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'The Brat Pack documentary is coming, but it's going to ruin our teen fantasy.'

The Brats documentary will be released this month, and if you came of age in the '80s, you're going to want to see it.

Brats (as opposed to ‘Bratz’, a staple of a very different demographic) refers to the Brat Pack, a term bestowed on the group of young actors who starred in iconic '80s films. The films (including The Outsiders, The Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire) and the actors (men like Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Cruise, and, unofficially, females like Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Demi Moore) became cultural symbols of the decade.

Watch the Brats Official Trailer. Post continues below.


Video via YouTube

In the '80s — a time before streaming platforms — there were fewer movies, but more impactful hits. There are still plenty of movies today that make money or win awards, but they will never become iconic the way The Breakfast Club became iconic. There is simply too much content being released every year for one film to become the touchstone of an entire generation.

And the films were our touchstones. The Brat Pack were famous because of the films, not the other way around. Tom Cruise later went on to be the greatest movie star of his era, but back then, he was just an ensemble player like everyone else.

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The movies were the main event. They made the Brat Pack cool. Because ultimately, we didn’t really know the actors at all. In the '80s, celebrities were utterly inaccessible. There was no social media on which Ally Sheedy could post her musings about life and justice. There was no Deux Moi to tell us every time Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore hooked up. There were no fans with cameras posting photos of Rob Lowe.

There was only the occasional stage-managed talk show appearance, or a puff piece in a Tiger Beat magazine.

These days, we know an awful lot about our favourite celebrities, because they share a lot. They share behind the scenes footage and slurpy kisses with new partners and ultrasound pics and tales of sexual encounters. They share drunken selfies and GRWM videos and tributes to their mums and weird stream of consciousness tweets.

These days, actors don’t just have to just be good at their craft, or be cute, or seem cool. They have to hold the right opinions, and demonstrate the right political leanings, and they have to share them at the appropriate time. They need to come across as decent and down-to-earth, but also funny, and self-deprecating, and attractive, in an accessible way

Image: Columbia Pictures. 

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We didn’t require anything of our actors other than that they made really enjoyable movies. I had no idea whether Ally Sheedy was a nice person, or whether Judd Nelson was a progressive. I had no clue what Molly Ringwald thought about anything; she just seemed really cool with great hair.

None of it mattered. The movies were always the main event. The actors were their roles. They became icons because they appeared in iconic films, and not because they had a great Instagram account or posted hilarious tweets or had an aspirational wellness blog.

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And because we didn’t know them, they didn’t disappoint us. We didn’t have to deal with our favourite actor tweeting something problematic, nor get the ick when they posted crying selfies with no caption. We didn’t have to watch celebrity feuds playing out in real time, nor read long breakup notices disguised as declarations of love.

Sure, the Brat Pack behaved badly at times; we just rarely heard about it. Rob Lowe made a sex tape with a 16-year-old girl, but we only saw heavily edited snippets. And though Robert Downey Jr turns out to have been in the throes of addiction, we didn’t find out until years after the fact.

I would have loved to know more about the Brat Pack. I would have devoured a 'Day in the Life' of Emilio Estevez. I would have watched Molly Ringwald's GRWM to go to a premiere. I would have been keen to discover what Andrew McCarthy thought about girls, or how Demi Moore felt about fame.

But I didn’t, and so the Brat Pack remained untarnished in my fantasies, the perfect embodiment of my desires. And no matter what I learn in the new documentary, they will always be my teenage dream.

 Image: Universal Pictures. 

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