English for Everyone
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Episode 11:

Movie Review - Pretty in Pink

Helpful Links:​​​

Transcript of the Episode:

Welcome to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! I’m your host, Caren Hayden, and I’m here to help you improve your English.

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Today, I’ll be talking about an American cult classic film from the 1980s, Pretty in Pink. Stay tuned to find out why this movie was so popular back then, and what ESL students can still learn from it today!

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Pretty in Pink was a rom-com, or romantic comedy, written by John Hughes and released in 1986. This movie showcased the fashion, music, teen dating customs, and daily life of high school students in the 80s. It also had one of the most celebrated soundtracks of all time, which was mostly “new wave” music. The main actors are Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader, and Andrew McCarthy. Some of these actors were part of the “Brat Pack,” and were in quite a few popular teen movies during this era.

This is a great movie for ESL students to learn about American culture, specifically the social cliques, or different groups of friends, and socio-economic differences in high school. Pretty in Pink highlights the issue of blue-collar kids being bullied by the wealthier families, known as the “richies” in the film. This movie also gives you a glimpse of a traditional high school prom and all of the drama that goes along with it.

The main character, Andie, played by Molly Ringwald, is being raised by just her father. They don’t have very much money, but she is very creative and makes her own clothes. Fashion is very important to her. One of her good friends, Duckie, played by Jon Cryer, is in love with her but won’t really tell her. Andie ends up falling in love with one of the wealthy kids in the school, Blane, played by Andrew McCarthy. The main problem in this story is the rich crowd and the poor crowd don’t mix very well. Andie’s friends don’t really accept Blane, and Blane’s friends definitely don’t accept Andie.

All of these main characters are in their last year of high school, which makes them seniors. One of the most important events of one’s senior year in high school is the prom. A prom (short for a promenade dance) is a special dance that happens in April or May of your last year of high school. Usually, one person asks another person to be their date to the prom, although, it’s also very popular to just go with a big group of friends and not have dates at all. Everyone gets dressed up – traditionally, the boys in tuxedos and the girls in fancy dresses. Usually, teens go out to eat at a nice restaurant, and then they go to the prom. There might also be an after party at someone’s house or a hotel. At the prom, there is dancing, food, and sometimes other festivities. At my prom, for example, the theme was Las Vegas, so there was an entire casino set up for us to bet on different games and win prizes. There is usually a professional photographer at the entrance to take photos. Towards the end of the prom, the prom king and queen are usually named and crowned. Weeks before the prom, seniors will vote on who they want to be the king and queen. This is basically a popularity contest. Some other American movies that feature the prom are: Carrie, Footloose, Back to the Future, Mean Girls, and Twilight. There are many more, but these are movies I have actually seen.

Back to Pretty in Pink. My favorite character in the movie is Iona, played by Annie Potts. She is Andie’s boss and friend, and since she is a bit older, acts as a sort of mother-figure to Andie. Iona is constantly reinventing her look.

I also get a kick out of the old technology in the movie, like the computer scene in the library. Also, the lack of cell phones is very refreshing. This movie was made before the internet or cell phones existed, so younger viewers can see what life was like before these aspects of technology took over our lives.

If you like Pretty in Pink, you’ll love the other Brat Pack classics like: Sixteen Candles, the Breakfast Club, and St. Elmo’s Fire. To learn more about this movie and the era it represents, please see the Helpful Links section of this episode’s webpage. Go to www.englishforeveryonepod.com . Then click on “episodes” and “episode 11”. You will also find the transcript in pdf form there.

Have you seen Pretty in Pink? Would you like to? I hope you get a chance to watch it! Unfortunately, it’s not streaming on Netflix anymore, but you can order the DVD if you have the mail service through Netflix. Otherwise, you can rent the movie from Amazon or from the iTunes Store for $3.99. I’d love to hear what you think about the movie! Feel free to leave me a comment on the show website.

Thank you so much for listening to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You will find the transcript of today’s show and some helpful links about today’s topic on the show website: www.englishforeveryonepod.com. [Stay tuned for the slower version of today’s episode].

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[slower version, same transcript]

Bye Bye!

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Music is Where’s My Jetpack by Computer Music All-Stars found on www.freemusicarchive.org