This is the second of a 4-part series that will look at those people most
influential on movies in the 1980s. Click here to read
Part I: John Hughes.
I wanted a tidy list. I wanted four individual people. I wanted a nice Mt.
But how could I?
Mention 1980s movies to most people – ‘80s devotees or not – and a high
percentage of them surely will think of the Brat Pack.
And that’s why I couldn’t pick just four people for my 1980s Movie Mt.
Rushmore; I need eight people in this one slot alone. By now, you know
the roll call:
On their own, these eight actors starred in 47 movies in the 1980s. But
it’s the other 11 movies – the other 11 movies that feature at least two
Brat Pack members per movie, with 29 combined appearances in all – that
have left the greatest mark on the ‘80s movie landscape. By now, you
know that roll call, too:
- Class (1983), with Lowe and McCarthy
- The Outsiders (1983), with Estevez and Lowe
- Oxford Blues (1984), with Lowe and Sheedy
- Sixteen Candles (1984), with Hall
- The Breakfast Club (1985), with
Estevez, Hall, Nelson, Ringwald, and Sheedy
- St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), with Estevez, Lowe, McCarthy, Moore, Nelson,
- About Last Night ... (1986), Lowe and Moore
- Blue City (1986), with Nelson and Sheedy
- Pretty in Pink (1986), with McCarthy
- Wisdom (1986), with Estevez and Moore
- Fresh Horses (1988), with McCarthy and Ringwald
In those 11 movies, those eight actors did more than just appear 29 times;
they did more than just perform for us.
They portrayed us.
And while it’s easy to fall back on the high level representation found in
the Brat Pack’s signature film, The Breakfast Club (1985), the
other characters these 11 played go beyond The Brain, The Athlete, The
Basket Case, The Princess, and The Criminal; because we, as teens of the
‘80s, went beyond such labels.
We were the hormone-enraged kids aching to lose our virginity like
McCarthy was in Class. We were the party girls who couldn’t
shake our vices like Moore couldn’t in St. Elmo’s Fire. We were
the socioeconomic outsiders romanced by the rich kids like Ringwald was
in Pretty in Pink. The comparisons go on, and they hit home
even closer when you consider some of the characters the Brat Pack
played in their solo films.
What’s also great about these 11 films in particular is that if you expand
the scope beyond the core eight, and include supporting players like Jon
Cryer or Mare Winningham, you can find portrayals of other people we
were, from Cryer’s lovesick best friend in Pretty in Pink to
Winningham’s shy virgin in St. Elmo’s Fire.
Whenever we watched a Brat Pack movie, we always found someone we could
Eventually, as most things in Hollywood do, the Brat Pack’s run came to an
end. The actors finally reached the point where they were too old to
play teens, yet they were unable to shake the teen personas that
everyone said they were too old play. They all parted ways and met with
varying degrees of professional success.
Nothing like The Brat Pack has happened since.
During the 1980s, members of the Brat Pack appeared (on average) in a new
film about every three months. Not only did this give them all the
success they wanted, it gave us all the Brat Pack we wanted to watch. It
gave us all the Brat Pack we were.
> Click here to read
Part III: Kenny Loggins