' ' Cinema Romantico: Ranking Brat Packers I Would Most Like to Hang Out with in 2024

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ranking Brat Packers I Would Most Like to Hang Out with in 2024

Much like bands deemed grunge detested the term, or filmmakers lumped in with the mumblecore movement often seemed to wish they had not been, monikers rarely go over well with the monikered. “It didn’t exist,” Andrew McCarthy insisted to The New York Observer in 1999 regarding the 1980s Hollywood clique famously called the Brat Pack to which the actor is often recognized as belonging. “I’ve never talked to a single one of them since we wrapped [St. Elmo’s Fire]! It’s all just some lazy fucking journalist lumping it all together.” The lazy fucking journalist to whom Mr. McCarthy referred was David Blum who first employed the term Brat Pack in a 1985 New York Magazine article. “It is to the 1980s what the Rat Pack was to the 1960s,” he wrote, “a roving band of famous young stars on the prowl for parties, women, and a good time.” By the next paragraph, though, Blum concedes that “(e)veryone in Hollywood differs over who belongs to the Brat Pack.”

Indeed, though the article cites Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Judd Nelson, all of whom the passage of time has shown to be generally accepted members of the Brat Pack, Blum also mentions, among others, Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Nicolas Cage, and Sean Penn as pending constituents. Andrew McCarthy only gets mentioned once and it’s in the context of other Brat Packers confessing they don’t think McCarthy will ever achieve true Brat Pack status. “He plays all his roles with too much of the same intensity,” some unnamed possible Brat Packer says. “I don’t think he’ll make it.” Au contraire!

Eight years later, though, the Brat Pack designation was already shifting with Marshall Fine of the Los Angeles Times noting that membership unofficially tied back to appearing in one of two 1980s movies, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Breakfast Club.”  Maybe it was simply those movies cementing the idea of The Brat Back in everybody’s heads right at the moment Blum first dropped the term, and maybe it was others considered by Blum for Brat Packdom transcending the label when they got bigger, and maybe Hutton dodged the term by making “Turk 182” at just the wrong (right) time. Who knows? Nobody knows anything, including Andrew McCarthy, it turns out. The palpable fury with the term that comes through in McCarthy’s 1999 Observer interview has, it seems, become something else 25 years later in his recent op-ed for The New York Times: “Something that had cast such a long shadow over me, that I felt had obscured my identity and even clouded who I perceived to be, had transformed into something like a blessing.”

That goes a long way toward explaining why McCarthy has done a 180 and made a Brat Pack documentary being release today on Hulu. He wants to reconsider the experience with his newfound perspective. And hey, he’s not the only one. I, too, want to reconsider the Brat Pack with my newfound perspective. By which I mean, I want to mull over what members of the Brat Pack I would most want to hang out with here, now, in 2024, as a middle-aged man.

Ranking Brat Packers I Would Most Like to Hang Out with in 2024

8. Rob Lowe. Never mind the NFL hat meme, portending a vanilla conversationalist, or at least, a conversationalist who wants to appear vanilla lest he ruffle the wrong feathers. No, I’m most worried that Rob Lowe would spend the whole time trying to convert me to the Atkins Diet. No thank you, sir.

7. Anthony Michael Hall. I feel bad about this, in a way, because if I had been at Shermer High I probably would have been eating lunch with Brian Johnson even if I was in no way a “brain,” more of a “dweebie,” to quote Grace of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” because “brains” and “dweebies” still tended to wind up eating lunch together, at least, they did back in my day. And he’s not so low on this list just because there is some startling information at the bottom of his Wikipedia page that I don’t want to watch the link to YouTube to officially verify, though that doesn’t help, but because, well, I guess he’s the one I’ve wound up thinking about the least over the years. I feel like I’d just keep asking him about working with Uma Thurman on “Johnny B. Goode” and he’d get up and leave.

6. Demi Moore. It seems like Demi is in a perfect position to really dish on the industry in general, but I don’t know that she would want to dish.

5. Andrew McCarthy. I can’t help but say I’m intrigued by McCarthy’s reinvention as a travel writer; maybe he could provide helpful tips for a Swiss getaway? 

4. Judd Nelson. I feel like the two of us would mostly end up watching the Denver Nuggets / Houston Rockets game on the TV above the bar and really enjoying it. 

3. Emilio Estevez. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but I think Emilio and I would get along like gangbusters because everyone else would just want to ask him Brat Pack questions and I would just want to ask him about his directorial decision-making process on “Wisdom” and “Bobby.” Then again, I might get myself into trouble by asking about the Paula Abdul years. 

2. Molly Ringwald. She really seems to have emerged over the years as the most thoughtful of the Brat Pack.

1. Ally Sheedy. On some ineffable level, and more than any of the rest of them, no offense, Ally Sheedy has just always seemed cool. She wrote a book when she was a teenager, made a great 90s indie film, tried the stage, chose New York over Los Angeles, became a professor, she ebbed, she flowed, she left the band, so to speak, and went on to a distinguished if less high-profile solo career. I want to hang out with Molly Ringwald; I want to be Ally Sheedy’s friend.

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