The Reel Review


A group of young actors and actresses dominated the movie industry in the 1980s, at a time when there was an abundance of movies about teens and young adults. Writer/director/actor Andrew McCarthy’s documentary explores how their being flippantly dubbed the “Brat Pack” in a 1985 New York Magazine article negatively impacted their careers, some forever.

Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Mare Winningham and Andrew McCarthy in 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire

It’s pretty obvious that McCarthy’s film is little more than self-indulgent, personal therapy of interest only to him, as he meets up with former Brat Pack members – Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe – and even a couple who were merely Brat Pack adjacent: Jon Cryer and Lea Thompson. McCarthy talks a lot about how the film industry turned on them after that nickname went viral. They mostly just politely nod and smile.

Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy in Brats

For fans of those 1980s movies, Brats is a mildly nostagic and bittersweet walk down memory lane, primarily to see our young 80s movie icons as they are today. But the tedious format, an hour and a half of McCarthy goading his former co-stars (some uncomfortably so) and others to whine with him about that oh-so-important article, gets old real fast, as does his technique of showing camera operators surrounding him and his fellow actors as though this is groundbreaking cinema.


• Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson opted not to participate in Andrew McCarthy’s documentary.

• Mare Winningham, the only star of 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire who was not part of the Brat Pack, was pregnant with her second child while filming that movie.

• Andrew McCarthy based his documentary on his 2021 book “Brat: an ’80s story.”


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