You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation Info

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You can quote lines from Sixteen Candles (“Last
night at the dancemy little brother paid a buck to see your
underwear”), your iPod playlist includes more than one song by the
Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds, you watch The Breakfast Club
every time it comes on cable, and you still wish that Andie had
ended up with Duckie in Pretty in Pink. You’re a bonafide
Brat Pack devotee—and you’re not alone.
The films of
the Brat Pack—from Sixteen Candles to Say
Anything
—are some of the most watched, bestselling DVDs of all
time. The landscape that the Brat Packmemorialized—where outcasts
and prom queens fall in love, preppies and burn-outs become buds, and
frosted lip gloss, skinny ties, and exuberant optimism made us feel
invincible—is rich with cultural themes and significance, and has
influenced an entire generation who still believe that life always turns
out the way it is supposed to.

You Couldn’t Ignore Me
If You Tried
takes us back to that era, interviewing key players,
such as Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson,
Andrew McCarthy, and John Cusack, and mines all the material from the
movies to the music to the way the films were made to show how they
helped shape our visions for romance, friendship, society, and
success.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation:

3

May 03, 2010

To say the writing is workmanlike is an insult to workmen. But those of us who loved John Hughes movies will enjoy this repetitive, gossipy tome ((with bonus random Say Anything chapter! Why is it here? NO CLUE! But I loved Say Anything too!). You don't get any sense of Hughes as a human -- why did he keep repeating his pattern of getting super-close to people (Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and others), then dumping them cold? Why'd he do all his best work in the 80s, then churn out crap To say the writing is workmanlike is an insult to workmen. But those of us who loved John Hughes movies will enjoy this repetitive, gossipy tome ((with bonus random Say Anything chapter! Why is it here? NO CLUE! But I loved Say Anything too!). You don't get any sense of Hughes as a human -- why did he keep repeating his pattern of getting super-close to people (Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and others), then dumping them cold? Why'd he do all his best work in the 80s, then churn out crap for so long? Why'd he chuck everything to move back to the Midwest? What were his parents like and how did they fuel his work? I was also hoping this book would talk a bit more about how Hughes's teen movies fit in with the culture of Ronald Reagan-era America -- why did they resonate with this particular generation? And I wish the book had talked about a couple of the movies the writer barely mentions -- Weird Science and Mr Mom. Between them and She's Having a Baby, I think there's a lot to say about Hughes's ambivalent attitudes about grown women, as opposed to teenage girls.

That said, there's lots of fun dirt here: Molly Ringwald had a crush on Andrew McCarthy and wanted her character to end up with him (Jon Cryer's interviews are great, btw). Howard Deutch, director of Pretty in Pink, really wanted the soundtrack to be more California rock instead of New Wave and finally there had to be a come-to-Jesus meeting to be all, DUDE: there will be no Jackson Brown or Eagles in this movie, LET IT GO. Judd Nelson was all Method during Breakfast Club -- he thought he WAS Bender instead of a nice Jewish boy from Maine who went to prep school. After Ferris Bueller, Alan Ruck (Cameron) couldn't get another job and wound up working on an assembly line. (Ruck's a great interview too. Ditto Ally Sheedy.)

I think the book would have worked better as an oral history, like the recent ones about SNL and The Simpsons. The author's weaknesses (interpretation, writing style -- STOP SAYING YOUTHQUAKE, LADY!, inability to make cultural connections) would have been outweighed by her strengths (interviewing, collecting awesome quotations, getting backstory behind the music used). ...more
5

Jun 24, 2016

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much!

This was an exceptional read! Susannah Gora obviously has mad affection for these movies and my God, it shows!

I'm thirty something and remember with startling clarity seeing The Breakfast Club for the first time. I was drawn in slowly, recognising and cringing over the awkwardness of the high school setting (I was living it, albeit in London England), yet waiting for the focus of the film to shift. It didn't. It stayed with the kids and I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much!

This was an exceptional read! Susannah Gora obviously has mad affection for these movies and my God, it shows!

I'm thirty something and remember with startling clarity seeing The Breakfast Club for the first time. I was drawn in slowly, recognising and cringing over the awkwardness of the high school setting (I was living it, albeit in London England), yet waiting for the focus of the film to shift. It didn't. It stayed with the kids and over the course of the movie (one day on narrative terms), it made me laugh, recoil, shrivel, cry and cheer. It truly is a cult classic worthy of shameful adoration.

I'm a devotee of eighties movies, tried and true. It was a time when studios took chances on new writers and directors and backed CONCEPTS and STORIES, not merely chased the sequel buck or played safe. At least, that's the way it seemed. John Hughes loomed large in that arena and not without good reason. A master storyteller, capable of writing contemporary tales so utterly relatable, the international world could believe in it's characters; 'we all knew someone like THAT' and so compelling, they seemed to stay with you forever.

