of them on the Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition, the ultimate high school love triangle between poor-but-fashionable Andie (Molly Ringwald), her devoted, delusional best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), and the rich-but-allegedly-soulful Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Is it because Hughes took teenagers’ problems seriously? Because he wrote unapologetic outcasts who were self-reliant? Because he showed young women as emotionally vulnerable without resorting to pratfalls?
The answer is: yes. There’s an underlying dignity in Hughes’ movies, which probably explains why Pink’s three stars return to chat about their roles. Cryer recounts buying Capezio shoes to rehearse his ”Try a Little Tenderness” dance scene with choreographer Kenny Ortega; Ringwald opens up about McCarthy being the only man to ever stand her up in real life; and McCarthy wonders if maybe he could’ve gotten a better wig for the prom reshoot if they’d known we’d still be talking about the film 20 years later.
The reclusive Hughes appears only in interviews from 1985. (The same goes for the new Some Kind of Wonderful disc, incidentally, which includes a chat between Hughes and his She’s Having a Baby star Kevin Bacon from 1986.) Of Pink’s 10 special features, the casting doc ”Zoids and Richies” and the self-explanatory ”Prom Queen: All About Molly” and ”Favorite Scenes” are must-sees. Ringwald is credited with persuading Hughes and director Howard Deutch to cast McCarthy, whom she found ”dreamy,” instead of some square-jawed jock. Robert Downey Jr., meanwhile, nearly landed the role of Duckie. And spoiler alert: If he had, Ringwald says the film’s original scripted ending — Andie stays with the Duckman at the prom and they dance to David Bowie’s ”Heroes” — might have worked after all. (Because Downey didn’t give her the brother vibe Cryer did.) The actual footage of Ringwald and Cryer’s dance is nowhere to be found in the 12-minute ”Original Ending” featurette, or in Paramount’s archives apparently. Thus there’s no judging whether test audiences were right when they booed and forced a wounded Hughes to put Andie back together with Blane for the film’s release. Cryer diplomatically concedes: ”If you’re gonna do a story about, you know, love across the divide of class, it kinda has to work; otherwise you’re sayin’ something really wrong.”
Too bad James Spader is MIA. Others praise his deliciously wicked ways — and remind us how hot he was in a white linen suit. ”Could he have been more beautiful or sexy?” Annie Potts asks. No.