Theme Times – The Brat Packer’s #12

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Brat Packers by association only: Matthew Broderick, Robert Downey Jr and Michael J Fox.

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Matthew Broderick By Towpilot – Own work

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Robert Downey Jr By Photo by Alan Light

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Michael J Fox

Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick (born March 21, 1962) is an American actor, comedian and singer. His roles include the Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of the title character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), the voice of the adult Simba in Disney’s The Lion King trilogy (1994–2004), and Leo Bloom in both the Broadway musical The Producers and its 2005 film adaptation. Other films he had starring credits in include WarGames (1983), Glory (1989), The Freshman (1990), The Cable Guy (1996), Godzilla (1998), Election (1999), Inspector Gadget (1999) and You Can Count on Me (2000). Broderick also directed himself in Infinity (1996) and provided voice work in Good Boy! (2003), Bee Movie (2007), and The Tale of Despereaux (2008).

Broderick has won two Tony Awards, one for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), and one for Best Actor in a Musical for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995). As of 2019, Broderick remains the youngest winner of the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

Main claim to Brat Pack Fame Wargames 1983

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor, producer, and singer. His career has been characterized by critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, before a resurgence of commercial success in middle age. In 2008, Downey was named by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world, and from 2013 to 2015, he was listed by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest-paid actor. His films have grossed over $14.4 billion worldwide, making him the second highest-grossing box-office star of all time.

At the age of five, he made his acting debut in Robert Downey Sr.’s film Pound in 1970. His subsequently worked with the Brat Pack in the teen films Weird Science (1985) and Less Than Zero (1987). In 1992, Downey portrayed the title character in the biopic Chaplin, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and won a BAFTA Award. Following a stint at the Corcoran Substance Abuse Treatment Facility on drug charges, he joined the TV series Ally McBeal, for which he won a Golden Globe Award; however in the wake of two drug charges, one in late 2000 and one in early 2001, he was fired and his character terminated. He stayed in a court-ordered drug treatment program shortly after and has maintained his sobriety since 2003.

Main claim to Brat Pack Fame 1985 Weird Science

Michael J Fox

Michael Andrew Fox OC (born June 9, 1961), known professionally as Michael J. Fox, is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, author, film producer and activist with a film and television career spanning from the 1970s. He starred in the Back to the Future trilogy in which he portrayed Marty McFly. Other notable roles have included his portrayal of Alex P. Keaton on the American sitcom Family Ties (1982–1989) and Mike Flaherty on the ABC sitcom Spin City (1996–2000). He has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, a Grammy Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at age 29, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. He semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of the disease worsened. He has since become an advocate for research toward finding a cure, and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Sweden’s Karolinska Institute gave him an honoris causa doctorate on March 5, 2010, for his work advocating a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Since 1999, Fox has mainly worked as a voice-over actor in films such as Stuart Little and Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. On the CBS TV show The Good Wife, he earned Emmy nominations for three consecutive years for his recurring role as crafty attorney Louis Canning.  He has also taken recurring guest roles and cameo appearances in Boston Legal, Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rescue Me, and Designated Survivor. He has written three books: Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010, and was also inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2000.

Main claim to Brat Pack Fame 1985 Back to the Future [Lea Thompson]

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Today’s episode is the very last one to this series ‘The Brat Packers’ and quite possibly the most confusing especially given our three actors and the films, connections and associations. I happen to be a huge fan of all of these actors and was saddened when l heard of Micheal’s Parkinson’s diagnosis in 91 – it was a sad loss of a great career. As l have researched this series and rekindled my yesterday’s as an avid film buff and as a follower especially of ‘Pack’ movie styles in so far as Brat, Rat, Frat and Teen or Youth Age as l think it has been listed, genre wise, l have come to realise a few things as well as had my eyes opened.

True Brat Pack movies had to have the minimum of two original brat pack members and there were 8 of those only – Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy, Anthony Michael Hall. True Brat Pack Movie fame was really only 1985 – Brat Pack Sociality fame was 1985 – 1988 and because of the social parties, high jinxing and drinking this meant that a lot of young adult actors were associated with the original line up. Association/connection acting meant that other actors were then indirectly classed as ‘fellow brackers, sometimes referred to as the ‘second team’.