In the eighties, a clutch of movies rose above the cream and came to symbolise a yearning, if not a meaning, a soulful purpose if not a clear intent. A clever journalist throw-a-way term, 'Brat Pack' was swiftly applied to the handful of actors involved in these big box office hits and it stuck, solidifying a genre and time while hindering the careers of all involved. It's a time many look back on now with nostalgia but for the actors, it has taken time to come to terms with. Nowadays, we all know the media love their labels, splicing couples' names together in garish monikers, and we accept it, but things were different in the eighties.

Susannah Gora's book scores HUGE not only because it is drenched in nostalgic love for these films, it is painstakingly researched, astonishingly insightful and shamefully indulgent. Each sentimental movie gains it's own chapter (a structure I found most pleasing!) and boasts a plethora of behind the scenes trivia that truly tickled me throughout! I love behind the scenes info on how movies are made and this book fed me to gluttony!

If you're not a fan of these movies, I'd be reluctant to recommend this book.

You may wonder what all the fuss is about, but if you have never wondered what the naked blonde with a poodle under one arm and a two ton salami under the other said to the bartender, this wasn't for you anyway.

I will be reading this again!

(Not to mention anything of that GORGEOUS artwork on front and back! That's how you publish a book!)
...more
4

Jun 06, 2010

I am a member of the generation that was profoundly affected by the films of John Hughes and the Brat Pack. In fact, the John Hughes movies meant so much to me, and still mean so much to me, that his death brought me to tears. It's almost as if, while he was still living, there was the possibility for more of the movies that so inspired me and defined my youth. When he died, that possibility died too.

It's quite possible that my attachment to John Hughes and the Brat Pack movies influenced my I am a member of the generation that was profoundly affected by the films of John Hughes and the Brat Pack. In fact, the John Hughes movies meant so much to me, and still mean so much to me, that his death brought me to tears. It's almost as if, while he was still living, there was the possibility for more of the movies that so inspired me and defined my youth. When he died, that possibility died too.

It's quite possible that my attachment to John Hughes and the Brat Pack movies influenced my appreciation of this book, and that someone who isn't familiar with or, gasp, doesn't enjoy those films wouldn't enjoy the book. (And shame on you on both counts!) But for those of us who remember with extreme nostalgia the moment that Samantha kisses Jake Ryan, or the five members of the Breakfast Club opening up to each other in the library, or Duckie Dale being so completely there for a completely unappreciative Andie at the prom, this book is for you.

In addition to learning all the off-screen gossip, like the fact that Mia Sara had a monstrous crush on Matthew Broderick or that Molly Ringwald wasn't crazy about Jon Cryer (how could you, Molly??!!??), I also gained some insight into the incredibly complicated John Hughes. He may have been the man to create the characters that so influenced me as I was growing up, but he could also be stubborn, overly sensitive, and could hold a grudge like no one else in the world. In fact, some of the descriptions in the book made me wonder if he suffered from Bipolar Disorder. Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, and recommend it to the other Hughesians out there. Now I have to go watch The Breakfast Club. Or maybe Sixteen Candles. Say Anything, perhaps.... ...more
4

Apr 10, 2018

This book looks at ‘80s teen movies, including many John Hughes’ movies. The book takes the reader behind the scenes in the movies and we learn about the actors, as well as John Hughes and the other directors. There are chapters on “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “St. Elmo’s Fire”, “Pretty in Pink”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, and “Say Anything”.

What a fun book for someone who was a teenager in the 80s (me)! I’ve seen all but two of the movies (and now feel This book looks at ‘80s teen movies, including many John Hughes’ movies. The book takes the reader behind the scenes in the movies and we learn about the actors, as well as John Hughes and the other directors. There are chapters on “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “St. Elmo’s Fire”, “Pretty in Pink”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, and “Say Anything”.

What a fun book for someone who was a teenager in the 80s (me)! I’ve seen all but two of the movies (and now feel like I should see those two!). Many of the actors were part of what became labelled the “Brat Pack”, based on an article written that was originally meant to be about Emilio Estevez, but became about a group of them who were out together one night. To be honest, I’d not even realized the phrase was meant (at the time) to be derogatory; I never read the article, nor had I realized that’s even where the term originated. So, I did learn plenty about the actors and the movies. I also want to go back and re-watch some of the movies I’ve already seen. My favourites were “Pretty in Pink” (I love Duckie!) and “Some Kind of Wonderful”. ...more
4

Aug 16, 2018

Yeah, it's pure fluff, but it's pretty fun fluff to read.

A very interesting look at the movies made or written by (or merely influenced by) John Hughes and the so-called "Brat Pack" actors. The specific films that are heavily profiled are: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Say Anything. It also talks about the article where the "Brat Pack" label came from and the music in the films.

I actually don't remember Yeah, it's pure fluff, but it's pretty fun fluff to read.

