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Battle of the Brat Pack movies: Which is your favorite?

Ask anyone who was a teenager in the ’80s to name a few movies that impacted them, and I’ll bet at least one of their answers will be one that starred a member—if not the entirety—of the Brat Pack. With their coming-of-age themes, hot young actors, and plenty of angst, these movies defined a generation and remain relevant today.

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” —The Breakfast Club

Whether you were lucky enough to see these movies when they first premiered or watched them years later, you surely have a favorite: one that you identify with; one that you can punctuate conversations with key pieces of dialogue from; one that you will always, always, stop channel-surfing to watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it; and one that has moments that still make you catch your breath.

Here are a few of the EW Community’s favorites. Which of these is yours?

Pretty in Pink

Blane, Andie, and Dukie in Pretty in Pink

It’s the classic love triangle: Quirky, outcast girl likes unattainable boy in completely different social class; awkward, lovable male best friend pines—unashamedly—after girl; unattainable boy bravely busts social boundaries to be with girl; girl is caught in the middle. Well, classic for an ’80s angsty teenage movie by John Hughes, anyway.

Pretty in Pink not only defined the second half of my junior year of high school, but it gave awkward girls like me who identified with girls like Andie (minus the deadbeat but lovable dad and the penchant for dressing like a hobo) hope. Hope that the gorgeous guy you lusted for from afar but never dreamed would notice plain old you would one day send you a pixelated secret admirer letter, then reveal himself by standing up on the other side of the computer desk in the library (which stops my heart to this day)? Sure, but hope for so much more.

Because Pretty in Pink is more than just an inconceivably wonderful love story; it’s a lesson about letting your freak flag fly no matter who tries to rip it down. It’s a lesson that the people who terrify you with their status and perceived confidence are perhaps the ones who are struggling to find themselves the most. And it’s a lesson about finding strength in your own character.

Andie in Pretty in Pink

Funny, sad, uplifting, not to mention full of amazing songs, Pretty in Pink is so much more than a movie about a guy, the prom, and a dress. “If someone doesn’t believe in me, I can’t believe in them,” Andie says to Blane (not a major appliance, BTW). It’s something I don’t think you can ever hear enough, no matter how old you are. Michelle Newman


About Last Night

Cast of About Last Night - 1986

1986’s About Last Night is the overlooked gem of the Brat Pack genre. Based on David Mamet’s 1974 play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, the dialogue is witty and sharp as it cuts into the relationship between its leads, Debbie (Demi Moore) and Danny (Rob Lowe).

From a one-night-stand origin to cohabitation to a teary split, every milestone is chronicled. But the true scene-stealers are Joan (Elizabeth Perkins) and Bernie (Jim Belushi), the pair’s bickering best friends, who deliver one-liner after one-liner, making viewers wonder what they’ll say next. Karen Belgrad


Sixteen Candles

Samantha and Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles

As a child of the ’80s, I can summarize Sixteen Candles in two words: Jake Ryan. His hair, jawline, car, and perfectly fitted jeans were the epicenter of Samantha’s teenage angst. Sure, her parents forgot her birthday because Sam’s sister was on the verge of marrying an oily bohunk, and a persistent geek charged innocent freshmen an entire dollar to see her borrowed underpants, but that never stopped Sam from adoring Jake from afar.

Luckily for us, her turmoil is rewarded with a happy ending. Girl stalks boy. Boy acquires undies. Girl cries on couch. Boy makes move. Sam notices Jake waiting for her as he leans against his red Porsche. She mouths an enthusiastic “THIS IS THE BOY” to her sweet father before ditching her sister’s reception. They sit on top of the glass dining room table, and Jake instructs Sam to make a wish as they bask in the candlelight of her birthday cake. She cautiously utters, “It already came true.” Cue the slow build-up of an epic kiss set to the tune of “If You Were Here” by the Thompson Twins. It only took a little over three minutes for this legendary scene to go down in the books as one of the most dreamy finales in romantic-comedy history.

Also, you can’t forget Long Duck Dong. Hilarious. Lincee Ray

Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles


The Breakfast Club

Cast of The Breakfast Club

There are many reasons The Breakfast Club is the most excellent film the Brat Pack era: humor, fully drawn and complex characters—teenagers, no less!—and five actors who could all compete for Best of the Brats on their own, but who, together, have unrivaled chemistry.

The Breakfast Club dance

The lessons these Shermer High students pick up during detention aren’t overplayed after-school-special clichés, but things we could all relate to and needed to hear. These are lessons that were not only current in 1985, but still resonate today: cliques and class wars; fitting in and standing out; drug use, violence, and weapons in schools; and, of course, parents who just don’t understand. Simultaneously, The Breakfast Club radiates the soft pastel glow of the suburban 1980s, yet somehow manages to stay relevant and ultimately timeless today. Wendy Hathaway


St. Elmo’s Fire

st elmo's

No other Brat Pack movie can lay claim to starring six members (Judd, Andrew, Emilio, Demi, Ally, and Rob) of the unofficial club. And with those six actors (plus Mare Winningham), the tale woven is so intrinsically 1980s. Putting aside Kirby stalking Andy, the movie is steeped in infidelity, drugs, saxophone, and figuring out one’s post-college path in life. But be sure to throw in an awesome Billy Idol mural when you’re having your eventual nervous breakdown … and never, ever take off the pearls. Karen Belgrad

Ally Sheedy in pearls - St. Elmo

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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