Tuesday, 14 January 2014

1980's | The Brat Pack!

The Brat Pack, iconic of 1980’s Hollywood in America, it is the term that play’s on that similar of the Rat Pack[1] from the 1950s and 1960s. However this nickname coined in 1985 by writer David Blum, described a group of actors and actresses that represented all that was popular in 1980's American culture; whether this was music, fashion or the issues that faced the teenager/young adults during this decade, in other words the “It-Crowd”[2].  The Breakfast Club, Seventeen Candles and Pretty in Pink were amongst the most popular and well known, and as such the Brat Pack term was coined because the actors that starred in this style of film would frequently star alongside one another.

The Brat Pack was seen as representing those who were coming-of-age during this decade, and similarly they mirrored this in the characters they played in their films. Even so, one article wrote that;  “In their films as well as their lives, the Brat Pack represented the dreams and dilemmas of young adults in the Eighties -- how to reconcile youthful idealism with a desire to realize their share of the American Dream in a decade when conformity and materialism were once again in vogue.”[3] For this reason, the teenagers of this decade could begin to embrace their differences and live life with a new found revitalisation that the Brat Pack encouraged or inspired them to do; it did not matter what walk of life you came from, whether you were a ‘yuppie’ [another 1980’s trait] or someone from the working class background. The films that the Brat Pack were associated with highlighted the struggles and pressures that the teenagers and young adults faced in a society that promoted only style and money could bring success; aka, all that the ‘yuppies’ embodied.

In all, those in the Brat pack and the Hollywood status’ they earned were often short-lived, due to sex, drugs and scandal; all of which they ironically portrayed in some their films.  The Brat Packers however, as an article quite rightly puts it; “left an indelible imprint on the film history of the 1980s as the idols of millions of kids seeking guidance as they traded adolescence for young adulthood during the Yuppie Decade”[4].

From Left to Right: Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Mare Winningham and Andrew McCarthy. Poster from St Elmo's Fire.

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