Mom101 schools you on the best movies of the 80s, all of them starring Andrew McCarthy

Nate rarely texts me about celebrity sightings at his trendy restaurant job since it’s pretty much a daily occurrence. Bono, Madonna, Jack Nicholson…no biggie. He did get excited about Joe Millionaire back during the show’s heydey. And of course Monica Lewinsky. Otherwise, eh. He’s jaded.

It’s me that’s the celebrity stalker of the family. (Though New Yorker that I am, I deny it to anyone but you.)

But last night was different for Nate.

Andrew McCarthy walked in.

Knowing what a former Brat Pack groupie I was and how excited I was when I used to run into him in the West Village, Nate raced to text me but found his batteries dead. So he did the next best thing: He told his fellow coworkers.

And straight from the Oh My God We’re So Fucking Old Files, not one of them knew who he was.

It’s a travesty, I tell you. It is a sad, sad, state of affairs when the response to, “Come on! St. Elmo’s Fire!” Is “Oh right…I think I saw that once at camp.”

Maybe you don’t watch Lipstick Jungle. Maybe you don’t know that Andrew McCarthy is doing theater up the whazoo and has recently written his own monologue on parenting for the Vagina Monologues-esque play Afterbirth. (Which, as luck would have it, is at the Triad next week as I’m heading to San Francisco for BlogHer. Grr) But still, St Elmo’s Fire? “Maybe?”

Not an acceptable response.

And so, for any Gen Y or Gen Z or whatever the heck we’re calling you pop culturally-illiterate slacker twenty-somethings these days, I present to you the 1980’s career highlights of my former love of my life, Andrew McCarthy.

1983: Class
“Wait a minute, that’s no hot older woman you’re dating…that’s your boarding school roommate’s mom!”

“Oh shoot. Can we do it in an elevator first though, before he finds out?”

“Oh, okay. But hurry up. Rob Lowe’s cheeks get really pink when he’s upset.”

1985: St Elmo’s Fire
“Life is soooo hard when you’re right out of college.”

“I know! You like totally don’t know if you’re ready to grow up, you want to date your friend’s girlfriend, and Georgetown is expensive. But hey, at least we have each other.”

“And Demi Moore has her crimping iron.”

“Also important.”

“But you can’t date the cute rich kid! You are poor and motherless and quirky and have red hair and your best friend is Annie Potts and your dad is Harry Dean Stanton. Also James Spader is up to his nefarious ways.”

“Yes I can, dammit. And I will do it against a Psychedelic Furs soundtrack. Then I’ll make a prom dress. I wonder what color. Hmm. I’ll surprise you at the end of the movie with it, how about that?”

1987: Mannequin
“Holy cow, that store mannequin looks exactly like Samantha from Sex and the City! You gonna date her?”


1987: Less Than Zero
“Drugs! Drugs are bad! Don’t do them!”

“But you are all so cool that you make me want to do drugs.”


1988: Fresh Horses
“Wait, is that Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy together again? And Ben Stiller? And Viggo Mortensen?”

“I don’t know, I never saw the movie.”

“Yeah, me neither.”

1989: Weekend at Bernies
“Hey, know what would be a funny idea for a movie…?”

“Actually, no. No, that wouldn’t be that funny at all.”

“Great! We’ll make two of them.”


Andrew, if you’re googling your name and come across this post? Fist to the heart–you’re the best. I still love you a little. Want to get the kids together for a playdate sometime?


62 thoughts on “Mom101 schools you on the best movies of the 80s, all of them starring Andrew McCarthy”

  1. Ahhh, yes. Andrew McCarthy. He who adorned my bedroom walls with his centerfolds in Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazines.

  2. Ok, perhaps one of my favorite posts of yours ever. But I must say, that sound you may have heard at the end of 1989 was the sound of Andrew McCarthy’s career dying a swift, but painful death. I was thrilled when Lipstick Jungle resurrected him would love to hear his penis-monologue musings on fatherhood. THAT can be our next get together! Now, what ever happened to Judd Nelson–I always loved the bad boys.

  3. yes!!! For me, pretty in pink was his zenith. That is when I fell in love. Because he was the NICE cute preppy rich guy. All of the cute preppy rich guys at my school were mean. Or at least I think they were, they never actaully talked to me. Great, hilarious post!

  4. You mean there are people on this planet who <>don’t know<> about the Brat Pack? Hullo! I learned from St. Elmo’s Fire and his character searching for the elusive meaning of life that there was supposed to actually be something beyond college.I think I need to go lie down.

  5. OMG…AM was IT for me. I was so excited when he showed up in Lipstick Jungle (is that show coming back, BTW?). I have always wanted to touch his hair…it just looks like it would be so soft, dontcha think?

