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What the Hell Happened to Andrew McCarthy?

Andrew McCarthy

The Brat Pack givith and the Brat Pack taketh away.  By now, the “What the Hell Happened” series has documented the careers of several young actors in the mid-eighties who were branded with the Brat Pack label.  Some fared better than others, but those most closely associated with the coming-of-age movies of the mid-decade generally had the hardest time escaping the kinds of roles that made them famous.  Andrew McCarthy had the fortunate misfortune to star in two of the quintessential Brat Pack movies and he’s got the scars to prove it.

So, what the hell happened?

Andrew McCarthy – Class – 1983

McCarthy’s movie debut was in the 1983 sex comedy, Class.  It’s your typical, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy discovers that girl is his best friend’s mom, boy gets back together with girl because she’s played by Jacqueline Bisset story.  Even the its leading man admits, there are problems with the movie’s premise:

It was supposed to be a silly comedy, but then it’s really weird. This isn’t funny. You’re having an affair with your friend’s mother. It’s all very weird and kind of early ’80s kind of bizarre. I haven’t seen it in a million years. I don’t know if it actually would hold up in any way, or if it held up at the time.

A lot of actors have to pay their dues to land a leading role in a questionable sex comedy like Class, but McCarthy didn’t.  He got into acting when his academic career hit a snag:

I had just gone to college for two years and was asked to leave, because I didn’t go, really. Then a friend of mine called and said, “There’s an ad in the newspaper. They’re having an open call for a movie and wanted 18, vulnerable, and sensitive.” I was like, “Dude.” I went and auditioned with 500 other 18, vulnerable, sensitive kids.

Rob Lowe costarred as McCarthy’s best friend from school who isn’t too keen on the idea that his buddy is bedding his mom.  Lowe, who made his movie debut earlier that year in The Outsiders, was a relative vet.  John Cusack and Virginia Madsen also made their big screen debuts in Class.

Critics complained that Class was a retread of The Graduate that couldn’t decide whether or not it was supposed to be funny.  It opened in fourth place at the box office and quickly disappeared from theaters.  After Class, McCarthy thought his acting career was over.  He went an entire year without finding more work.

Andrew McCarthy – Heaven Help Us – 1985

When McCarthy finally found work again, it was in another coming-of-age sex comedy.  Following the success of Porky’s, the eighties were flooded with movies about repressed teenagers trying to get laid.  By the time Heaven Help Us came along in 1985, they were running out of ways to differentiate one bawdy comedy from the next.  So this one was set in an all-boys Catholic school.  What could be more funny than a sex Catholic sex comedy?  Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

Heaven Help Us was an inauspicious start to what would turn out to be a big year for McCarthy.  Critics complained that the movie couldn’t settle on a a consistent tone and audiences stayed home.  Although it is among the lesser-known of McCarthy’s movies from the decade, the actor considers it to be his favorite from the early stage of his career.  Whatever, Heaven‘s shortcomings, you have to admit it has an amazing cast.  McCarthy’s classmates were played by Kevin Dillon and Patrick Dempsey and the teachers included Donald Sutherland, John Heard and Wallace Shawn.  Mary Stewart Masterson appeared as a local girl who flirted with McCarthy.

Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore – St. Elmo’s Fire – 1985

Later that year, McCarthy appeared in another ensemble cast.  The coming-of-age drama, St. Elmo’s Fire, featured a who’s who of young actors of the eighties.  The movie follows a group of recent college graduates as they struggle to find their place in the world.  McCarthy portrayed an idealistic writer who comes between a yuppie couple played by Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.  Rob Lowe played the bad boy and Demi Moore appeared as the party girl of the group.  Emilio Estevez portrayed McCarthy’s roommate who spends much of the movie pursuing Andie MacDowell.

Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson – St Elmo’s Fire – 1985

St. Elmo’s Fire was released a few months after John Hughes’ high school drama, The Breakfast Club.  While the two movies are not related, St. Elmo felt like a spiritual successor to The Breakfast Club.  In between these two movies, a reporter for New York Magazine wrote an article about the young actors from these movies that painted them in a bad light.  He coined the phrase “the Brat Pack” and it stuck.  According to McCarthy:

The whole Brat Pack thing was this weird thing that just sort of happened. Because then, it was after the publicity for St. Elmo’s Fire, Emilio Estevez was doing an interview, and he had the brilliant idea to go get drunk with a reporter for New York Magazine. They went out with a couple of guys and got drunk with a reporter and behaved like young people do when they’re drunk in a bar. The guy clearly thought these guys were total little brats and wrote that and came up with this very witty name, which we were all appalled and aghast at at the time, and everyone else was thrown into this thing. At the time, it was this sort of, “Oh, my god, what’s this?”