A very interesting look at the movies made or written by (or merely influenced by) John Hughes and the so-called "Brat Pack" actors. The specific films that are heavily profiled are: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Say Anything. It also talks about the article where the "Brat Pack" label came from and the music in the films.

I actually don't remember seeing many of these movies in theaters, although I think I've seen most of them on video. But there's no denying their outsize influence. The book is perhaps a bit longer than it needed to be (and is occasionally repetitive), but it goes into a lot of depth philosophically as well as historically. And while Gora seems to be in love with her subject, it's still well-written and avoids being gushy. Basically, a really fun read that makes me want to re-watch all those movies again. ...more
4

Mar 23, 2010

This was a fun read. Gora clearly did her research, but relied a little to heavily on direct quotes in her writing.

I'm a little young for this era (I was 10 when Say Anything, the last of the movies discussed, came out), so I had no idea that the phrase "Brat Pack" originally came from an article that portrayed Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson in a pretty negative light. I thought it was solely a play on "Rat Pack".

I especially enjoyed the info about casting and the discussion of how the music was This was a fun read. Gora clearly did her research, but relied a little to heavily on direct quotes in her writing.

I'm a little young for this era (I was 10 when Say Anything, the last of the movies discussed, came out), so I had no idea that the phrase "Brat Pack" originally came from an article that portrayed Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson in a pretty negative light. I thought it was solely a play on "Rat Pack".

I especially enjoyed the info about casting and the discussion of how the music was incorporated, since I had the Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty in Pink soundtracks on cassette (ha!) and listened to them a LOT in high school. I also watched Sixteen Candles on my birthday every year from age 16 until well into college. ...more
4

Feb 22, 2010

This is a must-read for anyone who loved the great teen movies from the 1980's like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Say Anything, St. Elmo's Fire. I never knew anything about the casting and filming process for these movies, so that was fascinating. There are a few parts that get a little slow and repetitive, but overall it's a captivating book.
3

Sep 12, 2011

This week’s headline? Some self-created drama

Why this book? Nineties (VCR) nostalgia

Which book format? Hardback with caricatures

Primary reading environment? Summer dog days

Any preconceived notions? Hated Say Anything

Identify most with? Who’s Dawn Steel?

Three little words? “…your heart dies”

Goes well with? Cap’n Crunch sandwich

Alan Ruck says he and Matthew Broderick, buddies in real life, were encouraged to improvise during the filming of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“He wanted that layered quality This week’s headline? Some self-created drama

Why this book? Nineties (VCR) nostalgia

Which book format? Hardback with caricatures

Primary reading environment? Summer dog days

Any preconceived notions? Hated Say Anything

Identify most with? Who’s Dawn Steel?

Three little words? “…your heart dies”

Goes well with? Cap’n Crunch sandwich

Alan Ruck says he and Matthew Broderick, buddies in real life, were encouraged to improvise during the filming of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“He wanted that layered quality that you get when you work on it on more than one level,” Ruck says of the late John Hughes.

That’s what this book is lacking. Not improvisation, but another layer.

It needed one more read-through by an editor with fresh eyes, and I can’t help wondering if publication was somewhat rushed after the death of John Hughes.

The book is meticulously researched and beautifully structured, and I have no doubt it was written out of love for the movies. It just needed an extra coat of polish.

The same might be said about Hughes’s movies: they’re real and honest and truly significant contributions to popular culture, perhaps even transcending the film genre… but by purely cinematic standards, they are not great films.

The films in this book are revered because they heralded original vision, the start of something new and exciting. Flaws in the final products were often overlooked and even added to the charm.

Working on several levels meant bringing more people into the creative process, and the film the audience finally saw was often a living, breathing, organic creation.

A film began with Hughes, then emanated out into the universe, collecting actor input, director interpretation, musical choices, and audience reaction in waves that are still reverberating today.

A book that has co-opted the experience of watching those films, however, reverses the process. It reduces the story, film-makers, and audience down to simple words on a page, and needs that final layer of shine before it reaches the public.

John Hughes could crank out a script in two days… but he had the entire film-making process as a revision tool.

Other cultural accompaniments: Dogma (1999), Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom, Win Ben Stein’s Money.