If we were to look at the movies listed throughout this series and the actors/tresses we have reviewed – there is a hell of a selection but are they all ‘really’ brat pack quality in so far as the message of the brat pack itself? For sure they were great teenaged movies but true brat packs – l am not so sure. Not all the actors were brilliant even for the day and time has shown clearly to us the ones that were meant to be ‘bigger successes’ anyway.

Michael J Fox wasn’t in any of the true brat pack tagged movies, and his only association is with Back to the Future a ‘great teen movie’, but because Lea Thompson was in the same film, they were both classed as Brat Packers and yet Lea wasn’t a true Brat either, but by association only. Fox drank with Lowe and Nelson and was classed socially as a packer yet he was always teased as to whether he was one or not.

Broderick’s claim to brat pack fame came with Wargames where he starred with an original Brat –  Ally Sheedy in 1983 as well in Ferris Bueller’s Day off with Grey, Sheen and Alan Ruck [Another association Brat Packer – Bad Boys, Class, Young Guns II]. But FB Day Off was made by John Hughes …

Now as to Robert Downey Jr well he has a much stronger claim to Brat Pack Fame – first off he was known to party hard with the likes of Lowe, Nelson and Estevez. He was in 1985’s Weird science with Anthony Michael Hall, The Pick Up Artist 1987 with Molly Ringwald and Johnny Be Good 1988 again with A.M.Hall.

All this aside however, these three actors l have followed their careers for years and l was and still am a fan of them all. They will each be appearing in their own Theme Time Bio’s this year but for the time being here are four of their best works in my opinion.

So? How about you? Fans or not?

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Matthew Broderick

1 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1986

Ferris Bueller, a high school student, fakes sickness to stay at home and spends the rest of the day with his best friend and girlfriend. Meanwhile, his dean is trying to spy on him.

2 – Glory – 1989

Robert Shaw, a white officer, faces opposition from his fellow officers and ire from enemy soldiers for leading a battalion of black soldiers.

3 – Election – 1999

Tracy runs unopposed for her high school election. However, the school’s civics teacher has different plans, so he tells the varsity’s popular football player to run for president and chaos follows.

4 – 1918 – 1985

The moving story of a small Texas town in 1918 where, until an influenza epidemic hit and several broken young men returned from the war, the horrible conflict in Europe seemed nothing more than parades and songs.

Robert Downey Jr.

1 – Chaplin – 1992

An aged Charlie Chaplin narrates his life to his autobiography’s editor, including his rise to wealth and comedic fame from poverty, his turbulent personal life and his run-ins with the FBI.

2 – Iron Man – 2008

When Tony Stark, an industrialist, is captured, he constructs a high-tech armoured suit to escape. Once he manages to escape, he decides to use his suit to fight against evil forces to save the world.

3 – Sherlock Holmes – 2009

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr Watson, send Blackwood, a serial killer, to the gallows. However, they are shocked to learn that he is back from the dead and must pursue him again.

4 – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – 2005

A thief, pretending to be an actor, gets involved in a murder investigation in Hollywood when he befriends a private eye. He soon draws in a struggling actress in the investigation.

Michael J Fox

1 – The Frighteners – 1996

After an accident, Frank is able to see and speak with ghosts. He uses them to haunt a few houses in the neighbourhood and then use his ‘psychic’ abilities to exorcise the houses for a fee.

2 – Teen Wolf – 1985

Teenage misfit is initially dismayed to learn he is a werewolf but soon realises his hereditary curse has its advantages.

3 – Casualties of War – 1989

During the Vietnam War, Private Eriksson must fight against the enemy and his own squad leader Sergeant Tony Meserve when he orders the squad members to kidnap and rape a poor Vietnamese farm girl.

4 – Doc Hollywood – 1991

Benjamin Stone is on his way to L.A. where he is going to make big bucks as a plastic surgeon. But when he takes a detour through a small town he finds himself attached to the place and people there.

So there we go folks the last of the mini-series and we have seen – Broderick, Downey Jr and Fox – fans or not?

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4 thoughts on “Theme Times – The Brat Packer’s #12

  1. I’m a fan of all three.
    I loved Downey Jr in Allie McBeal and Sherlock Holmes movies. He was also good in an indie called “A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints” with Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson.

    Fox will always be McFly and more so recently, Stuart Little

    With Broderick, I love Ferris Bueller and I also liked him in Ladyhawke.

  2. Haven’t seen most of these except War Games, which I love. I’m planning to see RDJ in Dr Doolittle in a few weeks. Looking forward to it 🙂

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