As it turns out, McCarthy wasn’t actually a member of the real life Pack.  Estevez, Lowe, Nelson and the others all lived in Los Angeles at the time.  They spent a lot of time hanging out together.  But McCarthy still lived in New York.  He said that while they were making St. Elmo’s Fire, he felt “pretty isolated” from the rest of the cast since he was the only one staying in a hotel.  But as far as the general public was concerned, McCarthy was guilty by association.  Appearing in St. Elmo’s Fire made him an honorary member of the Brat Pack whether he liked it or not.

Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald – Pretty in Pink – 1986

If McCarthy had any hope of escaping the Brat Pack label, his next movie ended it.  You couldn’t get more Brat Pack than starring in a John Hughes movie opposite his muse, Molly Ringwald.  Ringwald played a girl from a poor family who starts seeing a rich, sensitive guy played by McCarthy.  John Cryer completed the love triangle as Ringwald’s eccentric friend, Duckie.  Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader and Annie Potts rounded out the cast.

Originally, the role of Blane, was written as a macho jock.  But Ringwald used her influence over Hughes to go a different way with the character:

I had actually got the part in Pretty In Pink because I had just been in St. Elmo’s Fire, and then they said, “Well, this part, the part in Pretty In Pink, we’re shooting for this, like, hunky, you know, square-jawed quarterback type.” And I was young and sensitive. So, they said, “Well, you’re not really right for it, but you’ve just been in this St. Elmo’s film. You can audition. We’ll give you a courtesy audition.” So, I went and auditioned, and Molly was there reading with people. When I left, Molly said, “Now that’s the kind of guy. He’s all like pouty and dreamy that I’d fall for.” And John Hughes was like, “That wimp?” But he listened to her, and there I was.

Following test screenings, the ending of the movie was also changed.  In the original ending, Ringwald ended up with Cryer’s character after McCarthy dumped her.  But audiences who saw that ending hated it, so the cast was brought back together for reshoots.  Unfortunately, McCarthy had shaved his head for a play he was doing in New York, so when he shot the new ending in which he professes his love for Ringwald, he did so wearing a cheap wig.

I’ve always said that if they’d known we’d still be talking about it 30 years later, they’d have paid for a better wig. So it’s wig-acting basically at the end. I look so forlorn and sad with this really bad wig on while I’m telling her I love her. That wig does 90 percent of the work for me, because I just look… ‘Something is wrong with him. Look, it looks horrible.’ And it’s just bad wig-acting.

McCarthy has said that Pretty in Pink is the movie he will be remembered for.  It was the biggest box office hit of his career up until that point and his only first-place opening.  More importantly, Pretty in Pink became *the* prom movie for a generation of girls who grew up with John Hughes movies.

Andrew McCarthy – Mannequin – 1987

After the success of St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink, McCarthy’s stock was on the rise.  He was offered the leading role in the romantic comedy, Mannequin, without having to audition.  On the upside, that’s a sign that an actor has “made it”.  On the other hand, it was a movie about a guy who falls in love with a plastic dummy.  McCarthy had second thoughts about the movie just before shooting began:

I was like, “What? What am I doing? This is a movie about a guy who falls in love with a mannequin.” I told [my agent], “I’ve got to get out of this movie.” They’re like, “You read it. It starts on Monday. You’re not getting out of it.”

The movie was originally written with Dudley Moore in mind.  But when McCarthy agreed to take the plunge, the script was rewritten for a younger actor.  Kim Cattrall costarred as the inanimate object of McCarthy’s affection, Meshach Taylor played a flamboyant window dresser and James Spader was cast as McCarthy’s rival.  Spader and McCarthy knew each other from Pretty in Pink and McCarthy encouraged him to join the cast of Mannequin.

When it was released, Mannequin was savaged by critics.  Roger Ebert wrote, “This movie is a real curiosity. It’s dead. I don’t mean it’s bad.  A lot of bad movies are fairly throbbing with life. Mannequin is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater.”

