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Andrew McCarthy’s documentary Brats has been released on Hulu today. It is a film meant to explore the Brat Pack, which was a group of young actors and actresses who appeared together in coming-of-age films in the 1980s.

The documentary features interviews with several members of the group.

Premiering at the 2024 Tribeca Festival, the documentary delves into the impact of the Brat Pack label on the lives and careers of its members and includes behind-the-scenes footage from their famous films.

As McCarthy reveals, the actors considered to be a part of the group “all hated it” before eventually realizing that it was a term of endearment.

“Who wants to be called a brat when you’re a kid?” he explained. “Particularly when you’re a kid and you think you are a brat, so you don’t want to be called it, and you don’t want to be a member of a pack and all that, and we felt it affected our lives, you know?”

“Over time it’s become this wonderfully iconic, affectionate term, you know?” he added.

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How Did The ‘Brat Pack’ Get Their Name?

The term “Brat Pack” was coined by writer David Blum in a 1985 New York Magazine article.

Obviously, the name was inspired by the “Rat Pack” of the 1950s and 1960s. However, it included a twist to reflect the younger generation of actors.

Blum used the term to describe the group of young, successful actors who often appeared together in teen-oriented coming-of-age films in the 1980s.

“This is the Hollywood ‘Brat Pack,'” he wrote in the column. “It is to the 1980s what the Rat Pack was to the 1960s—a roving band of famous young stars on the prowl for parties, women, and a good time.”

“And just like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr., these guys work together, too—they’ve carried their friendships over from life into the movies,” he continued.

Blum notes that the group sells tickets and then reaps the rewards through “fat contracts and limousines.”

But even then, as now, some people aren’t quite clear on all of the members of the Brat Pack. Let’s take a quick look at the core of who was in the group.

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Emilio Estevez

Estevez was considered the “unofficial President” of the Brat Pack, particularly after his role in the movie The Breakfast Club.

He starred in other Brat Pack movies as well, including “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Outsiders”.

The New York magazine article describes him as one of the few members who seems comfortable with the fame, pointing out he is the “son of a famous actor, Martin Sheen.”

“I’ll bet if you asked everyone in the cast who their best friend is,” director Joel Schumacher said at the time, “they’d all say Emilio. He’s that kind of guy.”

Anthony Michael Hall

Anthony Michael Hall starred in several Brat Pack movies, including The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.

Hall was considered the youngest member of the group. He often played the “geek” in these films and was praised for his work alongside Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club as “the movie’s standout performers.”

Despite being a part of the Brat Pack, Hall has stated that the group never really existed in a meaningful way, suggesting that it was more of a media creation than an actual social clique.

Rob Lowe

Lowe starred in several Brat Pack movies, including The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, and About Last Night, and was considered one of the key figures of the group.

The New York Magazine article describes Lowe as having “the most beautiful face” out of all the Brat Pack members.

His career would temporarily be derailed by s sex tape scandal, before rebounding with numerous standout roles including in The West Wing and Parks and Recreation.

Andrew McCarthy

McCarthy himself starred in several Brat Pack movies, including St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink, and was considered one of the core members of the group.

The article isn’t quite as big on his membership in the group, mentioning him in passing and not exactly in glowing terms.

They point to one co-star who describes McCarthy this way: “He plays all his roles with too much of the same intensity. I don’t think he’ll make it.”

Spoiler: He made it. Not only as an actor but as a director, most notably for his work on Orange Is the New Black.

Demi Moore

Demi Moore appeared in St. Elmo’s Fire – the only truly Brat Pack-associated movie in her filmography – and About Last Night. She was considered to be a member of the group.

Well, she didn’t see herself that way. Despite being a part of the Brat Pack, Moore has expressed that she never felt like she was truly part of the group.

And, in fact, the original column coining the term only mentions her as the girlfriend of Estevez.

Judd Nelson

Nelson, as many on this list have, starred in Brat Pack movies including The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire.

He played the “criminal” student in The Breakfast Club who was sentenced to Saturday detention for pulling the fire alarm.

In an emotional twist, it is revealed he had a physically and verbally abusive father who burned him on the arm with a cigar for spilling paint in the garage.

Unfortunately for Nelson, Blum pegged him as the “overrated” member of the group. And yet, he ended up with a filmography that has spanned many decades.

Ally Sheedy

Ally Sheedy was also cast in Brat Pack movies The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire.

She played Allison in The Breakfast Club, a compulsively dishonest student with neglectful parents. Allison was constantly stealing things to use should she ever run away from home.

“I’m finally popular with these guys,” she recalled thinking about the group in a 2010 interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition. “I was not popular in high school.”

Sheedy is not, however, listed in the original article covering the Brat Pack.

Jon Cryer

Cryer was not a core member of the Brat Pack. He also did not consider himself to be a part of it.

However, his breakout role as Duckie in the film Pretty in Pink alongside Molly Ringwald, gets him an honorable mention.

Cryer revealed that he auditioned for McCarthy’s role in St. Elmo’s Fire but didn’t get the part.

Molly Ringwald

Another actor not listed as an original member, Ringwald became synonymous with the group due to her roles in teen films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.

Ringwald earned positive reviews for playing Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club. The character was a spoiled, wealthy beauty who is in detention for skipping class to go to the mall.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1996, she said remembered those Brat Pack days “very fondly.”

Other Brat Pack Members

Numerous other actors and actresses have been linked as members of the Brat Pack over the years. Some more deserving than others.

The New York Magazine article also includes these names: Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, and Nicholas Cage.

Others such as John Cusack, Kevin Bacon, Lea Thompson, and Kiefer Sutherland have also shown up on some lists.

All of these actors, whether core or ancillary members of the Brat Pack, represented the coming-of-age experience for many people who watched their movies.

“When they (fans) look at me, they see their own youth,” McCarthy said.

If you want to relive that era and see your own youth one more time, tune into Brats on Hulu.

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