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Duckie-love dominates Hughes’ teen gem

Observer Scene | Monday, September 11, 2006

It’s the movie that sparked a two-decade long debate: Blane or Duckie? “Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition” does little to calm the controversy of its ending, but rather reminds us of Molly Ringwald’s appeal, John Hughes’ brilliance and Duckie’s shoes.

“Pretty in Pink,” written by John Hughes and starring Molly Ringwald, explores the cross-class romance between Andie (Ringwald), a girl literally from the wrong side of the tracks, and Blane (Andrew McCarthy), a “richie” under pressure from his upper-class friends to ditch his prom date and new love. Caught in the middle is Duckie (Jon Cryer), Andie’s best friend with an unrequited love for the quirky red-head.

The movie is the last of a trio of Hughes movies starring Ringwald. Hughes’ gift for capturing the angst and plight of the ’80s teen is only further advanced by the casting of the actress, the ultimate girl next door. Although Howard Deutch directs the movie, Hughes’ guidance can be seen in every aspect, from the music to the settings to Ringwald.

After 20 years, fans still argue over whom Andie should have chosen. The original ending featured Andie choosing Duckie, proving that the solidarity between friends cannot be broken by anyone. But early screenings were criticized and booed because Andie did not end up with the man she truly wanted. After a re-shoot, Blane was redeemed and won Andie’s heart.

While heartbreaking to Duckie fans, the ending now is appropriate because it shows that love can cross class barriers, despite peer pressure. The only possible ending is for Andie to end up with the soulful rich guy who looks past her lower-class upbringing. Throughout “Pretty in Pink,” Andie clearly displays that her romantic feelings for Blane overshadow any for Duckie. The Duckman deserves to be with someone who loves him back and appreciates his electrifying performance of “Try a Little Tenderness.”

Special features on the new DVD include five new featurettes, director’s commentary and an exploration of the Blane and Duckie debate. Disappointingly, the original ending is never shown in its entirety.

In fact, there’s very little in the DVD to imply that it deserves the “Everything’s Duckie Edition” title. Although it features several interviews with Cryer (“Two and a Half Men”), it contains the same amount of interviews with Brat Packers Ringwald and McCarthy. Just like in the movie, Duckie fails to get what he deserves.

However, the main attraction is the movie itself. Interestingly enough, in one featurette Ringwald expresses interest in a sequel. However, the draw to the movie doesn’t stem from fascination with the character of Andie. Few people probably care where Andie and Blane are now (more would care where Duckie is). The attraction to John Hughes movies comes from his ability to put ’80s teen culture on screen for everyone to observe. He takes teens seriously and so do his movies.

The truth is that high school sucks sometimes. Hughes is able to convey this through a sixteenth birthday, a search for a prom date and a Saturday detention. Any modern sequels to his movies would violate the teen genre and all that his movies accomplished for teenagers. “Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition” display’s Hughes’ abilities and gives us a peek at a generation’s feelings and experiences.

We see that Blane the “richie” may get the girl now, but Duckie the “zoid” has her friendship for life. And that’s how Duckie wins.