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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Monday
Jul242006

Some Kind Of Wonderful


I just finished watching Some Kind Of Wonderful. You know the flick. And if you don't, then we can't be friends. Seriously. There is something wrong with you. I've seen this movie at least a few hundred times. It gets me every time. EVERY time. John Hughes you devil you. How do you do it? Molly Ringwald isn't even in this one... and here I am bawling my eyes out after this timeless scene. And then I CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE by Lick The Tins swells as the couple stroll down the lamppost lined street.

No matter what I'm doing, where I have to be or what time it is.. if a John Hughes movie is airing on TNT.. I'm watching. No matter that it's interrupted every three minutes with commercials, no matter that the swear words (translation: the good parts) are edited out so sloppily that Andrew McCarthey looks like an actor in an old japanese kung fu movie, no matter that I have the DVD right there on my shelf.
I. Am. Watching.
I will cry. And I'm a tough chick dammit! I hate romantic comedies, really I do. Reese Withersoon and her Legally Blonde brigade are not for me. Nor was that leering jackolantern Julia Roberts and the ridiculously overrated Hugh Grant starring as, who else, Hugh Grant. Keep your Kate Hudsons and your Jennifer Garners to yourself.. I've just never been interested.

Ironically, I will never tire of Some Kind of Wonderful, Can't By Me Love, Pretty In Pink, Say Anything.. You know the ones. Any movie starring any variation of John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall. These movies are as much a part of my growing up experience as my own travails in junior high and high school.

Judd Nelson as Bender in The Breakfast Club instilled deep within me an immense admiration for the bad boys. He hooked me at "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?" He began reeling me in with his ingenious impersonation of his parental plight at home..
"Stupid worthless no good goddamn free loadin' son of a bitch retarded big mouth know it all asshole jerk! You forgot ugly lazy and disrespectful- Shut up bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie! What about you dad? Fuck you. No, dad, what about you? Fuck you. No dad what about you?! FUCK YOU"
He is angry! I am in love! From Bender to the man every girl is still looking for.. Jake Ryan, where are you?
From my journal: August 10, 2003 Why must I be so concerned with boys? I don't like girls that live for men, so why must I? I'm perfectly content on my own. You know, movies have dones the women of the world such an injustice. You see these perfectly wonderful relationships on the big screen, that it took 50 takes and 20 pounds of make-up to get right - and the rest of us bastards have to try to live up to that crap. It will never happen. I'm 26 years old and I'm still longing for Jake Ryan to pull up in his red porche while the Thompson Twins IF YOU WERE HERE swells in the background. Fuck. Fuckity Fuck! Is it true that I could find the guy of my dreams, my best friend who sees the best things about me, that can't imagine living without me or is it all a crock of bullshit?"

Apparently, that same entry exists within the pages of almost every American woman's journal. In his article "Real Men Can't Hold A Match To Jake Ryan" Hank Stuever says the movie Sixteen Candles offered the hope, before life dashed it. Stuever urges women to finally admit that Jake Ryan is not coming for us. "Not in the red Porsche 944, and not wearing that Fair Isle sweater vest. Not with his shiny black hair moussed gently heavenward, not with his gooey brown eyes and square Matt Dillonesque jaw. He will not be standing there with his hands in the pockets of his 501 button-fly jeans (while leaning against said Porsche), and he will not be shyly waving at you from across the street. ("Yeah, you," he mouths, just as in the movie, after you look behind you to see what girl he could possibly be interested in.)"

So he's not coming. Fuck you Stuever! Can't we have our dreams? Since y'all aren't capable of living up to Jake's impossibly high standard (seriously though, who would dump the blonde cheerleader that puts out for red-haired freckle-faced Molly Ringwald?) let us have Jake on our TNT reruns dammit! A girl can dream.

All of the glorious movies mentioned never stray far from the same theme on high school stereotypes. Jocks. Cheerleaders. Nerds. Burners. Freaks. Geeks. Neomaxizoomdweebies.. Whatever.. But we can all identify because all the stereotypes are represented properly. We can find ourselves in there somewhere..

High school to a certain degree defines our personalities. For life. For the most part high schoolers are empty vessels waiting to be filled with pop culture, what's allegedly cool and not cool. The NOT COOL moniker is a sticky motherfucker. You can say you don't care, but in a way, you spend the rest of your life trying to prove those high school fuckers wrong. Clothes, hair styles, who you eat lunch with.. all of it takes on a ridiculously intense level of importance. You go to school to get grades, yet every day you're graded by your peers. And it's so easy to fuck up.

For much too long after high school, many of us secretly continue to believe those labels.. It's tough to shake that mental image of yourself. Were you fat in high school? You might be the thinnest person in the room now, but you still feel fat, don't you? Were you beautiful in high school? That's even worse because you will spend the rest of your life trying to be the pretty girl and inevitibly, you'll grow old. And depressed. I say being the beautiful person is worse than being a freak. A freak can always turn into the hottest person at the reunion. Everyone is secretly checking out the former beauty, glorying in every wrinkle, every pound of weight gained..

