A new book by Susannah Gora takes a look at the group of young actors who appeared in the John Hughes films that seemed to define a generation — and certainly changed the way teenagers were portrayed on screen. You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation is the story of Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, John Cryer, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estavez, and Anthony Michael Hall and the movies they made with Hughes and others. It was New York Magazine that termed them “The Brat Pack,” a nod to Frank Sinatra’s famous “Rat Pack” of performers who played Vegas and made movies together in between drinks and parties. Hughes’ movies include The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink (I still want Andie to get together with Duckie!), Sixteen Candles, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Gora quotes Roger Ebert’s description of writer-director Hughes as “the philosopher of adolescence” and talks about the impact the movies and their music had on the culture and on the teenagers who appeared in them. The highlight of this year’s Oscar ceremony was the tribute to Hughes from his favorite performers, concluding with Matthew Broderick’s just-right thank you: “Danke Schoen.”
You can listen to Scott Simon’s interview with Gora and the brat pack actors she covers in the book on NPR.