The fact that I saw “St. Elmo’s Fire” at the Northtown Theater is firmly enshrined in my memory. But IMDB has me doubting my memory. If the rated R movie came out the summer of 1985 when I was thirteen, would I have really gone to see it? Maybe Jenni’s mom took us. Or maybe I saw it in the summer of 1986 when I was fourteen and it had been released on VHS.
I doubt the R rating would have caused my parents any concern. They did not hide nudity or violence from us at all, which is why I saw all the Porky’s movies before I finished Junior High.
Regardless, there were many, many viewings of “St. Elmo’s Fire” in my early teenage hood. The movie was very influential to the girls in my neighborhood. So influential that we spent a lot of time making hairspray fires in Jenni’s garage. Did I mention we were stupid and not watched very closely? Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that’s the same summer we’d play “Machete” which involved Jenni’s older brother Jeff chasing us around the yard with an actual Machete, and to be safe one would have to dive into the garage as the garage door came down. This was made even more exciting by the fact that garage doors didn’t have those object/motion sensor things back in the 80s. I’m amazed we made it out of childhood alive.
But, like I said, “St. Elmo’s Fire” was very influential and was, what I thought, a very accurate reflection of what adulthood would be like. I was wrong. Obviously. Watching the movie yesterday I was surprised by just how wrong I was and how the movie is rather absurd. I wonder if it was absurd even in the 80s. Here’s some of the thoughts I had while watching it:
- Kirby (Emillio Estevez) ought to be tossed in the clink for stalking.
- Why didn’t Alec (Judd Nelson) just go into business if he was going to so easily flip-flop by volunteering for that Republican senator allegedly to make more money? Also, doesn’t volunteering imply that there is no pay? Also, since when do 22-year-old senate aides make so damn much money? They have a fine, fine apartment.
- Leslie (Ally Sheedy) wants to take time off of dating to focus on her career. I have no idea what she does.
- Woah, Jules (Demi Moore) is smoking in the office.
- Kevin (Andrew McCarthy) seems to be the only one living a realistic post-college experience — shitty, entry-level job and a shitty apartment with a roommate.
- Billy’s (Rob Lowe) habit of humiliating and sexually assaulting his friends is really not cool.
- Can you really get an advance on your pay? Is that something that can actually happen in real-life corporate America or is that something the movies and TV invented?
- How come Leslie and Wendy (Mare Winningham) dress like grandmas?
- I bet saxophone players look back at the 80s as the golden era.