St. Elmo's Fire (film)

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This article is about the 1985 film. For other uses, see St. Elmo's Fire (disambiguation).
St. Elmo's Fire
St elmo's fire.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner
Written by Joel Schumacher
Carl Kurlander
Starring Emilio Estevez
Rob Lowe
Andrew McCarthy
Demi Moore
Judd Nelson
Ally Sheedy
Mare Winningham
Music by David Foster
Cinematography Stephen H. Burum
Edited by Richard Marks
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
June 28, 1985 (1985-06-28)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[1]
Box office $37,803,872

St. Elmo's Fire is a 1985 American coming-of-age film directed by Joel Schumacher. The film, starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham, centers on a group of friends that have just graduated from Georgetown University and their adjustment to their post-university lives and the responsibilities of encroaching adulthood. The film is a prominent movie of the Brat Pack genre.

Plot[edit]

Recent graduates of Georgetown University Alec (Judd Nelson), girlfriend Leslie (Ally Sheedy), Kevin (Andrew McCarthy), Jules (Demi Moore), and Kirby (Emilio Estevez) are waiting to hear about the conditions of their friends Wendy (Mare Winningham), a sweet-natured girl devoted to helping others, and Billy (Rob Lowe), a former frat boy and now reluctant husband and father, who were in a car accident together. While at the hospital, Kirby sees a medical student named Dale (Andie MacDowell), with whom he has been infatuated since college.

Later the group gathers at their favorite college hangout, St. Elmo’s Bar. It is revealed that Billy has been recently fired from the job Alec helped him secure and his marriage is getting increasingly unstable. Later, at their studio apartment, Alec tells Leslie he is planning to leave his job with a Democratic Party politician to work for a politician in the Republican Party in order to secure a better job. He also pressures her to marry him but Leslie is convinced that they are not ready. Meanwhile, Kirby is telling Kevin of his love for Dale when Billy shows up, asking to spend the night as he cannot deal with his wife.

Kevin begins to worry about his romantic life when Jules accuses him of being gay and being in love with Alec. When he visits Alec and Leslie for dinner, Alec confesses to Kevin that while buying lingerie for Leslie, he has sex with the lingerie saleswoman. Leslie is completely unaware and happily tries on the red slip Alec bought her.

Meanwhile Billy visits Wendy at the welfare office where she works, and joins her and her family for dinner. The two get drunk together and Wendy reveals that she is a virgin. She and Billy kiss but Wendy insists the two should just remain friends, especially since she realizes Billy is taking advantage of her crush on him.

During Halloween at St. Elmo’s Bar, Jules reveals to a disapproving Leslie that she is having an affair with her married boss. Meanwhile, Billy sees his wife with another man in the crowd and attacks him. Billy is thrown out of the bar but he and his wife make up. The girls confront Jules about the affair and her increasingly reckless spending but she insists that she has everything under control.

Kirby takes a job working for Mr. Kim, a wealthy Korean businessman, and invites Dale to a party he is secretly holding at Mr. Kim’s house. Wendy arrives with Howie, a boy her parents set her up with. At the party, Alec announces to the gathering that he and Leslie are engaged, upsetting Leslie. She confronts him about her suspicions of his infidelity and the two break up. Alec is also angry with Kevin, whom he mistakenly believes confessed everything to Leslie. After the party, Jules gives Billy a ride home and just when she is about to confide in him, Billy makes a pass at her. Furious, Jules throws him out of her car.

Meanwhile, still pursuing Dale, Kirby drives to the ski lodge where she is staying but is embarrassed to find out that she already has a boyfriend. He tries to leave but his car becomes stuck in the snow and Dale and her boyfriend coax him to come inside. The next morning, as Kirby prepares to leave Dale’s cottage, Dale tells him she is flattered by his affections. In a surprising moment, he kisses her, and she does not resist.

Leslie goes to Kevin’s place to stay the night after the break up and discovers a box of photographs of her. Kevin confesses his love for her, and the two sleep together but the next morning, Alec comes by to apologize to Kevin for attacking him the night before. Alec is shocked to find Leslie there and the two argue over his infidelity. Eventually, Alec storms off.

Wendy meets her father at a café and announces she wants to be independent from her family and move into her own place. Meanwhile it is revealed that Jules has been fired from her job and has fallen behind on her credit card payments and as a result, all of her possessions have been repossessed. Jules has locked herself in her apartment and opened all the windows, intending to kill herself by freezing to death. The friends come together to try and coax her out, but she's unresponsive. Kirby fetches Billy, who has landed a job at a gas station courtesy of Kevin, to calm Jules down. Billy consoles and comforts her, comparing her behavior to St. Elmo's fire, that her problems are merely an illusion. Jules agrees to come back out, to the relief of her friends.

Wendy moves into her own place, where Billy comes to visit and he informs her that he is getting a divorce and is moving to New York City to pursue a career as a saxophonist. The two make love as a going away present and at the bus station, the group gathers once more to say goodbye to Billy. Billy urges Alec to make up with Leslie but Leslie declares that she does not want to date anyone for a while. Alec and Kevin make up and the group decides to get brunch. However, they decide not to go to St. Elmo's bar and instead choose Houlihan's because there are "not so many kids" there, symbolizing they are moving on from college life and are now ready to enter the adult world.

