Theme Times – The Brat Packer’s #9

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Brat Packers by association only: Kiefer Sutherland and Sean Penn.


Kiefer Sutherland By Gage Skidmore from Peoria


Sean Penn By Georges Biard

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland (born 21 December 1966) is a British-Canadian actor, voice actor, producer, director, and singer-songwriter. He is known for his starring role as Jack Bauer in the Fox drama series 24 (2001–2010, 2014), for which he won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Satellite Awards. He is the son of Canadian actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas, grandson of Canadian politician Tommy Douglas and the father of actress Sarah Sutherland.

He has also starred as Martin Bohm in the Fox drama Touch, and provided the facial motion capture and English voices for Big Boss and Venom Snake in the video games Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. He starred as President Tom Kirkman in the Netflix political drama series Designated Survivor.

Sutherland got his first leading film role in the Canadian drama The Bay Boy (1984), which earned him a Genie Award nomination. Since that time he has had a successful movie career, starring in films such as Stand by Me (1986), The Lost Boys (1987), Young Guns (1988), Flatliners (1990), A Few Good Men (1992), The Three Musketeers (1993), A Time to Kill (1996), Dark City (1998), Phone Booth (2002), Melancholia (2011), Pompeii (2014) and Flatliners (2017).

Connection to Brat Pack

Sean Penn

Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor, director, and filmmaker. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008).

Penn began his acting career in television, with a brief appearance in episode 112 of Little House on the Prairie on December 4, 1974, and directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in the drama Taps (1981), and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Penn garnered critical attention for his roles in the crime dramas At Close Range (1986), State of Grace (1990), and Carlito’s Way (1993). He became known as a prominent leading actor with the drama Dead Man Walking (1995), for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen’s comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and the drama I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She’s So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly (1998) and the drama 21 Grams (2003).

Penn made his feature film directorial debut with The Indian Runner (1991), followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11’09″01 September 11 (2002), a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. His fourth feature film, the biographical drama survival movie Into the Wild (2007), garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations.

In addition to his film work, Penn has engaged in political and social activism, including his criticism of the George W. Bush administration, his contact with the Presidents of Cuba and Venezuela, and his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Connection to Brat Pack


Following on from Theme Times – The Brat Packers!! Here is our 9th feature episode of Brat Packers – both original and by association only.

I am huge fan of both of these two actors and have been for a very long time indeed and l grew up with as they aged and then started their acting careers. So l am very familiar with a lot of their work.

Now as far as the Brat Pack connections go, some would have you believe that in fact Breakfast Club and St Elmo’s Fire were the only two and yet others would tell you that it was Taps that was the first Brat Pack movie which starred Hutton, Cruise and Penn. Now none of the original bratpackers were in that film, but Cruise and Penn worked closely with a lot of them.

The Penn brothers, Sean, Chris and Michael grew up with the Sheen Brothers Charlie and Emilio – so there was a friendship connection also.

I mean one never gives Harry Dean Stanton a second thought and yet he is one of my all time favourite actors and he starred in two of the films as well as being involved in a mentoring position to a lot of the younger actors themselves, he too is a bratpacker by association.

The reality is that there are many more by association bratpackers than even this mini series covers and most of the time they are included because of small bit parts, or they starred alongside other brats, they dated them or they hung out, partied and got drunk with them. The two Corey’s Haim and Feldman starred alongside Keifer  in Lost Boys and Feldman also starred in Stand By Me. Keifer was known when younger for his wild behaviour…

The passing of Time has shown to us that the brat packers were not all brilliant actors, but they were on screen at a time that made them famous in the early to later eighties. They gained notoriety through teen star fame. This in itself was hardly surprising if you think on that and the rise of popularity of ‘films’ themselves say since the later 70’s when there were simply not many ‘teen films abound’.

It would take the failure of one film at the wrong time for the right time window to open up and allow for an unusual film to make an entrance – that was Stand by Me – this in fact opened up the genre properly and in so awarded us with the start to the rise of the brat pack. This then opened up further the ravine for a host of films and brat packers and associate brat packers to fall into.

