Less Than Zero is the 1987 film based loosely on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis wasn’t initially a fan of the film and felt that most of the characters had been miscast, although he did have positive things to say about Robert Downey Jr and James Spader’s performances.
Andrew McCarthy is Clay, a young man in his first year at college who recently found out his girlfriend has been cheating on him with drug addict and close friend Julian, played by Robert Downey Jr. When Clay comes home for Christmas his girlfriend Blair, Jami Gertz’s character, tries to act like nothing has happened. As the film progresses, Julian’s drug problem becomes worse the plot revolves around his life and how it’s spiralling out of control.
The film version was very different from the book mainly because of the strong anti drugs message that it demonstrates and also the fact that Clay’s character is quite different and a lot of the decisions he makes aren’t the same.
A sequel to Less Than Zero has been written by Ellis called Imperial Bedrooms. A film is currently being talked about and is due to be released at some point in 2012.
Movies sometimes portray things like drug addiction and addictions treatment in a way that differs from what they really are like in real life.
Less Than Zero Rating
A bit dark in parts but some excellent acting from a great cast and anyway, the Bangles’ brilliant version of Hazy Shade of Winter means it was always going to get a good review from me! Less Than Zero gets a Brat Pack rating of 8/10.
Less Than Zero Characters
Less Than Zero Trivia
$38 was the fee Brad Pitt got paid for his uncredited appearance.
Less Than Zero was the first movie where Robert Downey was credited as Robert Downey Jr.
Clay Easton was originally going to be played by Keanu Reeves.
Less Than Zero Links
One of the last 80’s Brat Pack movies and probably the only one I’ve not bothered to watch more than once. It reminds me of a version of Pretty In Pink that is trying to be too cool for its own good.
Fresh Horses is the story of Matt Larkin, a college student that falls for a younger, married and less educated girl. He wants to get out of his engagement and she wants to get away from an abusive husband.
I didn’t really understand large parts of the film and the only thing that kept my mind from wandering was the performance of Molly Ringwald. She seems to somehow look especially beautiful and captivating here even though you want to give her character a good shake. Andrew McCarthy’s character as well as his performance in Fresh Horses aren’t up to much.
This is probably the only Brat Pack movie that left me feeling a bit confused and with the feeling that it was all a bit pointless. There is something I like about it but I can’t quite work out what, maybe it’s Ben Stiller looking like very young and very gay.
If you fancy a Ringwald and McCarthy fest, stick to Pretty In Pink.
Brat Pack Rating
Fresh Horses is by no means my favourite Brat Pack flick and deserves no more than a 5 out of 10.
Characters in Fresh Horses
Jewel – Played by Molly Ringwald
Matt Larkin – Played by Andrew McCarthy
Fresh Horses Trivia
Look out for a young Ben Stiller as well as Viggo Mortensen.
One of the few PG-13 rated movies that allowed the use of the word “fuck” more than one time and still maintain its rating. Neither use was in a sexual connotation.
Fresh Horses Links
One of the very first Brat Pack movies and not just your run of the mill high school fare. Class is an often over looked film that deserves more attention for its well written script and good character development.
Rob Lowe plays wealthy student Skip and McCarthy is his shy room mate Jonathan. Skip thinks Jonathan could do with some help where the ladies are concerned so sends him to a sleazy bar in the city. Little does Skip know, the woman Jonathan gets to grips with is Skip’s Mom!
The pair have a brief fling but once Ellen (Skip’s Mom) finds out how old Jonathan really is, she end the relationship.
Everything would have been fine, had it not been for Skip inviting Jonathan to his place for Christmas.
Skip – A well to do, popular and confident student at the Vernon Academy.
Jonathan – Skip’s shy room mate who falls for Skip’s Mom.
Ellen – The good looking older woman who also happens to be Skip’s Mom!
Rob Lowe apparently threatened to quit the movie if he wasn’t allowed to appear naked in a certain scene.