Audiences didn’t care.  Mannequin opened in third place at the box office, but surprisingly it had legs.  The movie hung around in the top ten for nine weeks and ended up outgrossing Pretty in Pink.  McCarthy remembers the movie’s silly charms, “It’s a very sweet movie in many ways. It’s so uncynical, and so unhip and savvy. There’s something about it that’s very pure. It’s lovely.”

Andrew McCarthy – Less Than Zero – 1987

As the eighties wound down, the Brat Pack actors were trying to distance themselves from the coming-of-age roles that made them famous.  If they wanted to have any kind of career in the coming decade, they needed to make the difficult transition into adult roles.  McCarthy made his bid for grown-up status in Less Than Zero, the big screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis.

Today, Ellis is a known quantity, but Less Than Zero was his first novel.  McCarthy referred to the movie adaptation as “a classic example of studio executives buying a hot book and never having read it.”  The book focused on a group of rich young college students who deal with their isolation by experimenting with drugs and casual sex.  The movie retained the title, the names of the characters and not a lot else.

For the movie, McCarthy’s character was changed into a straight arrow who returns to his hometown to help his friends kick their drug habits.  Jami Gertz played his ex-girlfriend who is addicted to cocaine.  Robert Downey Jr., who was struggling with real life addiction, portrayed McCarthy’s best friend who has started having sex with Gertz.  Downey’s drug dealer in the movie was played by James Spader.

Even in its watered-down state, the studio was horrified by the first cut of the movie.  Audiences at test screenings disliked the characters played by Downey and Gertz, so the movie was reshot and recut to make them more likable.  Most critics felt that the movie missed the mark.  It opened in fourth place at the box office behind Baby Boom which has been in theaters for five weeks already.  Over time, audiences have warmed to Less Than Zero including Ellis who initially refused to watch the movie but now appreciates it as a representation of the eighties lifestyle.

Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald – Fresh Horses – 1988

Next up, McCarthy costarred opposite Matt Dillon in the crime drama, Kansas.  As usual, McCarthy played a nice young man.  Only this time, instead of taking Molly Ringwald to the prom, he runs into a drifter who forces him to help rob a bank.

Later that year, McCarthy reuinted with Ringwald for the coming-of-age drama, Fresh Horses.  But this was no John Hughes movie.  McCarthy played a college student whose seemingly perfect life is upended when he falls for a country girl played by Ringwald.  After McCarthy’s character breaks things off with his fiancee, he discovers that Ringwald’s character has been keeping a few secrets.

These projects made sense for McCarthy.  The parts played to his strengths (If you were looking for a guy to play a sensitive college student in the late 80’s, McCarthy had to be on your short list), but they also offered him the opportunity to transition into adult roles.  Unfortunately, neither of these movies was very well-received.  McCarthy said his choices at the time were not part of some carefully constructed plan:

There was no, you know, the hands were not on the wheel. I was just a young guy doing the next job that came along in very real ways. I didn’t have the wherewithal or the savvy to plot and buy material and plan… I just didn’t come from that. It didn’t really even occur to me in a real way. So that job came up, and I’m thinking, “Oh, Molly. I like Molly. And we did well in the last movie. Sure.” I mean, it didn’t work out at all, that one.

Andrew McCarthy – Weekend at Bernie’s – 1989

The next job that came McCarthy’s way was the high concept comedy, Weekend at Bernie’s.  McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman played employees at an insurance company.  When they discover a case of fraud, they report it to their boss who invites them to spend Labor Day weekend at his island beach house as a reward.  The guys think they are climbing the corporate ladder, but in reality their boss is planning to have them killed to cover up his crimes.  But you know how these things go.  Instead, Bernie gets himself killed by his mob connections and the guys spend the weekend pretending that their boss isn’t dead.  Hijinks ensue.

Weekend at Bernie’s is a movie with only one joke stretched out for nearly an hour and a half.  To enjoy the movie, you have to really like slapstick comedy.  Fortunately for everyone involved, there were just enough fans of this brand of silliness to make Weekend at Bernie’s a modest hit.  Emphasis on the word “modest”.  The movie opened in eighth place at the box office and grossed a so-so $30 million dollars which qualified it as the 39th highest-grossing movie of the year.

Andrew McCarthy – Tales From the Crypt – 1991

The end of the eighties was a rough time for the Brat Pack.  The coming-of-age movies that had made them famous had fallen out of favor.  And they were aging out of those roles anyway.  But audiences weren’t willing to accept a lot of these actors in adult roles.

