Can't Buy Me Love (film)

Last updated
Can't Buy Me Love
Can't Buy Me Love Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steve Rash
Produced by Thom Mount
Written byMichael Swerdlick
Starring
Music by Robert Folk
Cinematography Peter Lyons Collister
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
August 14, 1987 (1987-08-14)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Language English
Box office$31.6 million

Can't Buy Me Love is a 1987 American teen romantic comedy feature film starring Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson in a story about a nerd at a high school in Tucson, Arizona who gives a cheerleader $1,000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month. The film was directed by Steve Rash [1] and takes its title from a Beatles song with the same title.

Teen film is a film genre targeted at teenagers and young adults in which the plot is based upon the special interests of teenagers and young adults, such as coming of age, attempting to fit in, bullying, peer pressure, first love, teen rebellion, conflict with parents, teen angst or alienation. Often these normally serious subject matters are presented in a glossy, stereotyped or trivialized way. For legal reasons, many teenage characters are portrayed by young adults. Some teen films appeal to young males while others appeal to young females.

Romantic comedy Film genre

Romantic comedy is a genre with lighthearted, humorous plot lines centered on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles. One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily". Another definition suggests that its "primary distinguishing feature is a love plot in which two sympathetic and well-matched lovers are united or reconciled".

A feature film or theatrical film is a film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole film to fill a program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that also included a short film and often a newsreel. The notion of how long a feature film should be has varied according to time and place. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, a feature film runs for more than 40 minutes, while the Screen Actors Guild asserts that a feature's running time is 75 minutes or longer.

Contents

Plot

Ronald Miller is a typical high school nerd living in suburban Tucson, Arizona. He has spent all summer mowing lawns to save up for a telescope. At an opportune moment, he makes a deal with next-door neighbor and popular cheerleader Cynthia "Cindy" Mancini. Cindy had borrowed her mother's expensive suede outfit without permission, to wear to a party, only to have Quint accidentally spill red wine on it. Cindy reluctantly agrees to help Ronald look "cool" by pretending to be his girlfriend for a month for $1000, even though she already has a boyfriend named Bobby who is attending the University of Iowa.

Tucson, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).

University of Iowa public research university in Iowa City, Iowa, United States

The University of Iowa is a public research university in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organized into 11 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees.

Ronald then trades his nerdy, yet loyal, friends for the popular, but shallow students, and undergoes a complete clothing and hair makeover under Cindy's direction. Over time, a bond develops between the two. She lets him read a poem she wrote that means a great deal to her. He reveals his interests in astronomy and space travel. On their last date which Ronald has "paid" for, Cindy hints that she would like to kiss him, but he misunderstands. The next day at school, they dramatically "break up" in front of a crowd, but Ronald takes things too far and says some hurtful things about Cindy in front of her friends. She becomes cool and distant, and warns him that popularity is hard work and he needs to make sure that he "stays [him]self". The next day, she sees him behaving arrogantly at school, and becomes jealous when she sees him flirting with her best friends Barbara and Patty.

Astronomy natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A branch of astronomy called cosmology is the study of the Universe as a whole.

To be spacefaring is to be capable of and active in space travel or space transport, the operation of spacecraft or spaceplanes. It involves a knowledge of a variety of topics and development of specialised skills including: aeronautics; astronautics; programs to train astronauts; space weather and forecasting; ship-handling and small craft handling; operation of various equipment; spacecraft design and construction; atmospheric takeoff and reentry; orbital mechanics ; communications; engines and rockets; execution of evolutions such as towing, micro-gravity construction, and space docking; cargo handling equipment, dangerous cargoes and cargo storage; spacewalking; dealing with emergencies; survival at space and first aid; fire fighting; life support. The degree of knowledge needed within these areas is dependent upon the nature of the work and the type of vessel employed. "Spacefaring" is analogous to seafaring.

Flirting Social behavior that suggests interest in a deeper relationship with the other person

Flirting or coquetry is a social and sexual behavior involving verbal or written communication, as well as body language, by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, or if done playfully, for amusement.

He takes Patty to a dance at school, where he performs a dance he learned from an African cultural show on public television. At first, the other kids are mystified, but they soon join in, and Ronald's new "trendy" dancing further increases his popularity. On Halloween night, he and some other boys drive to the house of Kenneth, Ronald's best friend, where the jocks test his loyalty by coercing him to hurl dog feces at Kenneth's house. Kenneth is lying in wait and catches Ronald, but lets him go before his dad can call the police. Kenneth ignores Ronald the next day at school.

PBS Public television network in the United States

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor. It is a nonprofit organization and the most prominent provider of educational television programming to public television stations in the United States, distributing series such as American Experience, America's Test Kitchen, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Downton Abbey, Finding Your Roots, Frontline, The Magic School Bus, Masterpiece, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Nature, Nova, the PBS NewsHour, Sesame Street, and This Old House.