In the case of Keifer his ‘brat pack connection’ comes via Lost Boys; Jami Gertz and the two Corey’s. None of which are original brat packers by the standards of brat pack movies. But he also starred earlier in Stand by Me and later in Young Guns and it’s that which makes him an association brat packer. John Cusack also appeared in Stand By Me as did Corey Feldman. Proving it really is a case of not what you know, but who you know.

Sean was in Taps and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Bad Boys alongside Ally Sheedy as well as The Falcom and the Snowman with Timothy Hutton. After a while you can start to see why it starts to get a little bit confusing with the term by association brat pack.

However, with this ‘brief’ introduction into complexity’ over with, here are 7 of what l consider their best performances. Both Keifer and Sean will be having their full Theme Time Bios created next year.


Kiefer Sutherland

1 – 24 – 2001 – 2014

Jack Bauer, an agent working for Los Angeles’s Counter Terrorist Unit, solves various cases along with his dedicated team. Jack thwarts multiple terrorist plots to protect innocent people.

2 – Designated Survivor –  2016 2019

As a lower-level cabinet member, Tom Kirkman never imagined something would happen that would catapult him to the oval office. When a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the president and most of the Cabinet, the Housing and Urban Development secretary — who was named the designated survivor in case of such an event — finds himself promoted to leader of the free world. Suddenly thrust into his new position of power, Kirkman struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos and must adjust to his new normal, unaware of what fresh horrors may await the United States.

3 – Touch – 2012 – 2013

Martin Bohm, a widower is wedged between spirituality and science when he finds out that his emotionally challenged son Jake, can foretell events even before they occur.

4 – 24: Live Another Day – 2014

Jack Bauer escapes police custody after the president signs the peace treaty. Later, he is on a mission to stop a massive terrorist attack in London.

5 – The Lost Boys – 1987

Lucy along with her two sons, Michael and Sam moves to a small town in California. Soon, the two boys are sucked into the mysterious and dangerous world of bikers, vampires and vampire hunters.

6 – Flatliners – 1990

Five medical students decide to embark on a dangerous experiment to attempt to learn more about the afterlife. However, their experiment begins to go awry and they almost bring themselves near death.

7 – Eye for an Eye – 1990

Karen’s life is shattered when her 17-year-old daughter is murdered. Shock and grief turns into rage when the killer is released on parole. Karen is now determined to make him pay for his crime.

Sean Penn

1 – Mystic River – 2003

After the death of Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, Sean, a police officer, investigates her murder which leads him to a crime that took place twenty-five years ago.

2 – I Am Sam – 2001

Sam, a man with special needs, fights for the custody of his daughter when her mother abandons them. He tries to prove that he is a capable father with the help of an infamous lawyer.

3 -The Professor and the Madman – 2019

Based on the 1998 book `The Surgeon of Crowthorne’ by Simon Winchester, the life of Professor James Murray is portrayed as he begins work on compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century. As he led the overseeing committee, the professor received over 10,000 entries from one source in particular – a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr William Minor.

4 – Milk – 2009

Harvey Milk, an American activist, faces several difficulties while fighting for gay rights and becomes California’s first openly gay official to be elected to public office.

5 – Dead Man Walking – 1996

Honouring the request of a desperate man, Sister Helen Prejean writes to the condemned killer of two teenage lovers, and is wholly unprepared for the relationship that develops.

6 – Carlito’s Way – 1993

Carlito Brigante chooses to lead a quiet life after being released from prison. But when he reluctantly becomes a part of a drugs deal, he realises that there is no escape.

7 – The Game – 1997

Nicholas Van Orton, a merchant banker, receives a strange birthday gift, a voucher for a game, from his brother Conrad. When he actually makes use of the voucher, he falls in trouble.

So there we go folks, two class A mighty fine actors – fans or not?

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4 thoughts on “Theme Times – The Brat Packer’s #9

  1. Sean Penn…The scene in Mystic River when he finds out it’s his daughter… OMG!!
    I remember him from Taps & At Close Range. He’s a fantastic actor!!

    And Keifer… I’m a huge fan of his too! Not a horrible singer either. I’m not a big fan of Country music, but I might have to give Keifer more of a listen. I didnt know his daughter was in the business. 3rd generation…🤔

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