Certain actors were more successful than others in making that transition.  McCarthy fell somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.  As the nineties kicked off, he fared better than Judd Nelson but not as well as Emilio Estevez.

At the start of the decade, McCarthy was making movies most audiences never saw.  For example, he played Henry Miller in a French movie based on the writer’s autobiography.  He also showed up in an episode of the HBO anthology series, Tales From the Crypt.

Andrew McCarthy and Sharon Stone – Year of the Gun – 1991

In 1991, McCarthy returned to the big screen in John Frankenheimer’s political thriller, Year of the Gun.  McCarthy played an American writer in Italy during the 70’s.  His character is researching a novel about the Red Brigades when he meets a photojournalist played by a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone.  She unwittingly hands his manuscript over to the actual Red Brigades which puts them both in danger.

While McCarthy liked the movie, he later admitted that he wasn’t right for the role at that time.  “If there was ever one movie that I did that I would love to have had another chance at doing, it would have been that one. I was wrong for the part. I was too young, and I was not right for it. But I love that kind of political intrigue kind of movie. But they’re hard to do, and it didn’t work.”

Andrew McCarthy and Helen Hunt – Only You – 1992

The following year, McCarthy starred opposite a pre-fame Helen Hunt in the romantic comedy Only You.  In this one, McCarthy gets dumped by his girlfriend just before they were supposed to leave on a trip to Mexico.  Hunt played the travel agent who informs McCarthy his tickets are non-refundable.  So McCarthy goes to a bar where he meets a party girl played by Kelly Preston.  He offers his extra ticket to Preston, but their vacation doesn’t go as planned.  She keeps running off with other guys leaving McCarthy to bond with his travel agent.  In a sign of things to come, Only You skipped theaters and went direct to video.

In 1992, after several years of struggling with alcoholism, McCarthy began a detox program and sobered up.  “It took a while for alcohol to really sort of kick my (butt), which it ended up doing completely … maybe 88 to 92.  The first Bush presidency, I like to say, I missed.”

Andrew McCarthy – Weekend at Bernie’s 2 – 1993

By 1993, McCarthy had nothing to lose.  So he figured, sure, why not make a sequel to Weekend at Bernies?  The obvious answer to that question is that the first movie just barely managed to milk a single joke for 90 minutes.  There was no way two guys carrying around their dead boss’ corpse could sustain a second comedy, but they gave it a shot anyway.  McCarthy seems to have a sense of humor about his decision to return for another Weekend.  “I mean… no one was really thinking there, were they? [Laughs.] We just did it again, you know?”

Critics liked the sequel even less than they did the original.  And they didn’t like the first movie.  Audiences who were charmed by the silliness in 1989 stayed home for the sequel which grossed less than half of the original movie’s $30 million dollar take.  And thus, any hopes for a trilogy were dashed.

Andrew McCarthy – The Joy Luck Club – 1993

McCarthy also had a small role in The Joy Luck Club that year.  The adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel was a big prestige picture that was positioned for Oscar nominations that year.  But the movie didn’t connect with critics or audiences as hoped.

The good news for McCarthy was that it showed he had left his Brat Pack days behind him.  The bad news was that he was no longer a leading man.  At least not in mainstream movies.

By the mid-nineties, McCarthy moved into the indie movie circuit.  He had a small role playing Dorothy Parker’s husband in Alan Rudolph’s biopic, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle in 1994.  Jennifer Jason Leigh starred as the famous writer with a cast that included Campbell Scott, Martha Plimpton, Lili Taylor, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Beals, Matthew Broderick, Keith Carradine, Peter Gallagher, Heather Graham, Stephen Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Wallace Shawn.

Andrew McCarthy – Mulholland Falls – 1996

When leading roles came McCarthy’s way, they were in the kinds of movies that played in select cities or film festivals or went straight to video.

Every once in a while, McCarthy would show up in a supporting role in a Hollywood movie.  In 1996, McCarthy appeared in the noir thriller, Mulholland Falls.  The movie was about the LAPD of the 1950’s known as the “Hat Squad.”  Nick Nolte starred as the detective in charge of an investigation into the murder of a young woman played by Jennifer Connelly.  McCarthy portrayed Connelly’s gay best friend who filmed of her sexual exploits.

