“Holy sh*t, my high school prom date just sent me this photo from the big night. Let’s see yours,” writes Andrew McCarthy on WhoSay. Yeah, you’re gonna want to see that picture below. His hair is almost as amazing as their grins.
We assume McCarthy is on his date’s mind because prom season is in full swing. And that, of course, means it’s time for the annual debate over what has been called the most controversial ending in teen movie history (by me): In Pretty in Pink, should Andie (Molly Ringwald) have gone after richie Blane (Andrew McCarthy) or stayed with devoted best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer)? As I recently outlined in our great movie love triangle gallery, in John Hughes’ original script, Andie stayed with Duckie at the prom, and they danced to David Bowie’s ”Heroes.” Test audiences booed. The final scene was reshot (with McCarthy wearing a wig because he’d shaved his head for a play), and now Duckie gives Andie his blessing to chase after Blane so they can make out in the parking lot to OMD’s ”If You Leave.”
”I was disappointed,” Cryer told EW on the film’s 20th anniversary in 2006. ”You sorta go, ‘Oh, guess I’m not the leading man.’ But I think it was kind of appropriate. Duckie always thought he was the leading man, and that was his fatal flaw. I got it at the time. I understood that John was trying to do something about crossing class lines and felt that with the ending as it was, it was sort of saying, ‘You know what? Class lines aren’t worth crossing.’ And he didn’t want to send that message…” (At least not until 1987’s Some Kind of Wonderful.) Let’s bring it to an official vote below.
When I was young, I was happy Andie went after Blane. The parking lot kiss got rewound on my VCR, a lot. But the older I got, the more what Blane said at the prom bothered me: “You told me you couldn’t believe in somebody who didn’t believe in you. I believed in you. Always believed in you. Just didn’t believe in me.” UPDATE: I always thought Blane said “You just didn’t believe in me,” which I didn’t get. Yes, Andie was always a little unsure of Blane, but then, HE BACKED OUT OF THE PROM. Or, excuse me, just “prom.” (“What about prom, Blane? What about prom?!” I’m taking that to an official vote as well.) If he meant he didn’t believe in himself, as a reader suggests in the comments, I can tolerate the revised ending and let go of years of frustration (the Internet is good!) — even though Andie and Blane seem to only have an appreciation for computer tricks and Steff (James Spader) to talk about. I suppose everyone, including Blane, deserves a second chance, and Andie’s young, so she should follow her hormones. If she didn’t feel it for Duckie, she didn’t feel it, and Blane didn’t have to be forever.