Grade: A-/B+

I leave you with this: “John understood that at that time of your life, you feel things more deeply than you probably will ever feel them. And most adults don’t want to remember that. They want to belittle that instead of celebrating that this is a unique time, a special time, a magic time.” –Lea Thompson ...more
3

Nov 02, 2015

I came of age during the reign of John Hughes. Movies like Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off are seared in my consciousness forever. Those films defined a generation. I even revisited a few of Hughes's films like The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful while reading this. John Hughes was a genius at giving honest voices to teenagers in a way that hadn't been done before. I read about 110 pages of this book and honestly, I am pretty sure I got what I needed out of this book. I came of age during the reign of John Hughes. Movies like Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off are seared in my consciousness forever. Those films defined a generation. I even revisited a few of Hughes's films like The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful while reading this. John Hughes was a genius at giving honest voices to teenagers in a way that hadn't been done before. I read about 110 pages of this book and honestly, I am pretty sure I got what I needed out of this book. This book gets bogged down by with way too much detail. Better editing would have compelled me to continue, but it is unnecessarily long. There's no doubt that John Hughes changed teen culture while creating a few classics in the process. ...more
3

Jun 30, 2016

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried
Author: Susannah Gora
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 2010
Pgs: 367

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
The cultural touchstones of a generation of American teenagers, the Brat Pack movies and actors changed the fabric of understanding for many who thought they were on their own and that it was only happening to them. John Hughes wrote the soul of the American teenager and put it onscreen for the world to see. Outcasts, prom queens, You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried
Author: Susannah Gora
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 2010
Pgs: 367

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
The cultural touchstones of a generation of American teenagers, the Brat Pack movies and actors changed the fabric of understanding for many who thought they were on their own and that it was only happening to them. John Hughes wrote the soul of the American teenager and put it onscreen for the world to see. Outcasts, prom queens, preppies, burnouts, frosted lip gloss, skinny ties, and a feeling of invincibility. Was it the last time a generation believed in happily ever after?

Genre:
Behind the Scenes
Culture
Film
History
Movies
Non-fiction
Philosophy
Society
Teen
Young Adult

Why this book:
I’m a child of the era. We all wanted to be Jake Ryan. I wanted to be John Bender.
______________________________________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
As much as I wanted to say my favorite character here was John Hughes or Molly Ringwald, I can’t. They’re both shown as people here. More real than Hollywood usually likes people to be shown. Same can be said about all of the eponymous pack.

The Feel:
As I read this book, instead of thinking of the actors, movies, and plots, or even the timeframe, culture, and society, my brain is replaying the theme songs from these movies through my mind’s...ear. John Parr’s St. Elmo’s Fire(Man in Motion) has been running on a loop in my head for way too long.

Favorite Scene:
Gedde Watanabe’s audition to play Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles where he showed up in character and stayed in character until the casters thought that he really had problems with the English language, making them believe that he was actually from Korea and that English was barely a second language to him. And at the end, he reveals to them that he is from Utah.

Molly Ringwald on John Hughes - “He was inspired by me, and I was, in turn, inspired by him. And it was great. I felt a bit that it was like Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. I don’t think that I’ve worked with someone before or since, who I felt understood my strengths as well as John. I just don’t know if I am ever going to find the same thing with anyone else.”

This is one of the saddest statements I’ve ever read in light of John’s having passed on in 2009.

Mia Sara admitting that she threw herself at Matthew Broderick during the filming of Ferris shows on the screen. You can see her real life crush there. Real emotion trumps acting. But good acting is awesome too. Reportedly, Broderick rebuffed her...repeatedly. And that you can’t see in the acting.

The pained awareness behind Ferris’s monologues when he talks about the future.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
Fast Times at Ridgemont High is given short to no shrift in this film. Same with Valley Girl. And a couple others besides. I get that the amount of focus went to the Hughes films plus St. Elmo’s Fire, but the Brat Pack movies felt like more than just these 7 films. Though Fast Times is largely shafted here, mentioned in passing, Say Anything, also penned by Cameron Crowe, does get some love in the final chapters of the book.

Hmm Moments:
John Hughes clacking along on a typewriter with a picture of 14-year-old Molly Ringwald over his writing desk. True, the script turned out to be Sixteen Candles. But...isn’t that a bit creepy? Hughes was very in touch with his female teenager side. He touched the teenage spirit in a way that movies hadn’t previously. But still. Never knew that she inspired the actual character to that degree. Interesting.

Hughes channeled his inner teenage girl better than any director in living memory.

So connected was Hughes to his young cast and his young characters that it seemed at times as if he were going for a do-over of his own teenhood. Of Hughes, mused Time’s Richard Corliss, “ Who wouldn’t grab the chance to remake one’s adolescence?”

Maybe that’s what Hughes was aiming for. And maybe there are some who would think that. I’d say “F that.” The broody son of a bitch that I am today would hate the broody son of a bitch that I was back then.

Never realized that it was during the filming of St. Elmo’s Fire that “that” name got hung on them. Judd Nelson’s feeling that that was a death knell of some kind is telling. The moniker did seem to cheapen the massive talents involved.

Love the casting stories that are included here.

Being in the Brat Pack is like a venereal disease. If someone made a movie with two of the people previously labelled as members, you became a member.