The next several years consisted primarily of direct-to-video and TV movies.  In 1999, McCarthy married his college sweetheart.  Twenty years after they had first dated, the actor tracked down his ex after hearing that she was seeing someone else.  Three years later, the couple welcomed a son but two years after that the marriage ended.

Andrew McCarthy – Law & Order: Criminal Intent – 2007

Eventually, McCarthy started showing up in guest spots on TV shows.  In 2000, he appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.  Three years later, he played a different character on the original Law & Order series.  And then in 2007, he portrayed a third character on L&O: Criminal Intent.  He also dropped by shows like The Twilight Zone and Monk while starring in a steady stream of TV movies like Georgetown and Straight from the Heart.

Andrew McCarthy – Kingdom Hospital – 2004

In 2004, McCarthy landed the starring role on the TV show, Kingdom Hospital. Stephen King adapted Lars von Trier’s original Danish miniseries for American television.  The show was set in a hospital in Maine that was built upon the site of a mill that burned down during the Civil War.  McCarthy played a surgeon who works with a psychic played by Diane Ladd to uncover the hospital’s secrets.  After the success of the first episode, ABC extended Kingdom Hospital from a mini-series to an on-going show.  But as ratings steadily declined, the network cancelled the show after the first season.

The following year, McCarthy had a recurring role on the NBC military drama, E-Ring.  For five episodes he played the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs on the show about the Pentagon.

In 2008, McCarthy returned to the big screen with a small role in the fantasy movie, The Spiderwick Chronicles.  The movie was intended to launch a franchise based on the book series by  Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, but the follow-up films never materialized.  Freddie Highmore starred as a pair of identical twins and Sarah Bolger played their sister.  The kids’ parents were portrayed by Mary-Louise Parker and McCarthy as the estranged father.

Andrew McCarthy – Lipstick Jungle – 2008-2009

From 2008-2009, McCarthy was a regular on the NBC drama, Lipstick Jungle.  The show was based on a book by Sex and the City writer Candace Bushnell.  The premise is basically the same – a group of glamorous women living in New York City balance their careers with men and fashion.  But the women (Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price) were older and the show was subject to network standards.

It’s probably not all that surprising that a sanitized version of Sex and the City was not a big ratings hit.  Making matters worse, the show faced competition from the similarly themed Cashmere Mafia from Sex and the City creator Darren Star.  Star had originally developed a version of Lipstick Jungle for television, but when that deal fell through he came up with own show.  Meanwhile, NBC went ahead with plans to adapt Bushnell’s book.  The end result was two very similar shows competing for a modest audience.

Although Lipstick Jungle only lasted two seasons, it had a massive impact on McCarthy’s career going forward.  McCarthy was allowed to direct two of the show’s twenty episodes.  That opened the door for McCarthy to move behind the camera.  Over the last decade, McCarthy has directed episodes of Gossip Girl, Alpha House, The Blacklist and Orange Is the New Black among others.  According to McCarthy, directing came naturally:

It’s an interesting job, because I have every actor neurosis that there is, right? So I understand what the actor is dealing with. I’ve been on a set my whole life. I just know how sets run. I know what is wasting time on a set. It’s just a job that I found when I started doing it: ‘Oh, I have an aptitude for this, and I can do this. And I really enjoy it.’ Not being the center of attention—I’ve found it to be really satisfying.

Andrew McCarthy – Gossip Girl – 2008

Meanwhile, McCarthy was still spending time in front of the camera often on TV shows he was directing.  He appeared in episodes of Gossip Girl, White Collar and The Family many of which he also directed.

But McCarthy wasn’t done exploring new career opportunities.  He also took up travel writing.

That was all an accident. I traveled a lot. I found travel changed my life. I love what it did for me. And I read a lot of travel [writing], and none of it seemed to capture what was happening to me when I was on the road, so I was just writing about it. And I met an editor then. And he eventually let me write for his magazine, and I just started writing. And then I won an award at it, and like anything, you win an award, and suddenly you’re a genius. And so then people who wouldn’t return my emails, they’re suddenly asking for me to write for them.

In 2010, while writing for the travel magazine Ash, McCarthy had a harrowing experience.  He visited an underground church in Lalibela, Ethiopia to witness an exorcism when he was confronted by a guard.  According to McCarthy, he had left his ticket in his hotel room.  Since he lacked proper documentation, the guard escorted him from the church at gunpoint.

