June 05, 2013

St. Elmo's Fire

Bad. Really bad. The writing--by director Joel Schumacher and Carl Kurlander--is utterly preposterous. It's about the fear of encroaching adulthood that upsets the relationships of seven tight-knit college friends. Some of them self-destruct so ridiculously and so unexpectedly (such as Emilio Estevez, who becomes obsessed with a girl he dated once and starts stalking her) that all you can do is laugh, while others are too obviously predetermined to some kind of tragic separate peace. For example: Demi Moore, playing the vapid, cocaine-addicted party girl who's buying everything on credit and sleeping with her married boss. These people stab each other in the back with relish and laugh it off as they slide the knife back out. It's hard to care about characters who are so obviously the concoction of a slick Hollywood marketing campaign, complete with a sentimental music score that forces the audience to feel sympathetic toward them. With Rob Lowe as the alcoholic rock star/party animal who always seems to be carrying his saxophone around, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy as the not-so-happy co-habitating couple, Andrew McCarthy as the pensive, cynical writer who's in love with Sheedy, Mare Winningham as the frumpy friend who loves Rob Lowe too much, Martin Balsam, and Andie McDowell as Emilio's obsession, who delivers perhaps the worst performance of the movie. (Her character strikes a heavy blow toward women's lib: when the stalker crashes a party she's at, she takes him home to talk things out!) David Foster composed the sappy music, which you've probably heard on the radio before. 110 min. 1985. ½

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