David Blum’s article in the New York Magazine that labelled them the Brat Pack was sarcastic and mean spirited. Joel Schumacher, the director of St. Elmo’s Fire, saw Blum when he came to interview him as coming across like the guy who never got invited to the party and had finally found his lever and fulcrum to move the world. Invited out for a night with the friends, he was shown a bunch of guys who may have been showing out trying to be more impressive and he took it all to heart and inflated it and, then, conflated it with his personal dislikes. So an article that was ostensibly about Emilio Estevez’s budding career as an actor, writer, and director at 23-years old...and being Martin Sheen’s son blew up into something else entirely.

Pretty in Pink has always been my least favorite of the so-called Brat Pack movies. And now I know why. The ending always struck me as out-of-character based on how the plot up to that point. The original ending was supposed to be Cryer’s and Ringwald’s character dancing at prom as friends, but a test audience booed that ending. And thus, the rewritten and filmed ending rehabilitating McCarthy’s caddish character. Always rang false to me. And now, I know why.

The similarities in plot between Pink and Wonderful may be because of the changed ending. Hughes was trying to have the story that he actually wanted get to the screen rather than the focus group screened “hero gets the girl, geek gets left out” ending that Pink ended up with. Some Kind of Wonderful felt derivative in another way too. It re-rung the bell at the museum from Buehler. The author tries to make the argument, unsuccessfully, I believe, that the two movies while sharing thematic elements are sufficiently different. The success of these movies lead to a derivative tidal wave of formulaic, lesser movies. Many borrowing plot elements and, even, stars from other Brat Pack movies.

Ringwald’s manager, her mother, at that time, as the Brat Pack movies reached their nadir, passed on reading for Pretty Woman and Blue Velvet because they didn’t meet Molly’s image. This was the era when Julie Andrews had just appeared topless in SOB. C’mon. Molly’s mismanaged career in this era lead reporters to characterize her as an actress who dithered over scripts, dithered over interviews, and came across as spoiled when she’d tell reporters that the press wouldn't let her grow up naturally.

John Hughes comes across as almost Peter Pan-ish. He was Ferris. He was the characters played by Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, and Matthew Broderick, et al. He channeled his friends and their experiences along with his own. He was in touch with his inner 16-year old girl. Hence, his understanding of Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, and his friendship with Sloane Tannen, his producer’s teenage daughter, who he had extensive conversations with during the production of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She was the namesake of Bueller’s girlfriend Sloane Peterson, making her one part Sloane Tannen and one part Hughes high school buddy Jackson Peterson...at least in name. In today’s post Neverland Ranch, post Long Island Lolita world, we’d make it into something unclean and tawdry. His calling his producer’s house to talk to Sloane instead of her dad would set off the squick alarm at high volume today. Same with his relationship with Molly Ringwald during the filming of Candles, Club, and Pretty. Looking at his results, he was telling the stories of young souls coming to maturity as the real world impugned itself on the fairy tale of High School and its princes and princesses, its trolls and fairies, its blurs and spiders, all its little monsters, all straining toward a better tomorrow that they don’t understand.

It’s a shame that John didn't live long enough to make the high school reunion movies that would have brought some of these characters back to the screen later in life. He made 4 Vacations and 3 Beethovens, and 4 Home Alones...and we still loved his movies. Okay...okay...the Vacations were good stuff.

Ferris represented the first time that Hughes didn’t really connect with his actors on the same level as on the previous movies. This was the beginning of the end of Hughes pack movies even though he still had a few to go. This was Hughes second graduation from High School.

The behind the scenes stuff on Some Kind of Wonderful sounds like a colossal cluster.

Hughes is portrayed here as having the classic “you’re dead to me” attitude toward directors and actors who refused him. Hughes along with some others tried to pressure Anthony Michael Hall to be Ferris thinking that his mother was pressuring him. A 4 hour pressure meeting that after surviving it and still passing on the movie lead AMH to say of John Hughes in this book, “He was my best friend.”

Despite the label Brat Pack and its connotations, when you line up all the work that these actors have been involved in since the 80s, it’s an impressive filmography. Some got typecast into oblivion almost. But some of them have taken part in a touchstone or three outside of the teen, youth, high school genre. The book came out too far back to give credit to them, but Spader’s turn on The Blacklist as Raymond Reddington and Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man are both awesome. The coda hasn’t been written on these actors’ careers. Some of them will fade away but some will continue to pop up and flash their talent before us. And I look forward to it.

Not Another Teen Movie, SuperBad, and a host of fellow travellers are the generational children of John Hughes, Joel Schumacher, and the Brat Pack movies.
______________________________________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
Sad and good and depressing.