His gun [was] pointed at my back.  I thought his reaction to my offense was extreme; I tried to say as much. He grunted something in Amharic and prodded me with the tip of his rifle.

But McCarthy wasn’t put off by the experience.  In 2012, he released his own travel book, The Longest Way Home.  In 2015, he wrote an article for National Geographic about traveling to Ireland to explore his roots.

So, what the hell happened?

McCarthy got into acting almost by accident.  He was a young kid with no idea what he was doing and he was struggling with a drinking problem that would only get worse once he became famous.  Like the rest of the Brat Pack, McCarthy was thrust into the spotlight and became a household name overnight.  Then almost as quickly, his career cooled off as he outgrew the coming-of-age movies that made him famous.

Fortunately, McCarthy has done pretty well for himself since then.  As his movie career was winding down, McCarthy was able to get sober.  He has continued to acting, but he’s branched out into directing and travel writing.  Along the way, McCarthy remarried.  He and his second wife have two children together.

What The Hell Happened Directory

 

 

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Posted on August 24, 2017, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. At last, the Andrew McCarthy article is here! It was worth the wait.

    Now for some of my personal notes about McCarthy. McCarthy (along with Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Anthony Michael Hall) is one of my favorite members of the Brat Pack. While I wasn’t a huge fan of “St. Elmo’s Fire” per say, I did enjoy McCarthy’s performance. My favorite McCarthy movie, though, is “Weekend at Bernie’s”. The plot was crazy, but it was just crazy enough to work. (The sequel was not needed.)

    PS: I like these shorter articles, so please keep doing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that the Andrew McCarthy article is done, will another ’80’s star be next?

      Like

    • I feel like the new format is working out reasonably well. I am thinking that as I revamp some of the older articles, they will be trimmed down a bit. This also allows me to put out new articles on a more regular basis.

      Like

    • Judd Nelson, Judge Reinhold, Eric Stoltz, Charlie Sheen, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/15665025

      All these guys are still working today, but they were huge movie stars in the 1980s. They were the epitome of cool and today they do straight to video movies and TV shows.
      The only actor I can think of who did not suffer the same fate was Robert Downey Jr. and I think that’s only because of his family connections in Hollywood. His career is better now than it ever was.
      —Anonymous (86 views)

      49 replies 08/06/2015

      Andrew McCarthy does a lot of directing. He directed some of the OITNB episodes and I’ve seen his name on some other shows.

      —Anonymous

      reply 3 08/06/2015

      Andrew is a terrible actor. He just signed a deal to write a kid’s book.

      —Anonymous

      reply 7 08/06/2015

      What is the story with Andrew McCarthy? The last time I saw him he looked like a skeleton. Is he ill? Does he follow some weird diet? Is he manorexic?

      —Anonymous

      reply 16 08/07/2015

      Andrew McCarthy is a fine travel writer, but he is a terrible actor.

      —Anonymous

      reply 18 08/07/2015

      Of the guys you list, all fit the teen idol category except for Judge Reinhold. That type of stardom never lasts (see David Cassidy, Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, etc.). As for Judge Reinhold, I had heard back in the day that his ego got out of control and no one wanted to work with him anymore. He was never a star anyway, but rather always played second banana or the wisecracking sidekick. He was supposed to be the star of Fast Times At Ridgemont High but Sean Penn stole the movie from him. I heard that irked him to no end.

      —Anonymous

      reply 21 08/07/2015

      The actors fared better than their female co-stars with the exception of Demi Moore who just lucked out because she was the prettier one. Ally Sheedy, where are you?

      —Anonymous

      reply 22 08/07/2015

      Ok also eric stoltz and Charlie sheen, have had success beyond the 80s. Most of the brat pack were not good actors, the 80s brat pack was all about looks and less about talent.

      —Anna

      reply 30 08/07/2015

      How do some of these people survive? Emilio Estevez doesn’t do that much directing or producing. Andrew McCarthy does do a lot of directing. But I can’t imagine how Judge Reinhold can have a roof over his head. Some of these actors go years in between projects

      —Anonymous

      reply 35 08/07/2015

      Like

      • The 80s Brat Pack – were they good actors?

        https://www.datalounge.com/thread/9836129

        John Hughes was a good director for what he was doing. The actors were all serviceable. But Hughes, and the scripts made them stars.%0D %0D That said, Andrew McCarthy was without a doubt the worst actor that ever appeared in an 80’s film. All he ever did was look like a deer in the headlights and then grab someone’s face with both hands while kissing them. That’s really all he did.

