Holy Brat Pack, Batman! This movie sucks!


So, remember the ’80s? I do. I also remember the teen comedies, many of which starred a group of actors who became lumped into the cyborg known as the Brat Pack. I was a big fan of the high school flicks – Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful (although that doesn’t really include the Brat Pack, but still…). But somehow I kind of missed the “older” BP movies, such as St. Elmo’s Fire. I mean, I certainly remember the theme song, but I never saw the movie, although I know lots of people loved it. So I decided to rectify this by putting St. Elmo’s Fire and another BP-related film, About Last Night… in my Netflix queue, and I watched them both yesterday. And while I actually quite enjoyed About Last Night… (possibly because it was based on a David Mamet play, and very much because of Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins in their supporting roles), St. Elmo’s Fire was exasperating to watch. Most of the characters were poorly written (and in a couple of cases, poorly acted), the plotlines were weak, and it was an absolute waste of two hours. But nothing was quite as irritating as Emilio Estevez’s character, Kirby Keger.

See, Kirby, like the rest of the cast, has apparently gotten his undergraduate degree, and (unlike the rest of the cast) is working part-time while going to law school. Then, at the beginning of the movie, he and the gang go to the hospital to check on two friends who were in a car accident. (Which left one completely unharmed, and the other with a small bump on her head that she was able to slap a bandage on and walk away fine. Why everyone needed to congregate at the hospital for this, I don’t know.) While there, he notices that one of the doctors was a woman who had been ahead of him in school, and with whom he had gone on a single date while he was a freshman. The doctor, played by Andie MacDowell, barely even remembers him. But this brief encounter suddenly inspires him to go to medical school and sends him on a quest to get back with this, the girl of his dreams!

First, he asks her out for a lunch date at a nice restaurant. He shows up four hours early, before the restaurant has even opened, to claim what he considers to be the best table. When the doctor finally shows up, she’s there for all of a minute before the hospital calls the restaurant and she leaves due to an emergency. Kirby finds this frustrating and puts on his frowny face. But instead of doing something logical like attempting to set up another date, he just goes completely into stalker mode.

We next see Kirby, at night, standing outside in the rain, waiting for the doctor to emerge from her apartment building across the street. He sees her drive off, and follows her on his bicycle (so not kidding). It turns out that she was going to a fancy, invitation-only dress party. He goes up to the window, staring in at her in a not-at-all creepy peeping tom kind of way, before basically crashing the party. He walks in, soaking wet, ignoring the guy asking for the invite, and goes up to the doctor, who asks “Kirby, how are you?” to which he replies, “Obsessed, thank you very much.” And rather than being completely creeped out by this behavior, the doctor invites him back to her apartment, where she proceeds to tell him about all of her flaws, and why she’s not perfect. (Although, she somehow forgot to mention wooden acting as a flaw. Seriously, Andie MacDowell is like a 2×4 with legs and long curly hair.) Kirby just looks weird and uncomfortable the whole time. Then the doctor mentions that when she initially got into medicine, it was to help people, but now sees that the field is all about the money. Rather than taking this statement for what is was – i.e. hey, this career I’ve chosen isn’t exactly how I pictured it – Kirby interprets this as “You want money! Got it!” and races out of the apartment to implement his new plan: forget about medical school and go to work for a rich guy. (Seriously, this makes no sense. No sense at all.)

Next, Kirby gets his boss’s chauffeur to take him to the hospital, so he can impress the wooden doctor. He tells her that he’s having a party at the boss’s house that Saturday, and asks her to come. She doesn’t commit, but he’s apparently pretty confident that she’ll be there. The night of the party, there are people all over the house, but no doctor. So Kirby calls the hospital to see if she was called in. Nope. He tries to get them to make an emergency call to her. They won’t. He then takes his friend’s brand new car, goes to the doctor’s apartment, and finds only her roommate. Because Ms. (oops, sorry, Dr.) Thang has gone on a ski trip. He somehow gets the roommate to spill where exactly she went (to which I say, not a very good roommate), and he drives up into whatever mountain cabin she was staying and knocks on the door in the middle of the night. Imagine his surprise when the door was opened by a man wearing nothing but a blanket.

Apparently the good doctor has another man in her life – and why shouldn’t she, since Kirby was so busy making elaborate set-ups that he didn’t bother to actually try talking to or dating her. But that doesn’t stop him from behaving like a three-year old who has to share his toy with a younger sibling. He storms back to the car and tries to leave, but is stuck in the snow. Uh-oh! Guess he’ll have to stay the night! At the doctor’s instistance! Which just boggles my mind, because let me tell you, if some weird guy that I barely knew tracked me down to a mountain cabin after I didn’t show up for a party that I never committed to attending? I would lock his ass out, bolt all the windows, and not feel even the least bad if he froze to death, because that is fucking beyond the pale. (Ooh, I just looked up the origin of that phrase. Fun!)

Anyway, they dry Kirby’s clothes while he sits, wrapped in a blanket and pouting, by the fire. Doctor woman brings him some pajamas, and he’s all like, “You expect me to wear his pajamas?” Well, no, jackass, you could freeze your balls off. No big loss to the world there. The next morning comes, and the valiant boyfriend gets the car running and out of the snow. Before Kirby takes off, the boyfriend offers to go inside and get the camera to take a picture of crazy guy and naively stupid doctor. While he’s inside, the doctor posits that, hey, she made her choice, but who knows, maybe it was wrong. (Based on what exactly? A truncated date and a few instances of stalking?) So Kirby impulsively takes her into his arms, whisks her around, and kisses her. And apparently this was a good kiss, because afterward she looks flustered and he looks happy. He lets her go as boyfriend comes back out of the cabin to take the picture, then he drives off into the sunrise, happy as a clam, apparently over his obsession now that he’s kissed her.

To which I say, are you fucking kidding me?


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