  6. Count me a member of the oldies club, I have seen them all (except that horse one. I don’t remember that at all!) Love him.

  7. hey, don’t judge us all by just a few idiots. i knew who andrew mccarthy was long before you went into the list. and i was born in the ’80’s. so can i be an honorary cool kid or something now?

  8. I heart AM.But I feel you on the old person pain–I teach middle school and I had a student refer to 80’s pop as “oldies” which made me want to cry a little.

  9. I saw Andrew McCarthy at a restaurant in the West Village ten years ago and I almost fell off my chair. Only Michael Schoeffling would’ve been better. Roland Gift was at the next table–twenty points for anyone under 30 who knows who he is!

  10. Alexis, OH Michael Schoeffling. Be still my heart. I was crushed to see the synopsis of Pretty in Pink on the cable guide as something like “girl falls for other girl’s boyfriend.” Um NO, that’s not what it was about AT ALL!Lara, you’re cool to me. Especially because you’re born in the 80s.

  11. Have you ever seen <>The New Waterford Girl<>? Awesome Canadian movie with Andrew McCarthy playing the semi-creepy teacher who is semi-in love with the teenage protagonist. Still cute though!

  12. HBO must be reading your mind. “Pretty in Pink” is available this week on HBO on Demand. Always loved that movie. Would have been better if my man Ducky got the girl.

  13. I loved him, don’t get me wrong, but he looked like he does now when he made Pretty in Pink. Dude was the oldest high school student EVAH.Other than Luke Perry in 90210 that is.

  14. I almost crumbled at that man’s feet when I heard him order a bagel in a coffee shop. I mean, he is the grooviest. The kids are still using the word groovy, right?

  15. You have totally left out Heaven Help Us (1985), one of my TOP TEEN MOVIES ever. Loved Andrew McCarthy and his quiet sweetness and hands-on-her-face kissing style in every movie he was in. Yes, I remember it all…

  16. You did it. You drove me out of lurkdom with this.Ah, Andrew. My love for you (well, the idea of you as the rich-but-flawed-and-somewhat-attainable-my-next-boyfriend) is enough to get me to watch the monstrosity that is Lipstick Jungle.These movies? Classics.

  17. How can one not know who Andrew McCarthy is? Sigh…Though I admit that the face who plastered my walls most frequently was Ralph Macchio. I know, he didn’t run with the cool kids, but he was my karate kid.

  18. They didn’t know who he was? So, so, sad. I just want him to lick me all over. And then I want rough sex with James Spader.

  19. Weekend at Bernie’s are highly underrated movies. And who knew that Andrew McCarthy was a virgin in the second movie? I mean after all of that time spent with a mannequin AND Molly Ringwald.

  20. Oddly enough just the other night Mr. Fraulein and I watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and I realized that I still have every word of the dialogue memorized.

  21. Ah, what great times. Mannequin was just on the other day!! I just watched Pretty in Pink again recently and was shocked to realize that Jon Cryer was Duckie!! They just don’t make movies like they used to, that’s for sure.

  22. LMBO (laughing my butt off) I feel like that everyday at work with my barely our of college co-workers who say they “like madonna b/c she reminds them of britney spears.” ugh, the humanity! LOL.

  23. This fits so perfectly for me this week. I was just telling someone seven years younger than me a St. Elmo’s Fire analogy, and she DIDN’T KNOW ST. ELMO’S FIRE. And then my “fuck him, and you can still keep the car” joke totally fell flat.DAMN.

  24. Bookmarking this link as “Movies I need to see again (and again)”.. Love Andrew McCarthy. I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to watch all of these movies with me and actually understand what is going on. Um, up to a point anyway. Or maybe not. Wait, let me rethink this.

  25. I actually OWNED Fresh Horses. I did. It was crap, but I could not get enough of that Andrew & Molly combo, you know? I was a sucker for ALLL of those John Hughes era 80s movies. 16 Candles? THE BEST. Breakfast Club? EVEN BESTER. And then how about dancing the “Molly Ringwald”? You know, when shes dancing on the landing in the library? Epitomy COOL. And I worked hard to perfect it. And Andrew was THE man back then. Altho, I kinda heart Jake Ryan (whatever his real name is) more tho. 😉

  26. Ah, sweet, sweet Andrew and his stray, shifty eyes. LOVE HIM. My kid always giggles when I do the Booga Booga cheer for him. My children well be well-versed in the 80s pop culture, dammit. Or I will have failed as a mother.

  27. I was born in 1980, and therefore missed out of some of these movies – but I did enjoy Pretty in Pink, loved Mannequin (and the Breakfast Club too even though he was MIA in that one) and just a couple weeks ago I enjoyed him in a TV Movie – Straight From the Heart… still a hottie AM!! Even as a moody, rude, sarcastic, emotionally scarred cowboy… LOVE HIM!