        —Anonymous

        reply 23 11/13/2010

        Andrew McCarthy always creeped me out – those nervous, shifty bug-eyes and his red nose/face but pale pallor that made him look sickly. Never could understand the appeal.

        —Anonymous

        reply 34 11/14/2010

        Like

  2. Nice addition to the WTHH series. I know McCarthy mostly from St. Elmo’s Fire and Mannequin. I’ve never been fond of St. Elmo’s Fire, but I have had just a bit of a soft spot for Mannequin—yes it’s silly a lot of the time, but both McCarthy and Kim Cattrall are so engaging you can’t help but root for them.

    Like

    • I don’t know if I ever watched Mannequin from start to finish. I know I have seen chunks of it on TV. It’s only been within the last few years that I watched St Elmo’s Fire all the way through and I didn’t especially like it. I caught up with Less Than Zero around the same time and liked it well enough for what it was, but it’s not very good. I recall a friend of mine in high school dragging me to see Weekend at Bernie’s. She was a big fan. I remember laughing, but once was enough.

      Whenever I write one of these articles, my opinion of the subject usually changes as I read up on them. In this case, I didn’t really have a strong opinion of McCarthy one way or another. I certainly wasn’t a fan. But I came away from this one pretty impressed with the guy. A lot of Brat Packers didn’t fare as well.

      Like

      • I watched “Mannequin” like a champ at 11 years old, and what I got was a bunch of people doing a bunch of different things, but it didn’t feel like much of a film (it had its moments, like any production). I like the Jeferrson Starship song though.
        This might sound odd, and I’m not just trying to sell her again, but Diane Lane’s “Lady Beware” of the same 1987 year, I think, is the better film (okay, mannequin’s come alive there, but only in a daydream).

        Like

    • Andrew McCarthy: from 80s heart-throb to travel writer

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/12076149

      He ruined his own career by being a diva when forced into television. McCarthy fled from his guest starring role on one program because his antics compelled the star to threaten him with physical harm. The role had to be recast and the publicity ruined McCarthy’s reputation.

      —Anonymous

      reply 7 10/29/2012

      Like

    • I once heard a description of “Mannequin” as basically, an ’80s “slapstick” variant on “Lars and the Real Girl”.

      https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a-damn-movie-podcast/e/261-lars-and-the-real-girl-mannequin-top-5-imaginary-friends-46410928

      Like

  3. It’s surprising to me how few mainstream movies he’s been in. I have to confess, I loved Weekend at Bernie’s. I was eight when it came out, so probably around nine I watched it over and over on HBO. And Mannequin is a must watch when I come across it on TV. McCarthy just exudes a likeability that draws you in and makes you root for him.

    Like

    • A rom-com can go a long way if it has a pair of likable leads, can’t it?

      Like

    • Andrew McCarthy

      https://www.datalounge.com/thread/9739084

      He was my favorite brat packer, I always thought he had the talent to be a bigger star. He should of done more artsy roles IMO, it would have suited him better. I heard he had a reputation for being difficult though. True?

      —Anonymous

      reply 9 10/15/2010

      I remember some story where he was being a diva as a guest star on some show but ended up getting fired after the star of the program smacked him.

      —Anonymous

      reply 17 10/16/2010

      That was L&O:CI; I don’t know about the slapping but the other actor was D’Onofrio. You do the math. McCarthy came roaring back playing a psycho shrink in SVU, so Dick Wolf clearly wasn’t bothered.

      —Anonymous

      reply 19 10/16/2010

      I thought he was pretty in the 80s, but then he went through this awkward period beginning shortly after Weekend at Bernie’s where he started looking like a flabby woman post pregnancy. It was most evident in his small role in The Joy Luck Club. He looked like he was unhealthy, overweight and aged to a degree that did not correspond to his frothy image of just a few years prior. It wasn’t just the role. By the 2000s, however, he had lost weight and seemed to have aged gracefully. I think he is now hot again, if not pretty. He’s one of the few pretty boy who aged well, if with an awkward period lasting about ten years.

