Continuing my journey back through time to some of the defining films of my teenage years, I watched St Elmo’s Fire recently.
Made in 1985 and directed by Joel Schumacher ("Lost Boys", "Flatliners"), it involved virtually every hot brat packer of the time: Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson.
The film tells the story of a group of friends that have just graduated from Georgetown University and their adjustment to their post-university lives and the responsibilities of encroaching adulthood. Some of them do not handle their new life well: Lowe is a drunk constantly in trouble and milking his wealthy best friend (Mare Winningham) for all she is worth and Moore is a credit card/drug abuser living an ‘apparently’ glamorous life. It’s all typical of the American yuppie generation of the mid-80’s with their cheesy politics, outfits, belief in advertising as art and cocaine addictions.
The soundtrack is too tacky for words, featuring such 80’s masters as Airplay, Fee Waybill, Elefante (who?) and the irritatingly unforgettable theme song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" performed by David Foster.
It is incredible to watch again for a few reasons: Demi Moore, pre plastic surgery and still with her puppy fat, Rob Lowe destroying his life (not sure any man should be born that beautiful, but that is beside the point) and the apartments these kids live in - particularly the one Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy own with its giant Nike add covering an entire wall of their loft – yes, this was what was covetable in 1985. Didn’t we also want to look like Demi in her homage to Madonna (all corsets and fur and teased hair) and the pearls … god these girls wore them and they wore them well, usually teamed with a Holly Hobbie lace collared long dress – remember those? It seems frump fashion really rocked hard in 1985.
See it now if you consider yourself a true 80’s fan, but be a purist and only rent out an old boxy ‘video’ if you can get your hot little hands on one.