The undisputed 1980s King of the Teen Movie was John Hughes. Any movie that had his name on the credits, be it writing, producing, or directing, was a near guarantee of hitting the mood just right. And as he wrote AND produced this movie, you know that you're in for a treat.
First off, it's not the usual Hughes fare. There are less obvious laughs here than you will find in Pretty In Pink, or Ferris Beuller's Day Off. There are deeper characters, as well - Eric Stolz as Keith, the quiet, artistic boy who is content to love from afar; Lea Thompson as Amanda, the object of his affection who herself is trying to fit in with the 'rich-kid' set despite her own family's more humble situation; Mary Stuart Masterson as Keith's best friend Watts, suffering from an intolerable home life and an equally frustrating crush on Keith; Craig Sheffer as Hardy Jenns, Amanda's boyfriend and a real slime-ball, who is convinced that anyone with less money than he has is less of a person.
But it's not just these four. There's also Keith's family, led by John Ashton as his father Cliff, who despite wanting the best for his kids always seems to miss the mark. There's Duncan, the school skin-head played exceptionally well by Elias Koteas. Duncan has issues, but there's so much more to him than his manner or his appearance.
The main plot revolves around Amanda finally dumping Hardy, and falling into accepting a rebound date with Keith. This distresses Watts, who hides it by 'helping' Keith prepare for the date, even to the extent of offering to drive for them. All the time Hardy is suffering from a bruised pride, and is looking for revenge. When Keith's obnoxious sister Laura overhears the plan to lure Keith and Amanda to a party where he will be pounded, Keith has a choice - stay home and stay safe, or be a man and play the game.
Every character in this movie is well-scripted and well-performed. There's always more than is on the surface. For me, this is one of John Hughes' stronger movies, despite some critics judgement that this is just Pretty In Pink with gender-reversal. It's far more than that. If anything, this is the maturation of the original idea. It is, for me, a far better movie, and is one that I gladly list on my Guilty Pleasures list. because whilst it's probably not in everybody's top ten, it heads mine.