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You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation [Hardcover]

Susannah Gora

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Book Description

Feb. 9 2010
You can quote lines from Sixteen Candles (“Last night at the dancemy little brother paid a buck to see your underwear”), your iPod playlist includes more than one song by the Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds, you watch The Breakfast Club every time it comes on cable, and you still wish that Andie had ended up with Duckie in Pretty in Pink. You’re a bonafide Brat Pack devotee—and you’re not alone.

The films of the Brat Pack—from Sixteen Candles to Say Anything—are some of the most watched, bestselling DVDs of all time. The landscape that the Brat Packmemorialized—where outcasts and prom queens fall in love, preppies and burn-outs become buds, and frosted lip gloss, skinny ties, and exuberant optimism made us feel invincible—is rich with cultural themes and significance, and has influenced an entire generation who still believe that life always turns out the way it is supposed to.

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried
takes us back to that era, interviewing key players, such as Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, and John Cusack, and mines all the material from the movies to the music to the way the films were made to show how they helped shape our visions for romance, friendship, society, and success.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (Feb. 9 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307408434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307408433
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #460,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"As readable as it is informative, Susannah Gora’s book sets these influential films into a cultural and cinematic context—and provides compelling behind-the-scenes stories about the people who made them."--Leonard Maltin

"A must-have for fans of '80s teen flicks...what makes it so readable is the juicy, behind-the-scenes stuff."-- Mike Householder, Associated Press

"Gora interviews all the major actors and players anew, and knits together a narrative that, in the end, gives fans a clear, sound understanding of what commercial and cultural forces produced these films — "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off," "Say Anything" and more — and why they still mean a great deal to so many." — Chicago Sun-Times

"I've become addicted to Susannah Gora's new book, "You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried," her masterful documentation of Hughes and the Brat Pack films." —Steve Spears, St. Petersburg Times

About the Author

SUSANNAH GORA is a filmjournalistwho haswritten for Variety and Elle andwas an editor at Premieremagazine. She appears regularly
on networks like VH1, NBC, and E! to discuss entertainment news and pop culture.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Lightweight March 21 2011
By Ria Darling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Other reivews of this book convinced me to buy it and they're very on target. It's not full or pictures and the interviews prove that hindsight is 20/20, but there is a gossip-feel to it. It's not a serious film text and it's not People magazine but somewhere in between. For someone like me who saw the films a million times it's interesting to hear about how the characters were formed and the filming and how it all came together. A really enjoyable read and each chapter stands on its own.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Not Ignored May 8 2010
By Crabigail Cassidy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This was a truly addictive read. Author Gora has broken down the fascination that we had and continue to have for movies directed at the teen audiences of the '80's. While providing running synopsises of the movies that captured audiences when they were made, Gora has interviewed the actors, writers, and directors and assorted key players that made the movies inordinately popular box office blockbusters.
Reading this book helped me to revisit the movies themselves. I think that a certain amount of distance enhanced the experience of reading this book. Gora informs her reader that John Hughes extracted a lot of what went into his scripts from real life experiences that happened to himself and his friends. One occured when a friend of his took Hughes and their girl friends to the Union League Club in Chicago because the friend's father had a membership there. I roared because anyone who has ever been there would know that the Union League Club is one of the stodgiest exclusive clubs west of Boston. And so it goes that Ferris Buehler became the sausage king of Chicago.
The term 'brat pack' was bandied about a lot when these films were made, but there seemed to be solid evidence from the actors that there was an extended family of sorts forged and many of these relationships exist in one form or another today.
While it wasn't all love and kisses while these films were being made, for the most part these productions became classic examples of really good ensemble acting and it all worked amazingly well.
The major suprise that the book had for me was that this book was not all about John Hughes who died in 2009. This book looked at other popular teen movies made in that era. One film analyzed was a critical failure SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. I really liked that one quite a bit and thought it has held up well.
Another element included in this book were short bios of many of the key actors who have managed to have solid adult careers. It gave me a sense of who they were and the process they used to make these parts work from their perspective.
This book was thoroughly researched and well-written. If you are interested in film criticism, teen movies, or the cinema of John Hughes and his contemporaries, I think you would find this book a good choice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes with the Brat Pack April 18 2013
By Jim Lester - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm not a big reader of behind-the-scenes Hollywood books but I found this one to be an outstanding piece of social and cultural history. Its the story of how John Hughes and a group of young actors known as the "Brat Pack" redefined the genre of teen movies in the 1980s with hits like "Sixteen Candles", "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club." The author contends that these films made Hughes the J.D. Salinger of the Gen Xers and suggests that his work has dominated every high school novel and movie since then.

