The Best Character in “Pretty in Pink”

There seems to be one thing you can be sure of when it comes to Saturday night and cable TV: A John Hughes film will be on. Last week it was “Pretty in Pink,” the story of a poor misfit girl who falls for the rich guy, gets invited to the prom, gets dumped, makes a horrid dress and shows up only to find the kid/best friend who was stalking her for 8 years is magically waiting for her in the foyer of the prom. In the end, she gets the rich guy, and, well it’s all predictable but oh-so fun!

In my opinion, the best character in that film is Steff. Steff is the world-weary 18 year old played by James Spader. However, James decided to play Steff not as a typical teen, but as a 40 year old burnt out WASP whose idea of a “good time” is drinking scotch, smoking cigarettes or weed, and calling this girlfriend “trash.” He walks around the hallways of the high school like a guy who doesn’t need to go to class and is generally bemused by the fact that the barbarians are at the gate and are doing their best to grind him down. The fact that Spader affects a kind of Thurston J. Howell III accent is just the icing on the whole cake.

As I watched this movie for the millionth time, I started to ask myself questions about Steff. Why was he so world-weary? Did he ever go to class? Why was he attracted to Andie for 4 years? Was he stalking Blaine because he wanted to ruin his budding relationship with Andie? Or was he really attracted to Blaine? And finally: how the hell did Steff get away with smoking in the school hallways?

I was hoping that I could find clips from the movie on You Tube that would illustrate the “best of Steff,” but alas, these are all I could find:

And then there’s this gay-themed “trailer” someone put together:

–PK

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