  28. St.Elmo’s fire was back in the day when Demi was the age her hubby is now. I loved Molly Ringwald, she always had the best leading men(boys)to act with.

  29. Roland Gift – Fine Young Cannibals. He once asked ME if he could sit at my table in a club in Detroit; it was an after-hours party for one of his shows. I said sure, and was ready to strike up a conversation when he opened his arms and two scantily clad babes snuggled in. Eew. I moved.I have to say, I was wary of AM being as sexy as an adult as he was as back in the day. I was wrong…he is hot in LJ (I actually blogged about this a couple of months ago).He blogged a bit while making LJ last season; it’s interesting. He seems super nice, which only makes my crush stronger.

  30. Now, let me say in my defense that not only am I well-acquainted with all of those movies, I even love (most) of them. But I don’t like Andrew McCarthy. As an actor, I mean. He’s probably a supremely cool person, but my walls had Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson and Michael Schoeffling (Jake from 16 Candles). At least Rob still looks good.

  31. Andrew was indeed a hottie! But, I loved Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club. Definitely a Cult Classic of the time. Patty

  32. I was about to go berserk on you for not mentioning 16 Candles or Breakfast Club. Then I remembered that Andrew McCarthy wasn’t IN those. And THAT? Is ANOTHER kick-in-the-pants sign of my advancing age.That, and the fact that I HEART Weekend At Bernies. (The first one, because hello, I have my standards. They may be low, but I have them.) I swear to you, I am not proud to tell you this, but I must quote at least one line from that movie on a daily basis, even if it’s just , “You schmuck.”.

  33. If Nate had really loved you, he would have gotten on the phone so you could RACE down there with a kid under each arm. Self respect be damned. I love that man. With all my heart. God bless TBS for keeping the reruns coming…

  34. MMMMM…. he’s so yummy! He makes my heart go pitter patter!I too LOVE Andrew McCarthy. Thanks for this post…. I have something nice to think about all day….

  35. Hey Liz, That’s so cool that you linked to Dani’s website and Afterbirth! She’s one of my closest friends and if you EVER get a chance to see that show you should do it. It’s full of amazing writers…(I’ve done it)…including your beloved, Andrew.

  36. OMG I now totally have Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now stuck in my head while I dream on being on the back of that motorbike with AM…. Sigh…

  37. As we expect our second child, hubby and I are going over our list of names…I put Blaine on the table and hubby said, ” G-sus, Lara. Would you please come to this century? John Hughes has moved on, so should you.” Hubby slept on the couch (don’t mess with a pregnant lady in a heat wave!)Anywho, those movies, along with their leading men, helped me through the worst (and best) years of my life- the eighties. The movies, the music…ahhh, the golden years!!!

  38. I saw Fresh Horses. What kind of fan are you, if you’re not willing to suffer through that CRAP for true love? Actually, I think I called in sick from work to see it. I should have gone to work.You know what I LOVED about Pretty in Pink? How bored and 45 years old the rich kids acted. Just too funny.I was suckered into buying the ‘Everything’s Ducky’ version of Pretty in Pink on DVD, hoping that it would have an alternate ending where she ends up with Ducky…Nope. But one thing I did find out is that she originally DID end up with Ducky, and it sucked, so they had to reshoot the ending. But Andrew had shaved his head bald for a roll in another movie, so they had to make him a crappy wig. Which explains why he looks so WEIRD at the PROM. (I had to cap PROM, because, duh, “WHAT ABOUT PROM?!?!?!”)Sorry for getting so excited about a celebrity post. I can’t help it.

  39. Sad that it took me two weeks to read this, but still satisfying.I was pretty sure I would marry Andrew McCarthy and actually get a little bitter about it occasionally. Like whenever my real husband just doesn’t show me a sweet thoughtful face when I’m irrationally upset.I hope your kids play together someday. Report back.

  40. @J at in the novelization of the book– which yes, I purchased from my neighborhood grocery store– has that original ending. Why did I not have the foresight to keep that book?!P.S. I saw Class twice in a row at the theatre, but I had to sneak in because it’s rated R and I was nowhere near 17.

  41. I love Andrew McCarthy and all those John Hughes films. So much so that I taught a freshman composition class called “Composition and John Hughes” a few years ago. It was me and 18 year olds watching and analyzing John Hughes films and we did watch and write about “Pretty in Pink.” It was a pretty fun class to teach, esp. with the quiz over “Ferris Bueller.” 🙂

  42. I would just like to let you know that I am a 20-something and I know who Andrew McCarthy is. Also, pretty in pink is awesome.

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