You either hate who you were in high school, always trying to escape that persona.. or as in the case of the former beauty you'll never live up to who you perceived yourself to be in high school (D.G. Nielsen, the asshole jock quarterback that tried to screw me in the back of his truck then ignored me the next day after I refused, I'm looking in your direction) Thing is, despite his obvious assholeness, everyone loved D.G., the football star. Because in the end, you are identified by the sport you may play, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, how you wear your hair. That's why we all love John Hughes. Because as obvious as his stereotypes are.. one of them rings a bell deep within us all. And we remember, even though many of us want to forget.

"Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basketcase, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.

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Reader Comments (33)

Ya know, after I wrote about my new love for Lloyd Dobler when I saw Say Anything... for the first time, a month ago (I know! I know) someone mentioned Jake Ryan and I had no clue who the hell Jake Ryan was. Now, thanks to you I do. And now Some Kind of Wonderful has been added to my queue. So, thanks!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.
I love love love Sixteen Candles! I love that music they play when she comes out of the church and see's Jake leaning against his Porsche! Makes me tingley! I always wanted a Jake Ryan, that hot guy to come pick me up in high school and all the girls be jealous! The closest I ever came to that was my friend Joel (who is now gay) rolling up to pick me and my sis up in his brand new Ford Splash, it was red and we were COOL! LOL
Love the shirt Monica! Cute pic of your dad!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
The Breakfast Club is one of my favorite movies of all time. I will stop everything for John Hughes movies. Word to the whole post. I want the tshirt!!!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
I'm totally with you on the John Hughes movies, but I will say that I've left a little room in my heart for what I refer to as "happy ending porn" (i.e., Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner crap). Sometimes, I just want everything to go well, without having to ponder too much.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersandra
I think we're all still waiting for our Jake Ryans to show up. The thing I like about him is, whoever the actor is that played him just kind of disappeared. So we never have to see Jake all old and puffy like Judd Nelson. He can live forever young as Jake Ryan in all our minds. Great post. Makes me want to watch them all right now. I think Pretty in Pink is my favorite. "if you were here"
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Epiphany- A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.

The word denotes a spiritual manifestation, but in my case the epiphany came through a conversation with a friend last Friday at lunch.

The friend said “I don’t hear that joy in your voice, I don’t hear the once carefree laughter coming from you, you need to be yourself, and you need to remember who you once were before life got into your head”.

It wasn’t exactly like that but that is what I took from the conversation.

Today I realized it is summertime.
Today I realized I make all my own choices.
Today I realized I decide my own happiness. (Someone else told me that too)
Today there is no fog.
Today I have that smile, the one when you see it makes you think I know something you don’t know.
I have that smile letting me enjoy the joke that is always there (could be described as a shit-eating grin)
I understand the cliché “if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem”.

I’m still a cynical bastard, but I am going to enjoy my fucking life. So eat my cock and suck my balls, and if you are into it you can eat my ass too (of course after a shower).

Love,

This silly motherfucker.
Mon--love this post. LOVE your shirt! I didn't know you owned that! SO cute!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
This post is so true. I was gothic (i know, i know) in high school. Whenever I run into old friends they freak out that I'm not that pale girl with dyed black hair. Even though I look normal now, whatever normal means, I still feel like the gothic girl. Which I guess is a manifestation of how I feel inside. Like I never fit in.

Formerly known as Cunning Linguist, I am glad you're happy today, your recent posts seemed rather down as opposed to your usual sarcastic, philosophical nature. Are you going to use the name "this silly motherfucker" now? I rather like that. Sicksadworld! Glad you are back.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
"Mon--love this post. LOVE your shirt! I didn't know you owned that! SO cute!"

hmm. sounds like SOMEone turned into a complete fucking pussy while she was away. "ooooh, Mon, love your shirt, oooooooooh!!! cutesy wutesy and lil duckies!!!" fucking hell.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
At the risk of making enemies, I have to say that something about Pretty In Pink ticks me off. That's not to say I won't watch it (of course I will, all except the end, which is the part that ruins the movie for me), but I keep thinking "Damn you Andie, what about the Duck??"

Yes, I know, we're supposed to be happy that the cute rich guy admits he really loves her and we're supposed to feel our hearts swell with emotion after they walk off into their happy ever after, but I really wanted her to tell him to take a hike and end up falling in love with Duckie who loved her all along.

Maybe I could just feel for Duckie who was there no matter what, plunged into the pool of sharks at the prom with her, and then got ditched in the end. Yes, I know, they wrapped it up neatly with that girl giving him the eye at the end, but even if he got a girl, she wasn't the right girl!

My girlfriends would just shake their heads at me, "It's so romantic! You just don't get it!" No, I got it, but hated what it said about us chicks not being able to see what's right before our eyes. (And who isn't guilty of that, yours truly included??)

