Being a child of the 80’s and a fan of classic 80’s movies such as “Pretty In Pink”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”, when I learned Andrew McCarthy was penning a tale about his Hollywood days, I knew it was going to be a must-read. Indeed it was.
The 223-page turner takes the reader from McCarthy’s innocent childhood acting days in New Jersey to his young adulthood acting days, learning, living and surviving in New York City and eventually Hollywood. Along the way we are introduced to such characters as his first acting teacher Terry Hayden, someone McCarthy states “saved him” and who also correctly told McCarthy: “And if you keep smiling like that, you’re going to charm us all, and it will be your downfall”. Then there’s his former high school teacher- turned-friend named Eddie, whose eccentric way of dressing inspired McCarthy’s fashion sense for the movies “Mannequin”, “Less Than Zero” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.
And those were just some of the few he had encountered even before landing in Hollywood.
While still in college in New York McCarthy eventually lands his debut role in the movie “Class” and takes us on his virgin journey west to California where he gets to work with co-star Rob Lowe and actually live with co-star Jacqueline Bisset. From there, as they say, “a star is born”.
“Class” leads to McCarthy having a starring role in “Pretty In Pink”, as well as a significant role in “St. Elmo’s Fire”, eventually leading to more starring roles in “Less Than Zero”, “Mannequin” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.
McCarthy doesn’t hesitate in his writing to touch upon his onerous relationship with his father, particularly when starting out in Hollywood and finally making a name and living for himself. His honesty is profound in discussing his drug and drinking dependence, how he felt while under the influence in making movies and how it affected his acting.
On a personal note regarding the book, one movie I wish McCarthy had mentioned was his work in the Sally Field directed Christmas movie “The Christmas Tree”. It is my favorite Andrew McCarthy film. But that’s probably because I’m a Christmas fanatic.
As McCarthy points out in the book around the time of “St. Elmo’s Fire”, he was dubbed a member of the “brat pack”, kind of by default. Over the years Andrew McCarthy has worn many professional hats: actor, director, author, travel writer. I wouldn’t say “brat” is one of those occupations.