Author Assessment:
Loved that Gora chose to reach back to the some of the cultural touchstones of the movies of my youth. It’s a little bit of knowing how the sausage is made though. I love that the document was written. And I enjoyed reading it. But I do think differently about some of it now. I would definitely read other stuff from Susannah Gora.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
glad I read it

Disposition of Book:
Wichita Falls Public Library
600 11th St
Wichita Falls, TX 76301

Dewey Decimal System:
791.4302
GOR
c.01

Would recommend to:
genre fans
______________________________________________________________________________
...more
4

Oct 29, 2019

If you like-love-grew up on Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Say Anything, Some Kind of Wonderful or St. Elmo's Fire you should read this book. It's such a nice trip down memory lane, and I am looking forward to rewatching these films again and again.
1

Mar 05, 2016

I'll begin by writing that I left this book in my bathroom so I could have something interesting to read there. This was a good book to leave in the bathroom. I also read another book simultaneously which cleansed my palate after this love confection.
I thought this book was going to be a serious examination of John Hughes, the actors he worked with and the movies he made with them. Instead (I'm 109 pages in of a 337 page book,) it's more of a gathering of media quotes assembled with tons of I'll begin by writing that I left this book in my bathroom so I could have something interesting to read there. This was a good book to leave in the bathroom. I also read another book simultaneously which cleansed my palate after this love confection.
I thought this book was going to be a serious examination of John Hughes, the actors he worked with and the movies he made with them. Instead (I'm 109 pages in of a 337 page book,) it's more of a gathering of media quotes assembled with tons of repeated adjectives about the actors and some situations that the media has recorded because of their fame. It's not as interesting as I thought it was going to be. If I had read the articles about these people myself I'd get the same information. This book is like wandering around a dated Disney museum, tons of stuff but not much substance. It's like this author is trying to create legends out of people who really aren't legendary. I think this subject definitely has a reason to be examined, I just think this journal writer was not the one to dig deep and get to the heart of the matter.
Just passed page 300. The chapter Eleven: Anything And Everything has to be the best chapter. The author has forgotten to add her little tiresome homilies and loving descriptives of the casts and plots. It's an interesting read compared to the other chapters in this book. This makes chapter twelve even more tedious because the implied Back To The Future reference in the title of this chapter is barely addressed. Where it should be pragmatic, it's nostalgic; where it should be descriptive, it's gushy. It reads as a teen magazine article just way too extended.
The title for this book should be "The Cult of Eighties Teen Mediocrity Or John Hughes is a God in Suburbia". Please skip the chapter titled "Don't You Forget About Me". It is cheesy and if you have any tact it will make your sense of style wilt. It comes on like a big sell and shoots off into the stratosphere to try to make you believe that American Culture was highly influenced by Hughes movies. In reality popular culture does use references to his movies but not all of them and not necessarily to uplift society like a church sermon for bored adolescents.
Reading this book is like eating unpicked Jonah crabs. There's some meat there if you're patient enough to crack the carapace and the small legs but you get annoyed sifting through the crud that comes with the cracking. This is not to say that I disliked John Hughes movies. I liked most of them with the exception of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That movie had funny moments like most of Hughes'. The lead character though was a terminal d-bag. This book needed a better editor. I didn't HATE this book but I can't say that I liked it either. Where is your half a star when you need it? ...more
4

Jun 02, 2011

You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, caters to a very specific audience. And when I say "a very specific audience" what I'm REALLY trying to say is that it was written for people like ME.

This is the anecdotal account of all things related to eighties teenage cinema. While I was always a bit younger than the target audience for these films at the time, once I found their magic early on, I quickly realized, for me, there would be no You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, caters to a very specific audience. And when I say "a very specific audience" what I'm REALLY trying to say is that it was written for people like ME.

This is the anecdotal account of all things related to eighties teenage cinema. While I was always a bit younger than the target audience for these films at the time, once I found their magic early on, I quickly realized, for me, there would be no letting go. I'm not the only person these movies spoke to- their influence still seen in modern day music, film, and in general pop culture. What this book sets out to do is to revisit- and more specifically- analyze what made these films, and their stars, so memorable in the first place.

My favorite part of reading this book was the way it was set up. In large part, many of the chapters were devoted to seminal films of that time period (i.e. Sixteen Candles, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind Of Wonderful, and Say Anything). Each chapter gives a bit of the background of each movie's premise, just in case you were living under a rock and never saw any of them before. (Of course, if haven't, you probably wouldn't be reading a book like this to begin with.) But what made each chapter more special was the behind the scenes approach of each film. Sure, you may have known these stories by heart, but did you know the story BEHIND the story? The casting shifts, the dynamics between the actors, the making of the perfect soundtrack...all of this is what made each chapter less of a pure retrospective piece. Instead, writer Susannah Gora's research managed to offer up new information about old hat classics.

Now some people might argue that they want these films to stay in the pristine teen-aged memories of their mind, not wanting to know the "man behind the curtain", so to speak. But I'm not one of those people. I like knowing the behind the scenes tidbits, even if some of it was hard to stomach. For example, much of the book focuses on the Shakespeare of teenage comedy, writer, director and producer, John Hughes. But not all of the accounts of Hughes paint that pretty of a picture. Sure, nearly everyone who worked with him regarded him as some sort of adolescent channeling genius, but as often comes with genius, there was also an element of madness that depicts a sometimes volatile, and reclusive man.

