This week’s classic movie is another gem from the 80’s that every 20-something should watch with his or her group of friends. “St. Elmo’s Fire” is a coming-of-age film about a group of seven 20-somethings trying to make their way in the world, fresh out of college. A lot of the time, we assume that once we graduate from college, we immediately become adults, and everything we used to know fades away into a faint memory as we charge headfirst into the “real world.” This movie tells a different story — the true story — that holds true for many college graduates, even today.

 

Although it has the makings of a John Hughes film, the movie was actually written and directed by Joel Schumacher in 1985, just a few months after “The Breakfast Club” originally came out. “St. Elmo’s Fire” does not quite live up to John Hughes’ comparable rendition of the characteristically angsty 80s young adult film, but it is a good film in its own right. In the end, it is not the movie’s writing or directing that sets this movie apart; it is the characters and the actors who bring them to life, and really capture the essence of “extended-adolescence,” or the period of life after college and before adulthood.

 

The movie centers around seven friends, all played by the actors and actresses who appeared together (in different combinations) in an abundance of young roles in films throughout the 80s. This signature group of kids, nicknamed “The Brat Pack” by New York Magazine writer David Blum, were known for their reuse in many roles together on screen and for their wildly popular off-screen clique. It seems like every movie from the 80s has at least two bonafide “Brat Pack” members that appear in “St. Elmo’s Fire:” Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, and Demi Moore (and honorary members Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall from “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles”).

 

These actors and actresses may have lost their credibility in the world of film after Blum’s critical article which painted them as pretentious children who bolstered their egos through their frivolous and indulgent behavior, but in the 80s, the “Brat Pack” was the cat’s pajamas. Blum’s article on these children was too harsh in retrospect, considering they were simply a group of kids, like in the movie, trying to find their place in the world along with the other confused 20-somethings out there. In any case, “St. Elmo’s Fire” is worth watching, if not for the controversy over the “Brat Pack,” then the sheer experience and honest portrayal of pre-adulthood.

 

What do you think of Hollywood’s Brat Pack? Are you a fan of St. Elmo’s Fire? Leave a response in the comments below or shoot me a tweet @JenksUOhMeASoda