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Andrew McCarthy Explains How Brat Pack Movies Like ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ Were the Pipeline to ‘Friends’ (Exclusive)

The Brat Pack is the blueprint — at least according to Andrew McCarthy.

“The show Friends is like St. Elmo’s Fire, except a week later and funnier,” McCarthy, 61, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting his upcoming documentary, Brats. “[The Brat Pack] started the vanguard of things being about and for young people. That just didn’t exist in Hollywood like that before that. … The Brat Pack was out in front of that.”

McCarthy called the group of young actors — which included himself, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, among others — “ instrumental in the shift towards youth culture” in the 1980s.

The Brat Pack movies, like St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club, “put friendship at the center,” McCarthy explained.

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“That was new and different. There weren’t movies about friendship being the most important thing in life, it was always ‘get the guy, get the girl,’” he recalled. “That’s what movies were about was romance and the thing to be held up as this wonderful thing.”

Andrew McCarthy Explains How Brat Pack Movies Like St Elmos Fire Were the Pipeline to Friends
Andrew McCarthy Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Creating movies and TV shows focused on friendship was “a real seismic change” at the time “that we take for granted now,” McCarthy explained.

In Brats — spoiler alert — McCarthy sits down with some of his old costars, including the now 60-year-old Lowe. The actors discussed the cultural change that the Brat Pack had on Hollywood.

“TV shows like Glee, The CW …. all of these things we now take for granted, don’t happen without the Brat Pack,” Lowe declared. “They just don’t.”

While talking with Us, McCarthy also discussed how it’s hard to recreate a phenomenon like the Brat Pack now because of how Hollywood has changed.

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“There was, back in the day, a very unified youth culture. Every Friday night there was a new movie coming out for and about young people … and everybody went to that movie on that Friday. Next week there was another one,” he recalled. “Now, things are so fractured and everybody’s doing so many different things that it’s really impossible culturally.”

The only thing McCarthy could think to compare it to is how “everybody was marveling” over Barbie in July 2023.

“It was certainly a very different time and trying to capture how that happened and explain what that was about was a large part of [Brats],” he continued. “I hadn’t thought about it that much until I started making the movie and I realized, wow, we really were — as Rob said, and Malcolm Gladwell said — really instrumental and at the vanguard of that change.”

Brats premieres Thursday, June 13, on Hulu.

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