Feces solid or semisolid remains of the food that could not be digested in the small intestine

Feces, colloquially known as poop, are the solid or semisolid remains of the food that could not be digested in the small intestine. Bacteria in the large intestine further break down the material. Feces contain a relatively small amount of metabolic waste products such as bacterially altered bilirubin, and the dead epithelial cells from the lining of the gut.

At a New Year's Eve party at Big John's house, Ronald starts drinking and has a romantic tryst with his date Iris in the bathroom. Cindy walks by and hears Ronald reciting to Iris her special poem. Devastated, she starts drinking even more. Later, as a surprise, Cindy's boyfriend, Bobby, shows up at the party. After he learns about her "relationship" with Ronald, he breaks up with her. She tries to explain the situation, but he still walks out on her. In anger and frustration, she tells the party-goers the truth. Rejected and dejected, Ronald leaves and spends the night in his garage crying himself to sleep. When school resumes, he finds himself ostracized by both the "jocks" and the nerds. His attempts to reconcile with both Cindy and Kenneth are rebuffed.

New Years Eve holiday celebrated on 31 December

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year's Day, 1 January.

Ronald gets an opportunity to redeem himself. Kenneth, helping Patty with her math homework, is ordered by Quint to go back to his side of the cafeteria or receive a beating. Ronald intervenes, threatening to break Quint's pitching arm if he does not leave Kenneth alone. Ronald points out that the three were all friends at one time: when they were nine, Quint fell out of their tree house and broke his arm. Kenneth and Ronald carried him twelve blocks to the hospital. Ronald confesses he was desperate to run with the popular crowd, but had messed up by trying to buy his way in. Ronald goes on to say that the cool/nerd dynamic is "all bullshit, it's tough enough just being yourself", and walks away. Quint apologizes to Kenneth and the two shake hands as the whole school applauds.

Following the incident, Cindy recognizes Ronald's worth and hops on the back of his riding lawn mower. He asks her to prom, and the two kiss as the Beatles title song plays. The two of them ride off into the sunset on the lawn mower.

Prom semi-formal dance or gathering of students at the end of the high school academic year

In the United States, a promenade dance, most commonly called a prom, is a semi-formal dance or gathering of high school students. This event is typically held near the end of the senior year. Proms figure greatly in popular culture and are major events among high school students. There may be individual senior and junior proms or they may be combined.

Cast

Production notes

The film was shot on location in Tucson, Arizona, at Tucson High Magnet School (then known as Tucson High School). [2] The choreography is by Paula Abdul, who makes an uncredited appearance as a dancer. [3]

On a date where the main characters begin to bond, they jump the perimeter wall and explore the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group Aircraft Bone Yard on Davis–Monthan Air Force Base that contains 4,400 aircraft. Although the characters say they jump the fence at 309 AMARG (The Boneyard) the actual scene looks more like it was shot at Bob's Air Park, an aircraft recycler just outside the Boneyard, which has since been sold.

Critical reception

Can't Buy Me Love received mixed reviews from critics. Caryn James, in The New York Times , wrote that the film missed its mark and traded its potential originality for a bid at popularity:

Roger Ebert gave the film a half star out of a possible 4:

Rotten Tomatoes has a rating of 50% based on 22 critics. [5] In 2006, it ranked number 41 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies. [6] [7]

Awards

Young Artist Award

Soundtrack

In 2013 Intrada Records released Robert Folk's complete score for the film on a limited edition CD paired with David Newman's work for Paradise . [8]

Remake

In 2003, Can't Buy Me Love was remade as Love Don't Cost a Thing starring Nick Cannon and Christina Milian. [9] Though the triggering event differs between the two movies, many of the aspects/scenes from the original film are reinterpreted in this remake, such as the eating of raw egg in the Home Economics classroom, as well as the cheerleader telling the bully that he is sitting in the wrong section in the cafeteria that he needs to sit in the "asshole section" of the cafeteria.

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References

  1. 1 2 Roger Ebert (August 14, 1987). "Can't Buy Me Love". Chicago Sun-Times . Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  2. Huestis, Lucy. "THMS History". Tucson Unified School District. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 12 Feb 2014.
  3. "Can't Buy Me Love (1987) - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 12 Feb 2014.
  4. James, Caryn. "Film: 'Can't Buy Me Love'" . Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. "Can't Buy Me Love" . Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  6. "Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies". filmsite.org. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  7. NBC5.com (2006). "Entertainment Weekly Ranks Top 50 High School Flicks". NBC5.com. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  8. "PARADISE / CAN'T BUY ME LOVE". store.intrada.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. Scott Brown (December 10, 2003). "Love Don't Cost a Thing". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2007-11-11.