12 Reasons Why the Brat Pack Ruled the ’80s


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In 1985, David Blum of New York Magazine coined the derisive term “Brat Pack” to describe the influx of hot young actors pooled from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club and Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire, among others. When you think of them, you think of 1980s movies you love. Here’s a rundown of some of their best.

1. The Breakfast Club

This 1985 John Hughes classic stars Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez as pigeonholed high school malcontents.

2. St. Elmo’s Fire

June of that same year saw the release of Joel Schumacher’s seminal post-collegiate film, featuring many of the same actors and adding Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe into the mix.

3. Sixteen Candles

The year prior, Hughes brought us Ringwald as the put-upon teen whose landmark birthday is overshadowed by her sister’s wedding, and Hall as “The Geek” who is desperately wants her.

4. Pretty in Pink

In 1986, Ringwald once again took the lead in a Hughes script, this time playing a “wrong side of the tracks” girl with a hopeless crush on a rich preppy named Blaine (McCarthy).

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Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman


Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.

2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.

3. Fresno


When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.

4. Soap


Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.

5. Too Many Cooks


Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.

6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace


Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.

7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV


Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.

8. Twin Peaks


Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…

9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks


Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.

10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show


The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.

11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)


Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”

12. Acorn Antiques


First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.

13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show


In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)

14. The Spoils of Babylon


Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.


15. All My Children Finale, SNL


SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

12 Most ’80s Moments in Scarface


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IFC Throwback Thursdays kicks off tonight with a double airing of Scarface starting at 8/7c.

Since its 1983 release, Brian De Palma’s Scarface has been embraced as a genuine classic loved by hip-hop and action fans alike. Part of the appeal comes from its stylized atmosphere, which nearly drowns in fun ’80s culture signifiers. Here are some of the best.

1. The Mountain of Cocaine

The 1980s drug of choice. Cocaine makes its presence known early in Scarface but takes a starring role when we see an unprecedented mountain of it on Tony’s desk. Pure ’80s excess.

2. “Push It to the Limit”

Tony’s massive rise in the drug world comes accompanied by this, the mother of all montage songs. The sequence is so ’80s, it almost seems like intentional kitsch thrown in by smirking time-travelers.

3. Manic Al Pacino

Gone is the quiet, introspective actor of The Godfather. In his place rises today’s Pacino – an enthralling ball of hyperactive energy, aided ever so slightly by a cartoonish Cuban accent.

4. Any Scenes Which Feature People Wearing Clothes

Take the 1970s leisure suit, but bring it in a little. Meanwhile, add lots of gold chains and chest hair. Mustaches are optional but encouraged.

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10 Best Hangouts in Movies & TV


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Characters on-screen often need a neutral third location to meet and work through their issues. Or sometimes just to kick back and wait for something to happen. Here’s our list of the absolute best fictional hangouts from movies and TV shows.

1. Monk’s Cafe, Seinfeld

Located on the Upper West Side, this New York eatery was host to some of the show’s best moments. A little trivia: the exterior shots are of Tom’s Diner, previously memorialized in a Suzanne Vega song.

2. The Ink And Paint Club, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Sometimes what makes a great hangout is the clientele, and you’re not going to find a more diverse crowd than at the Ink and Paint.

3. St. Elmo’s Bar, St. Elmo’s Fire

One of the most iconic movies of the Brat Pack era, St. Elmo’s Fire takes place in part at St. Elmo’s bar, where a group of recent Georgetown graduates heading in different directions meet, cheat and eventually grow up.

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