Alan Ruck has a very small role, blink and you’ll miss him.
Another 80’s classic written by John Hughes and starring Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink was the definitive teenage love story of the 80’s.
Molly Ringwald plays Andie, a modern girl from a poor family who falls for Andrew McCarthy’s character Blane. Blane is from a different world to Andie due to his wealthy upbringing. Their friends struggle to accept their relationship because they are all from different social circles. Blane’s best friend Steff does all he can to scupper their bond.
Andie’s mother left her and her father years ago and Andie has since struggled to make her dad get a job. Her two best friends Duckie and Iona help her deal with all the dramas. What Andie doesn’t realise is that Duckie is madly in love with her.
Pretty In Pink is not quite as good as Hughes’ other movies of the same era such as The Breakfast Club and Some Kind Of Wonderful but it still goes down as a classic.
Brat Pack Rating
Being Hughes and Ringwald it’s hard to find too many faults with Pretty In Pink. Throw in an excellent bad guy played by James Spader and it rates a solid 8/10.
Pretty In Pink Characters
Andie – Fashion conscious, new wave girl struggling with money and relationships.
Duckie – Andie’s ever faithful friend who is also madly in love with her.
Blane – A rich guy but also a good guy, has his sights set on Andie.
Steff – Balne’s best friend who is rotten to the core! Doesn’t want Blane getting involved with the poor crowd.
Pretty In Pink Trivia
Duckie and Andie originally ended up together but Hughes was put under pressure to change the ending by the studio. Ringwald also felt the ending with Duckie wasn’t right and said she felt he was more like a brother but did have chemistry with McCartney’s character Blane.
Michael J Fox was originally offered the part of Duckie.
Andrew McCarthy had to wear a wig when the ending of the film was re-shot because he had shaved his head for another role.
Pretty In Pink Links
Andrew McCarthy was the one Brat Packer who had more than a handful of hits in the 80’s. He went off and held the lead role in both Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s in addition to his Brat Pack roles in Class, St Elmo’s and Pretty In Pink.
He often played the leading man and or heart throb but he was also just as comfortable in co-starring roles.
He has gone on to become an extremely accomplished actor.
Andrew McCarthy Biography
Andrew McCarthy was born on 29th November 1962 in Westfield New Jersey. He attended Edison Intermediate School and at the age of 16 his family moved to New York where he attended Pingry School, performed in plays and musicals and played basketball.
Andrew went to New York University as a theatre major and soon landed the lead in the 1983 film, Class. This was Andrew’s film debut and he starred alongside Jacquelyn Bisset and Rob Lowe.
Class was followed by a succession of box office hits for McCarthy including St Elmo’s Fire, Pretty In Pink, Mannequin Less Than Zero and Weekend At Bernie’s.
McCarthy’s roles became less mainstream but did draw more critical acclaim. His most well known movie of this period was probably 1996’s Mullholland Falls.
Stage work and current roles
McCarthy made his Broadway debut in 1985 in the Vietnam drama The Boys of Winter. The last five years have seen him star in no less than nine plays including the Tony award-winning Sideman on Broadway.
Kingdom Hospital was Andrew’s biggest role of recent times. He played the lead role Dr Hook in this 2004 mini series from Stephen King. Andrew has also appeared in Monk, Law and Order and E-Ring in recent times.
Andrew McCarthy Quotes
“I have to accept the fact that these films have had a fantastic effect on people, and to deny that doesn’t make any sense until I do something that has the same cultural and social impact of those movies. That’s just the way it is.”
“I thought I understood the story very well, because I’ve lived with it for so long. But movies change and take on a life of their own once they start to be made, and you have to keep your eye on the real ball, not the ball that’s in your head.”
Andrew McCarthy Links
Andrew McCarthy – Andrew McCarthy’s official site.
Andrew Appreciation Site – Includes biography, pictures, movie and stage information, and trivia facts.