Along with a good bit of social commentary, Gora offers some interesting portraits of the young actors who starred in Hughes' films--Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and others. In addition she includes an excellent section of the power of the music in the films which Hughes used to catapult his movies into the realm of legend and another section on how the careless use of the term "Brat Pack" in an obscure article substantially altered the careers of many of the young stars. All in all this book is both a fine piece of Hollywood history and a thoughtful analysis of the impact of the movies on American culture.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Couldn't Ignore This Book If You Tried Jan. 22 2012
By Barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ah, the 80s. Never was there a better time to be a little kid growing up. Also, there was never a better time for teenage/high school movies. John Hughes, his films, and the few others this book talks about, came along at the right time, with the right actors, the right messages, the right music, the right pop culture. This genre of movie has never been as classic or impactful since, so it was only a matter of time that we would get the ultiimate book on the 80s teen movie/John Hughes craze, and boy did we get it!

Susannah Gora has written one exceptional book on a subject that so many people and fans love and hold near and dear to their hearts. The impact of such 80s teen/brat pack movies such as "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "St. Elmo's Fire", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Pretty In Pink", "Say Anything" and "Some Kind Of Wonderful" are all documented here in their own lengthy, well written and informative chapters that are all engrossing from start to finish and there is nary a sight of filler. Besides the movies themselves, the book also gives us a peek into who these people were. Perhaps the most fascinating is reading about John Hughes, a man who is a true genius. He is a complex and engaging character that he could of been a character in one of his own films. It truly details who this man was, where he came from, and how he thought and worked. It's very well done. Still, you get insides into Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and all the others you know. The human side of this book is one of the many pluses here, that it's not just above the movies, but about the people who made it happen. Gora has written about them in such a way that, just like the characters you know and love and feel like you know (or feel like you are)from the classic movies, you feel like you know these people as well. It's a testament to how great these performers are, but also how well Gora has written and researched this book.

The chapters, and the details of the book, go like this: "Nothing Compares To Hughes: Teen cinema and the man who changed it forever" chronicles the upbringing of John Hughes and his rise to the business; "Eternal Flame: Sixteen Candles lights up the screen" chronicles the creation of making of that iconic film; "Breakfast Of Champions", of course, details the landmark film that is 'The Breakfast Club'; "Not Just For Breakfast Anymore: Inside The Heat St. Elmo's Fire" is pretty self explanatory; "Becoming 'The Brat Pack'" deals with how the term came to be, who created it, and the struggle the young actors had dealing with that label; "Sitting Pretty", as I'm sure you have guessed by now, is all about 'Pretty In Pink'; "We Got The Beat: Behind The Music Of The Brat Pack Films" is a subject that is just as important to the movies as anything else. All the great music! "I Love Ferris In The Springtime" is all bout Bueller, Bueller....; "Teens In Wonderland" chronicles the making of the criminally underrated 'Some Kind Of Wonderful'; There are 6 more chapters here, dealing with "Say Anything", to the brat packers moving on in the world and becoming adults, and more!

There is tons of information, gossip, and little facts all through this book that I had not known. I learned a lot of things about some of my favorite films, and that is the work of a great book. Susannah Gora has dug deep and revealed a lot of great stuff in this book that should even be unknown to the biggest of fans.

I can't imagine there being anything better written on the subject than "You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried". Every movie is given it's due in lengthy sections, and we are treated to a behind the scenes look at their creation with funny, surprising, and poignant moments. The second I saw this book I hoped it would be what I wanted to be. It was....and so much more. It delivers what I hoped it would. It's not magnificently long, but it's lengthy enough. If there is one drawback to this otherwise fantastic book, it's that there is not one picture in the entire thing. Not a single one. That is a major disappointment. Still, it's not enough to damage what is the essential book on the 80s and the classic teen films that it created. This is a must read book that can't be ignored, just like the movies it writes about.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Hughes movies rule April 12 2010
By Lee Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Susannah clearly has an enormous appreciation for John Hughes and his work as shown by the depth of her information. It was amazing to hear stories from the actors about things I had no idea about and found their insights throughly fascinating. The movies are timeless and although John Hughes is no longer with us (RIP) his work continues to live on through his fans and their love for his movies which represent a time and a place (the 80's) like no one else.
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