Go behind scenes of '80s teen flicks

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Did you know that people come up to Matthew Broderick -- often at ball games -- to ask whether it's his day off? How about that fans incessantly pester Judd Nelson for the punch line to the one about the blonde, the dog and the salami? Or that Gedde Watanabe auctions off voicemail messages as a character for charity?

"You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes and Their Impact on a Generation"  by Susannah Gora.  Associated Press
Associated Press
"You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes and Their Impact on a Generation" by Susannah Gora.

Those tidbits and more grace the pages of You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried , film journalist Susannah Gora's look at seven movies that defined that most awesome of decades, the 1980s.

Those who have seen and loved Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Say Anything, St. Elmo's Fire and Some Kind of Wonderful won't be able to put down this book.

Gora tracked down more than 100 interview subjects, many of them closely tied to the productions, including almost all the stars and supporting players, the filmmakers and others.

The only big omission is the late John Hughes, who directed Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off , and in Gora's estimation "remade American teenhood in his own image" to become "the bard of youth." In the end, Gora deftly sidesteps the lack of primary material from Hughes by relying on published interviews and the recollections of those who knew the filmmaker.s up falling for her best friend, Phil "Duckie" Dale (Jon Cryer), instead of Blane McDonnagh (Andrew McCarthy).

The book ostensibly is about the sociological impact these films had on the teenagers and young adults of the era and among succeeding generations, but what makes it so readable is the juicy, behind-the-scenes stuff:

- John Cusack nearly nabbed the iconic role of John Bender in The Breakfast Club -- a role that eventually went to Nelson -- and was none too pleased at having been turned away.

- The prom scene at the end of Pretty in Pink had to be reshot when a test audience of teenagers hated the film's original outcome, in which Molly Ringwald's Andie Walsh character end

- Peter Gabriel initially turned down Say Anything director Cameron Crowe's request to use his song In Your Eyes during the pivotal scene in which Cusack's love-struck Lloyd Dobler holds a boombox over his head in an effort to win back Diane Court (Ione Skye). Gabriel did so thinking Crowe was the director of the John Belushi biopic Wired who wanted to use the song during a scene depicting a drug overdose. When Crowe set Gabriel straight, the singer agreed to screen some footage and eventually relented.


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