      —Anonymous

      reply 23 10/16/2010

      Like

      • I’ve never understood the appeal of this thespian. Were you or are you a fan of his? I have never known anyone who was into him yet he managed to somehow land in the Brat Pack and get quite a few movie rolls. What’s his story?
        —Demi Smore (7 views)

        29 replies 12 05/13/2009

        https://www.datalounge.com/thread/7859979

        He’s the kind of inoffensive, unintimidating man bourgeois women dream of in that he seems as if he’s so incredibly gay and yet he’s not at all.

        —Anonymous

        reply 6 05/13/2009

        He was one of the Zac Efrons/Chase Crawfords of his generation.

        —Anonymous

        reply 7 05/13/2009

        The only role I ever saw him in that I thought he was perfect for was Less Than Zero. That is pretty much because the narrator role he plays is mostly just that a non-character narrator.

        —Anonymous

        reply 13 05/13/2009

        Always found him to be strictly competent, but lacking charisma. He could never really carry a movie.

        —Anonymous

        reply 15 05/13/2009

        I thought he was cute, had nice hair, puppy dog eyes and nice skin. He was inoffensive, and I probably liked him more than the other Brat Pack males simply because he was in Pretty in Pink. Those are thin thread on which to base liking someone, so as soon as the 80s were over, I rarely noticed him again. He was chubby, which I didn’t like, in “Joy Luck Club” but lost weight after that, and some of his limited appeal returned.

        —Gay Male

        reply 16 05/13/2009

        Bland looks and no discernible muscle tone. No discernible acting ability, either. Obviously had a good agent who packaged him well as a teen heartthrob.

        —Anonymous

        reply 19 05/13/2009

        Like

      • Andrew McCarthy Fired from ‘Law & Order’

        https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.gossip.celebrities/iCAqnfDrROs

        WENN NEWS….
        Pretty In Pink star Andrew McCarthy has been fired from the set of hit American
        drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent after falling out with show regular Vincent
        D’Onofrio. The 1980s movie pin-up was supposed to guest star in two episodes of
        the show, but series creator Dick Wolf gave him his marching orders when he
        failed to work amicably with the star. Wolf says, “Mr. McCarthy engaged in
        fractious behavior from the moment he walked on the set.” An angry McCarthy
        fires back, “I was fired because I refused to allow a fellow actor to threaten
        me with physical violence, bully me and try to direct me.”

        Like

    • Yeah, other than “St. Elmos Fire”, “Pretty in Pink”, “Mannequin”, and “Weekend at Bernies”, it’s likely really hard to think of an Andrew McCarthy movie right off the top of your head. And even the movies that I mentioned weren’t exactly mega-blockbusters. The latter two that I mentioned, were clearly sold more on their ludicrous premises than Andrew McCarthy’s potential star power or appeal.

      Like

    • Oh yeah, that’s how I felt about Andrew McCarthy from the early days as well. He was at least never acted like a jerk (I mean, in looking back), even if he did act like like a jerk (he actually seems like a nice guy, just a guy struggling…glad he’s doing okay). I think It takes a lot to be likable at times; and being forced into being likable, that sounds sounds like a lot of pressure to me. I’ll always remember that role he had in “Law & Order:SVU: wow, his character went for the nuts there!

      Like

  4. Wow, I don’t know what to say..just well written and I’m in love with it. I recently viewed Andrew McCarthy in “Class” (um, I think Jacqueline Bissett is smoking hot there, so that’s a thing. A respectful thing, of course). and I was thinking, “I kind of like this guy”. It looks to me like Andrew McCarty got pidgeonholed into a certain bracket, and I didn’t like it for Judd Nelson or the great Ally Sheedy, so I certainly disagree with it now. Wow, sounds like Andrew McCarthy went through a lot. New York is a good place for artists (I don’t like New York myself, I much prefer Maryland or Miami), lots of theater and everything. I’m glad he still acts. What is the essential Andrew McCarthy film for me? “Kansas”, actually.

    Like

  5. A sweet biography with a point of view; wow, I haven’t thought of Jami Gertz for awhile (who I always thought was as attractive as anybody, and wondered why she didn’t go further), but I do wonder this; was Jami Gertz really attractive, but still forgettable? Wow, that was something I considered. I mean, was Jami Gertz good, unlucky, working, or what? Cry, little sister…:-)

    Like

  6. I just thought of this, but I think Matthew Perry reminds me of Andrew McCarthy, at least in acting style.

    Like

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