Posted in writing

Book Review: “Brat: An 80’s Story”

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.

Posted in writing

The rest of the movie: Good Will Hunting

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the release of “Good Will Hunting”, here’s my take on what might have been: (originally posted in 2014)

Have you ever wondered what happened in the movie after the credits rolled?  For movies that never got a sequel, we are sometimes left wondering what may have happened next.

In a writing exercise from a screenwriting class I took, I developed a synopsis for a film revealing what I thought may have happened further on in the film.  The result was very interesting.

For this one I used one of my favorite Matt Damon films “Good Will Hunting”.

If you’ve seen the film you know that at the end Will drives off down the Mass Pike heading for California to “see about a girl”.  Here is what happens next and where the characters are today:

Remarkably Will gets to California with his beat-up piece of junk car and tracks down Skylar who is studying physics at Stanford.  He moves in with her and decides to write a book about his experiences with all the psychologists he has encountered over the years.  The book becomes a best-seller.

Skylar graduates from Stanford and lands a job at a top-notch secret lab where they are about to develop a breakthrough cure for AIDS.

Will finally asks Skylar to marry him.  Will invites all his Boston buddies:

Chuckie:  who now owns his own bar in Southie

Morgan:  who works for Chuckie at the bar–cleaning the bathrooms.

Billy:  who works for Chuckie at the bar as a bouncer

He invites the only psychologist who could get through to him, Sean Maguire.  After leaving his post at the college where he taught and leaving his psychology practice, Sean wins the fucking lottery on the very night the Red Sox finally win the World Series.  He moves to a deserted island.  Although he never found true love again, since he already had the true love of his life, he did adopt a dog and he reads a lot of books.  He is also writing a book about how he managed to get through to Will Hunting.

Will does invite Professor Lambeau to the wedding. Unfortunately, Lambeau has been in a mental asylum since Will left him high and dry in Boston.  He keeps re-doing the same math equations over and over again.

After they are married they honeymoon on Sean’s deserted island for a month.  When they return, they settle down in San Mateo.

Within three years they have four kids, two sets of twins, two boys and two girls.  Skylar now owns her own pharmaceutical company and Will is a multi-best –selling author and a three-time champ on the game show “Jeopardy!”.

Their kids are extremely gifted academically and artistically.  When the kids are seven and eight respectively, the family decides to visit their friends back East one Christmas and while they are in the area, they decide to embark on a skiing trip to Vermont.

On their way to the ski resort, the family stops at a McDonald’s and orders lunch at the drive-thru.  Yes, the Huntings may be rich and well-rounded individuals, but the kids still enjoy junk food now and then.  And Will and Skylar are more than happy to oblige.

As they roll up to the window in their Lexus SUV to pay, who should be in the window to take their money and hand them their food but good ol’ Clark.  To refresh your memory, and in case you didn’t know his character’s name, Clark is the snooty Harvard student Will encounters at the bar and tells off.

You know the scene:

Will:  “Do you like apples?”

Clark: “Yeah”

Will: “Well I got her number.  How do you like them apples?”

Ironically, Clark had told Will that same evening that one day Will would be serving his family food from McDonald’s while Clark’s family is on their way to a skiing trip.  Funny how the tables get turned.

“Had any good applies lately?” Will chides Clark as the family takes off.