Cast[edit]

  • Emilio Estevez as Kirby "Kirbo" Keager, a waiter at St. Elmo's Bar, and Kevin's roommate.
  • Andrew McCarthy as Kevin Dolenz, a writer with a sullen streak.
  • Rob Lowe as Billy Hicks, a "frat boy" and reluctant husband and father.
  • Judd Nelson as Alec Newbury, a yuppie pursuing a career in politics.
  • Ally Sheedy as Leslie Hunter, another yuppie, who wants to pursue a career as an architect.
  • Demi Moore as Jules Van Patten, the "party girl" of the group.
  • Mare Winningham as Wendy Beamish, a girl from a wealthy family and devoted to helping others.
  • Andie MacDowell as Dale Biberman, a hospital intern and the object of Kirby's affection.

Pre-production[edit]

According to Schumacher, "a lot of people turned down the script...the head of [one] major studio called its seven-member cast "the most loathsome humans he had ever read on the page."[1] The producers interviewed "hundreds of people", including Anthony Edwards and Lea Thompson.[2] According to Lauren Shuler Donner, she found Estevez, Nelson, and Sheedy through recommendations from John Hughes, who had cast them in The Breakfast Club.[3] Schumacher said he had to "push hard" to get the studio to agree to cast Estevez, Nelson, and McCarthy.[4]

Reception[edit]

David Denby called Schumacher "brutally untalented" and said that "nobody over the moral age of fifteen" will like the work of the Brat Pack actors in the film:[5]

"St. Elmo's Fire isn't drama, it's gossip, and peculiarly early-adolescent gossip— a movie designed to be picked apart on the telephone. The turbidly self-important treatment of these vacuous college graduates, each one a 'type', is like a TV sitcom without jokes. St. Elmo's Fire is so depressing a portent of Hollywood's teen sycophancy because it not only devotes itself to stupid kids, it accepts their view of the world without any real criticism....The sole survivor of the general disaster is Ally Sheedy, who manages to make something charming out of the yup petulance."

According to Janet Maslin, "In the realm of films about close-knit bands of school friends, St. Elmo's Fire falls midway between The Big Chill and The Breakfast Club. Its characters are old enough to enjoy the first flushes of prosperity, but still sufficiently youthful to keep their self-absorption intact. But soon enough, they will be forced to give up their late-night carousing at a favorite bar and move on to more responsible lives. In the film's terms, which are distinctly limited, this will mean finding a more sedate hangout and learning to go there for brunch....St. Elmo's Fire is most appealing when it simply gives the actors a chance to flirt with the camera, and with one another. When it attempts to take seriously the problems of characters who are spoiled, affluent and unbearably smug, it becomes considerably less attractive."[6]

St. Elmo's Fire holds a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 14 positive reviews out of 30.[7]

Rob Lowe won a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his work in this film.[8]

Music[edit]

The theme song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was written by Canadian composer/producer David Foster and performed by English musician John Parr. The song was written for the Canadian athlete Rick Hansen who, at the time, was traveling around the world via his wheelchair to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries, a trip called the "Man in Motion Tour."[citation needed] The song did not appear on any John Parr album until Letter to America was released in July 2011.

The song "Give Her a Little Drop More," which plays during the movie when the characters enter St. Elmo's Bar & Restaurant, was written by British jazz trumpeter John Chilton.

"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for two weeks in September 1985, and "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" (the instrumental theme to the movie by David Foster) reached #15. Another version of the "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" with lyrics, titled For Just a Moment was performed by Amy Holland and Donny Gerrard, and was included as the final song on the soundtrack album.

Potential adaptation[edit]

In August 2009, Sony Pictures Television received a "script commitment with a penalty attached to it" to adapt the film into a television series which would "use the movie as a takeoff point and as an inspiration as it introduces six new friends: three boys and three girls."[9][10] Topher Grace and Gordon Kaywin of Sargent Hall Productions proposed the idea to Jamie Tarses; the three of them then recruited Dan Bucatinsky to write the pilot and got Schumacher to agree to the idea.[9] As of August 2012, there has been no further news, though Grace and Kaywin later saw the 2011 release of Take Me Home Tonight, a comedy film set in the mid-1980s whose principal photography had been completed in 2007.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Crown Publishers. p. 87. ISBN 0307408434. 
  2. ^ Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. p. 88. 
  3. ^ Priggé, Steven (2004). Movie Moguls Speak. p. 91. ISBN 0786419296. 
  4. ^ Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. p. 90. 
  5. ^ Denby, David (July 15, 1985). "Time Warp". New York. p. 66. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 28, 1985). "St Elmo's Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  7. ^ St. Elmo's Fire at Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2012-08-26.
  8. ^ "1985 RAZZIE Nominees & 'Winners'". razzies.com. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  9. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 14, 2009). "'St. Elmo's Fire' Headed to TV". backstage.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  10. ^ Eng, Joyce (14 August 2009). "St. Elmo's Fire TV Series Heats Up at ABC". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  11. ^ "Hot Trailer: ‘Take Me Home Tonight’". deadline.com. December 17, 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 

External links[edit]