I think that's why I preferred Some Kind of Wonderful, since it had the ending Pretty in Pink should have had.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfoggiest idea
xmastime:

I hate you and I hate your shirt.

Love,

Sicksadworld
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
nah. never fails. the nice, always-there-for-you guy will ALWAYS be overlooked for the flashier guy. oldest story in the world, and us dudes NEVER learn our lesson. ah well. and yes, I'm bitter!!!! ;)
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
Hey there, Monica. Yeah YOU. Nice words and all. I'll be in the Apple this week. Drinks?

JR

oh yeah, my life-partner Graham loves your hair color.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJake Ryan
Sixteen Candles came out at the end of my freshman year in college.

Figures... Geeks didn't become cool til AFTER I graduated high school.

Also: Not John Hughes, but I think I liked Cusack best as Lane Meyer in "Better off Dead."

"Gee, I'm really sorry your Mom blew up, Ricky."

July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWry Bri
"nah. never fails. the nice, always-there-for-you guy will ALWAYS be overlooked for the flashier guy. oldest story in the world, and us dudes NEVER learn our lesson. ah well. and yes, I'm bitter!!!! ;)"

Since when are you the above mentioned guy? HE BROKE MY HEART TWICE, PEOPLE!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
I'm still in love with Jake Ryan and I refuse to give up on the idea that I will find my own personal version.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
I LOVE the shirt! I did not know that such a shirt existed.I see an internet search coming on.....
Me and my bff in high school watched Sixteen Candles EVERY NIGHT. We knew (and still know) every line in that movie. Best movie ever made!! Thanks for the flashback!
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChristine
Do you know what Jake Ryan does now? He lives quietly in Northeastern PA and builds furniture. Isn't that perfectly romantic and earthy? Sigh.

I catch some heat for watching these movies all the everloving time, but it's because I have been most of those girls at some point in my life. The poor girl, the smart girl, the geeky girl, the bitchy girl, the tomboy.

Nothing changes in these movies. You watch them over and over, and Jake Ryan never lets Samantha down. Every single time, he shows up at the church with his Porsche. How can you not love that?
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeanne
SSW. Please. I didnt break your heart. Don't tell thes enice people that.

I did, however break your best friend's Chevette while doing her in the back seat. Twice.

And by "back seat", I mean "back door".

and by "twice" I mean "I have it one tape if you wanna watch it."
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
oooo. Does my Bf's boyfriend know about this?
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
well. someone had to hold the camera, darlin.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
Jake

Ryan.

Luv him-- my heart quivers every, single time I see that scene while the Thompson Twins are playing. I have to limit my viewings of 'Sixteen Candles' because after the 1,000th time of watching it, it kind of becomes mundane. I am able to recite almost the entire script, and I think my fav line is: 'I can't believe they fucking forgot my birthday'
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
"No more yanky my wanky, The Donger need food!"
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
Funny you should mention 16 Candles today... last night I saw the blonde cheerleader chick (the one who gets her hair cut off and ends up in the car with Anthony Michael What's His Face) on Entourage. She had no lines. Funny that she's still acting. I wonder if she's done other bit things in the past 20 odd years, since she's obviously still acting (unlike our boy Jakey-poo). Do you think she gets a residual check every time they replay that freakin' movie?
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramanda b
Jib: another great line you have there. How 'bout: "Dong.............Dong............where is my automobile?!"
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Au-to-mo-biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile?

Lake. Big Lake.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusanna
Best John Hughes-like movie of the last decade. HIGH FIDELITY.

If you haven't seen it yet, rent it tomorrow. Don't think about it. Just do it. You'll be glad you did.

It even stars John Cusack.
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbob
Did you know the High Fidelity movie is being made into a Broadway play? That should be interesting.
July 24, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I listened to the last scene from Some Kind of Wonderful and could recite every word. With goosebumps. My sister and I had to SHARE the cassette tape soundtrack, and listened to it over and over and over. I can picture Lea Thompson's pout on the cover.
Jake Ryan. Sigh. Movies haven't gotten any better than they were when I was a pre-teen in love with love. And I'm going to be 32 on Thursday and I still love 'em!
July 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteremily
"Did you know the High Fidelity movie is being made into a Broadway play? That should be interesting."

That should be interesting! I did see one of Frank Zappa's pompous daughters on some VH1 program going on and on about how her book is a rebuttal to High Fidelity, whatever the fuck that means. All I know is I wanted to reach into my TV and punch her in the mouth.
July 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Mongoose
I love ALL of John Hughes' movies! Your shirt rocks too! Thanks for bringing back some great memories! :)
July 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRaquel
oh where, oh where did you score that fabulous shirt?!?
July 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnejelynn
I loved Some Kind Of Wonderful in high school, too! I had the film and the soundtrack (VHS and cassette.. yeah, baby!) and I LOVED Mary Stuart Masterson and I abhorred Leah Thompson for being such a stuck up bitch! Ah, John Hughes certainly is the master of toying with teenage girls' emotions, isn't he?
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDarcie

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