It probably goes without saying, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, even if someone like me can admit it was perhaps a bit longer and a tad more redundant than it need be. Either way, this book encapsulates a period of time I won't ever forget-- no warning from Simple Minds required. ...more
5

Aug 31, 2014

It’s quite possible that every single person feels fortunate and lucky to have spent their impressionable teen years during the decade they got to experience. I love the 80’s. I truly did…and do. Growing up during the ‘80’s was fabulous, and reading this book brought so much back to me. I spent so many weekends at the movies, and loved Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, etc. John Hughes movies are just GREAT movies that I've shared with my kids and they love them too, and it’s so fun to enjoy the It’s quite possible that every single person feels fortunate and lucky to have spent their impressionable teen years during the decade they got to experience. I love the 80’s. I truly did…and do. Growing up during the ‘80’s was fabulous, and reading this book brought so much back to me. I spent so many weekends at the movies, and loved Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, etc. John Hughes movies are just GREAT movies that I've shared with my kids and they love them too, and it’s so fun to enjoy the emotions and laughs I enjoyed as a kid with my own kids.

This book was so well written and so well researched. I love that the actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. participated in the unfolding of the “story”, which is told for the most part, in chronological order. The behind the scenes information regarding movie production and creation was very interesting as well. So much context was provided about what else what happening in America, in Hollywood, in the movies, that it read like a biographical video in my head. Music was very influential to John Hughes movies, and much back story was given regarding the music as well.

I loved this book. It’s a great addendum to all those movies that I love so much….and will be re-watching throughout the weeks to come! Nostalgic & fun.
...more
5

Nov 14, 2015

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I LOVED this book. The movies discussed - Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful and Say Anything - were my favorite movies as a teenager and shaped my growing up years. Even today, they are still my favorites and are the ones I can watch over and over again. The interviews with all the major players give you a huge insight into the behind the scenes happenings and what the I cannot even begin to tell you how much I LOVED this book. The movies discussed - Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful and Say Anything - were my favorite movies as a teenager and shaped my growing up years. Even today, they are still my favorites and are the ones I can watch over and over again. The interviews with all the major players give you a huge insight into the behind the scenes happenings and what the actors, actresses, John Hughes, Howard Deutsch, Joel Schumacher and Cameron Crowe were really like. You hear from the actors themselves as well as the writers, directors, producers, reporters - everyone involved. You also learn of the impact on not only the teenagers during that time but also the movie and music industry. There was not a boring page in this entire book. I HIGHLY recommend it to those that love these movies. You will love them even more after reading this.

Now I'm off to watch Samantha and The Geek, Bender and Andrew, Billy and Jules, Duckie and Blane, Cameron and Sloane, Keith and Watts and Lloyd and Diane while listening to "Don't You (Forget About Me)" and "In Your Eyes." Good times. ...more
2

Feb 11, 2010


So I think I heard about this book on the Entertainment Weekly Pop Culture blog. The second half of the title is what sold it for me, I thought there would be an analysis of the impact of the films. Not so much. I hated the writing of this, which read for me like a long extended magazine cover feature on John Hughes.

The writing was so over the top, the sentences were way too wordy and sycophantic.

Examples: "There were indeed plenty of deeply happy moments on screen and off. But this was a John
So I think I heard about this book on the Entertainment Weekly Pop Culture blog. The second half of the title is what sold it for me, I thought there would be an analysis of the impact of the films. Not so much. I hated the writing of this, which read for me like a long extended magazine cover feature on John Hughes.

The writing was so over the top, the sentences were way too wordy and sycophantic.

Examples: "There were indeed plenty of deeply happy moments on screen and off. But this was a John Hughes movies, so searing, painful issues were at play just beneath the story's jubilant surface."

"And in his own way, he was saying it to himself. Because there is an agony that the white kids of suburbia carry around with them that is very much their own."

It isn't that some of this isn't true, it's just so annoying to read page after page of this stuff. And there's no point. These movies were important is the only point. My professor gives a lecture on the emptiness of John Hughes' films, oft-titled "John Hughes is evil," and this book by over-praising the films almost seeks to prove his point.

Disclaimer - I read this in one sitting during the Syracuse Graduation ceremony that I was participating in. ...more
2

Apr 01, 2011

I deducted a star for one embarrassing sentence in which the author revealed that she has no idea what "id" and "ego" actually mean.

Also for being dismissive of "Weird Science" and "Uncle Buck," especially the former, since it was during the key period. I think the author must be the only person in the world to like "The Great Outdoors" more than the latter, however.

Plus she's so enamored of Andrew McCarthy that she actually had something good to say about "Weekend at Bernie's." I'll give her a I deducted a star for one embarrassing sentence in which the author revealed that she has no idea what "id" and "ego" actually mean.

