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Posted by Jules on June 12th, 2020

‘The Breakfast Club’ was released in the UK 35 years ago this week. To celebrate, Clarisse Loughrey explores the work of one of cinema’s most influential clan of actors
In spring 1985, New York magazine writer David Blum was sent to profile the young star of St Elmo’s Fire, Emilio Estevez. With his hard-set jaw and neatly coiffed wave of blond hair, the actor always looked like he’d just stepped off a New Hampshire yacht (his father is Apocalypse Now star Martin Sheen). Blum followed him around Los Angeles for a few days. Two incidents jumped out to him – a trip to the cinema saw Estevez effortlessly secure himself a free ticket. Then, while in the company of Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson, the actor was mobbed by female fans at the Hard Rock Cafe. The youthful, casual aura that encircled him, the tightness of his celebrity clique, and the touch of entitlement to his behaviour led Blum to coin the term “Brat Pack” and christen Estevez as its leader. Like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin before them, these were performers whose reputations as dedicated party animals threatened to overshadow their status as thespians. Estevez hated the term, accusing Blum of ruining his life. It’s debatable how much of a negative impact the term had on the careers of Estevez and his pals, but it’s still useful today in describing what was a tight web of collaborators. Around Estevez orbited the likes of Lowe, Nelson, Demi Moore, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. John Cusack, Robert Downey Jr and Tom Cruise sat somewhere on the edges. The films they starred in together represented a new wave in Eighties cinema. After the pessimism and paranoia of the Seventies, Hollywood began to tell stories about teens that made sense to teens. And they were filled with stars that seemed both aspirational and relatable. For the most part, they weren’t the greatest of films, but they served their audience well – most influential of all was John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, which turns 35 this week. To celebrate, here’s a countdown of the 10 best Brat Pack films.

9. Less Than Zero (1987)
Schumacher’s yuppie paradise was quickly overshadowed by the true master of this world, Bret Easton Ellis. Marek Kanievska’s Less Than Zero is loosely based on Ellis’s debut novel of the same name, starring Andrew McCarthy as Clay, a privileged college kid who comes home for the holidays, only to discover that his ex-girlfriend Blair (Jami Gertz) and friend Julian (Robert Downey Jr) are free-falling into a netherworld of cocaine and despair. Cinematographer Ed Lachman, who also worked on Carol (2015) and The Virgin Suicides (1999), captures the slick, superficial beauty of Beverly Hills. But Ellis initially hated the film. No wonder – it tempers his trademark nihilism and slides too easily into finger-wagging moralism.

8. Weird Science (1985)
In 2018, Molly Ringwald, John Hughes’s closest collaborator, wrote an essay in The New Yorker about a “glaring blind spot” in the director’s work. His origins were in the bawdy, frequently racist and misogynistic writing rooms of the National Lampoon magazine. As Ringwald explains: “There was still a residue of crassness that clung, no matter how much I protested.” Those old habits certainly reared their head in Weird Science. Granted, it’s surprising that Hughes could find as much heart and soul as he did in his story of two nerds (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who use their computer skills to create the perfect woman (Kelly LeBrock, who does a superhuman amount of heavy lifting here). But, still, it’s a story where every woman exists as a tool for men’s own emotional needs.

Read the full article here


Untitled John Brinkley Biopic (pre-production)
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Sherlock Holmes 3 (pre-production) / X
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