Thursday, June 21, 2012

William Shakespeare, Meet Hollywood and Teen

I really find it interesting that so many of the themes of so many American teen flicks have so much Shakespeare in them. Sometimes the Shakespeare in American teen cinema is intentional. 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You is an update of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. 2001’s O is an update of Shakespeare’s Othello. 2006’s She’s the Man is an update of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. 1961’s West Side Story is an update of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

There is a lot of Romeo and Juliet in another teen film I recently watched, one of the films from, to paraphrase Buffy Summers, the legendary Molly Ringwald and John Hughes oeuvre, 1986’s Pretty in Pink. Like Romeo and Juliet Pretty in Pink is about the forbidden high school love between the “low grade” “trash” girl from the, literally, wrong side of the tracks, Andie (Molly Ringwald), and the “richie” boy from the right side of the tracks, Blaine. Unlike Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which ends in tragedy, Pretty in Pink ends in standard Hollywood fashion with girl getting boy despite and in spite of the animosity of the “riches” for the New Wave coutured “trashies” (the film moves primarily to the beat of a "hip" New Age soundtrack that includes the title tune by the Psychedelic Furs and songs by Nik Kershaw, New Order, The Rave-Ups, and Echo and the Bunnymen; can you say target demographic?) and the “trashies” for the preppy designer label “richies”. Presumably Andie and Blaine lived happily ever after, after their reconciliation at the prom in the final scene of Pretty in Pink. And presumably so did “Duckie” (Jon Cryer) who finally gave up animosity toward Blaime, finally gave up his obsession with Andie, and finally found what looks like his one true "Duckette" (Kristy Swanson) at the prom. Ah, true teen love. Cue uplifting happy ending. Cue uplifting music. Cue Hollywood's own Hooray for Hollywood. Two and a half stars.

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