Posts Tagged ‘Molly Ringwald’

BRATS: 2 ½ STARS. “Andrew McCarthy’s hidden treasure of self-discovery.”

LOGLNE: The documentary “Brats” skims across the surface of 1980s popular culture to present a breezy portrait of a group of very famous young actors who came-of-age while appearing in coming-of-age films. Labelled “The Brat Pack” in a 1985 New York Magazine cover story, they appeared, in various combinations, in decade defining films like “Pretty in Pink,” “16 Candles” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” In firsthand interviews with fellow Brat Pack members, director Andrew McCarthy looks back at the effects of youthful stardom, and being labelled a brat in the press.

CAST: Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Timothy Hutton, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Lea Thompson, Jon Cryer, Lauren Shuler Donner, Howard Deutch, David Blum, and in archival footage, Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson.

REVIEW: There’s an old saying that sums up McCarthy’s approach to “Brats”: “Within every challenge lies the hidden treasure of self-discovery.”

As director and host, he spends a great deal of the film, pushing the idea that being labeled, at a young age, the Brat Pack, has been limiting to the careers of all the actors involved. Directors, producers and studios, he asserts, didn’t take them seriously and wouldn’t hire them to appear in anything other than films aimed at teenagers.

For McCarthy, at the film’s onset at least, the premise appears to be an existential crisis. The subsequent interviews, with various pop culture experts like Malcolm Gladwell, and McCarthy’s fellow Brat Packers, feel like therapy for the actor; a way to understand his complicated relationship with a cultural moment that had a profound personal impact on his life.

For the most part, the interviews are interesting. Rob Lowe (who reminds McCarthy that they had a pretty good time at the height of Brat Mania) and Demi Moore (who uses words like “againstness” in her passionate replies of McCarthy’s questions) are the stand-outs, but all the conversations have a warmth born out of old friends reminiscing about a shared experience. There’s also a heaping helping of nostalgia—loads of great 80s hair, fashions and film clips—but the strongest whiff of wistfulness comes from McCarthy himself and his conflicted feelings regarding how his career intersected with the public and professional opinion of the Brat Pack.

“Brats” does become repetitive as McCarthy rehashes the same point over-and-over again but beyond the film’s self-indulgence comes a hidden treasure of self-discovery. I don’t know if McCarthy will ever truly accept how his life was shaped by his Brat Pack association, but by the time the end credits roll, he at least seems to realize that the advantages of being a Brat Packer far outshone the burden.

Canada AM: Actress Molly Ringwald ‘Raising Expectations’ in new show

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.25.58 PMIn Richard’s “Canada AM” interview with Molly Ringwald the pair discuss her new show “Raising Expectations,” being an exceptional child and singing with a jazz band at age three!

Watch the whole thing HERE!

How Can I Miss the 80s If They Won’t Go Away? By Richard Crouse

627Is it possible to be nostalgic for the decade that gave us Milli Vanilli and crimped hair? Apparently so. Pop culture, having exhausted the 1960’s, tired out the 70s, is now mining the Reagan years.

Last week Topher Grace, the former star of That 70s Show jumped a decade with the Blu Ray release of Take Me Home Tonight, a movie named after a 1986 hit by Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector. The movie is a tribute to the youth films of the 80s, complete with enough John Hughes spirit to make Molly Ringwald seem cool again.

I know one film does not a trend make, but Take Me Home Tonight is far from being the only 80s throwback of 2011.

Super 8, a terrific homage to the Spielberg films of the 80s was a recent box office hit. The upcoming 30 Minutes or Less, the new Jesse Eisenberg comedy uses music from Beverly Hills Cop, The Smurfs are bringing the blues to the big screen next week and soon the floodgates open with remakes of Total Recall and Fright Night (both starring Colin Farrell who, apparently, is quickly becoming an 80s pop culture evangelist) and a reimagining of The Muppets. Also, if a remake of Footloose (updated with a hashtag in its subtitle: Everybody Cut #Footloose) is a sign of the apocalypse, then look out, Armageddon is on the way.

So why the comeback?

Esquire writer Stephen Marche suggests it’s partly because “because we’re in pretty much the same socioeconomic boat as we were then (high unemployment numbers, an inspirational leader with shaky approval ratings, etc.),” which is a valid point, but I think it has more to do with that soft fuzzy glow people get when they think about their youth.

If you were eighteen in 1980 you’d be on the cusp of your mid life crisis now. Perhaps the eyesight is a bit blurrier than it once was. Having trouble hearing? Sorry didn’t catch what you said. Maybe your job sucks and the mortgage you’re paying on your ex’s house is draining your bank account. A little blast from the past can brighten the day.

The 80s were rough times— Air India Flight 182, the Iran-Iraq war, Jheri curls— but not if you were 18. You had a world of opportunity at your feet, parachute pants to buy and Pac Man to play, all set to a soundtrack of Madonna and Wang Chung. So what if it was plastic and phony? It was fun… at least that’s the way you remember it and these 80s themed movies are a way of reminding us of a time before life got too complicated.

The 80s aren’t the first epoch to get a second look. Every generation has a time they remember fondly. The 60s died at Altamont but interest in them didn’t die until recently. The boomer’s decades long fixation with the 1960s overwhelmed popular culture, squeezing out opportunities for proper reexamination of the years that followed. Now we’re playing catch up, burning through the ensuing decades so quickly that soon we may well run out of eras to be nostalgic for. It’s enough to gag you with a spoon.