Also for being dismissive of "Weird Science" and "Uncle Buck," especially the former, since it was during the key period. I think the author must be the only person in the world to like "The Great Outdoors" more than the latter, however.

Plus she's so enamored of Andrew McCarthy that she actually had something good to say about "Weekend at Bernie's." I'll give her a pass for liking "Mannequin," even if she does it for the wrong reasons (The right ones are Kim Catrall's hawtness and James Spader/G.W. Bailey's team up).

And it seems as if "Lucas" should've been mentioned at some point in this book. And "Timecop" should've been mentioned when talking about Mia Sara.

And there should've been less endless repetition and long-form transcribing of IMDB entries. ...more
4

Oct 02, 2012

This book occasionally took itself too seriously, but I loved it.
3

Feb 23, 2010

Some interesting details from behind the scenes of these movies, but I felt like the book was still missing something that I can't quite put my finger on.
3

Jan 07, 2011

Interesting read if you're a fan of movies like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, etc. The author is obviously a BIG fan and sometimes the writing was a bit fawning, but overall I enjoyed it.
4

Mar 17, 2018

A decent read if you like teen flicks from the '80s, mostly told via interviews with former stars. There's too much "gossip" about Hughes' obsession with the 16-year old Molly Ringwald as his "muse," but who cares. There's also some cool trivia about: 1) Anytime Matthew Broderick goes to a baseball game, someone shouts to him: "Hey Bueller, what are you doing here? Is this your day off?" 2) Eric Stoltz was a "method actor," and would only reply to fellow castmembers if they called him by his A decent read if you like teen flicks from the '80s, mostly told via interviews with former stars. There's too much "gossip" about Hughes' obsession with the 16-year old Molly Ringwald as his "muse," but who cares. There's also some cool trivia about: 1) Anytime Matthew Broderick goes to a baseball game, someone shouts to him: "Hey Bueller, what are you doing here? Is this your day off?" 2) Eric Stoltz was a "method actor," and would only reply to fellow castmembers if they called him by his character's name. 3) Simple Minds' Don't You Forget About Me was supposed to be sung by Bryan Ferry. And 4) Jennifer Connelly almost played Veronica (the Winona Ryder role) in Heathers. How cool would THAT have been? ANYWAY: I give it 4 out of 5 stars. ...more
5

Mar 05, 2018

As a lover of John Hughes and 80s teen movies, the second I saw this book I had to get it! I didn't grow up in the 80s, but because of my parents, Hughes movies became a fundamental part of my adolescence. The very first film I watched of his was The Breakfast Club, and I immediately felt connected to the magic on my screen. At 15, I felt understood, which was something I had never felt before. Picking up this book felt almost cathartic in the fact that it let me dive deeper into the the world As a lover of John Hughes and 80s teen movies, the second I saw this book I had to get it! I didn't grow up in the 80s, but because of my parents, Hughes movies became a fundamental part of my adolescence. The very first film I watched of his was The Breakfast Club, and I immediately felt connected to the magic on my screen. At 15, I felt understood, which was something I had never felt before. Picking up this book felt almost cathartic in the fact that it let me dive deeper into the the world of John Hughes and helped me discover a new love for the work he did. It was cool to see the behind the scenes of the brat pack, Hughes mind, and the impact these movies had (and still have) over a generation. This book was a solid 4.5 stars but I'm rounding up to 5! ...more
4

Jul 23, 2019

This book was really fun, Sixteen Candles is for sure one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time, and Say Anything, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Breakfast Club are also favorites. So I loved learning learning more of the back story of the making of these films. Hearing about St. Elmo’s Fire, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Pretty in Pink made me want to go back and rewatch them and see if I would appreciate them more now. The chapters on each of the movies was great. Her conclusion was long and This book was really fun, Sixteen Candles is for sure one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time, and Say Anything, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Breakfast Club are also favorites. So I loved learning learning more of the back story of the making of these films. Hearing about St. Elmo’s Fire, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Pretty in Pink made me want to go back and rewatch them and see if I would appreciate them more now. The chapters on each of the movies was great. Her conclusion was long and could have been summed up more succinctly but a nice read in general. ...more
4

Dec 18, 2018

Of the films featured in detail in the chapters I still really like two of them, Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful. She does well to get interviews with almost all the actors and film makers featured with two notable exceptions being John Hughes himself, he died while she was writing the book and rarely gave interviews and Emilo Estevez who does not like to focus on past work.
An enjoyable and informative read for fans of this era, the music, the films, the actors.
3

Nov 09, 2018

I really enjoyed this but the writer’s singular approach/perspective makes this more of a fun little filmmaking history lesson than a solid piece of film theory and criticism. She writes as an adoring fan (which was enjoyable as it mirrors my own feelings about the movies), but only vaguely touches upon the other cultural lenses under which these films can be viewed.

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