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Jules   June 12, 2020   Leave a Comment Media / Article

‘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.

3. Pretty in Pink (1986)
Pretty in Pink arrived hot on the heels of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. John Hughes wrote the script, but passed directing duties off to Howard Deutch. Cast as his lead, of course, was Molly Ringwald. At this point, she’d become less of a singular actor than a teenage force of nature – she was 17 at the time of release. In the role of Andie Walsh, she brought jittery nerves mixed with quiet resolve. She’s a working-class kid striving to support her single, underemployed father (Harry Dean Stanton). Her best friend Duckie (John Cryer) is secretly in love with her, but Andie’s eyes are set on one of the school’s “richies”, doe-eyed Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Pretty in Pink isn’t exactly nuanced in its exploration of class, but it treats Andie’s sense of social isolation with sincerity and care.

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