July Forecast: St. Elmo's Fire

By Dan Krovich

Judd Nelson must be standing on a box.

In late June and early July of 1985 before he ruined the Batman franchise and even before The Lost Boys, Joel Schumacher treated the world to the quintessential Brat Pack movie, St. Elmo's Fire. With Hollywood's current sequel-mania, I don't know why there hasn't been a follow-up to this tale of young college graduates making their way in the world. It is my contention that the answers to all of life's questions can be found in St. Elmo's Fire and to prove that, I'm gonna be your man in motion and look at July's upcoming major releases as they relate to characters from this classic film. Come on, you know you can feel St. Elmo's Fire burning in you.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is Billy Hicks (played by Rob Lowe)

Billy was the big man on campus and most popular guy in the frat house, but life post-graduation has not treated him so well. He can't keep a job and is stuck in a bad marriage. Terminator 2 was the peak of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, but recently he's been in a slump to say the least. When your career has hit a snag, what do you do? You return to your most successful franchise. Much like Billy took a trip back to his old school to try to recapture his lost glory, Schwarzenegger returns to Terminator. Will audiences welcome him back or will this be the final confirmation that his best chance for future blockbuster status lies elsewhere; maybe in politics?

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is Kirby Keger (played by Emilio Estevez)

Kirby becomes completely obsessed with a woman with whom he had exactly one date during college. His level of obsession reaches scary stalker level and the point where he changes his career path multiple times to impress her. Ever since leaving Disney, Jeffrey Katzenberg has seemed somewhat obsessed with having the DreamWorks animation unit rival Disney's to the point where there have been showdowns between similarly themed films like Antz and A Bug's Life. Also like Disney recently, DreamWorks' best success has come with computer animation to the point where Pixar and Pixar-esque films have become the most bankable "genre" of films out there. Unfortunately, Sinbad is not such a film. When Kirby made the trek to the ski lodge to win over the girl of his dreams, she was already shacked up with another guy. There's a good chance that Sinbad will run into the same problem, as audiences have already given their hearts over to Finding Nemo.

Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life are Dale Biberman (played by Andie MacDowell)

Dale Biberman is the woman with whom Kirby becomes obsessed. She went on one date with him in college and he has romanticized that moment to the point that when he sees her again he imagines her as an idealized woman and tries to pursue a part two of their relationship. Tomb Raider and Legally Blonde were films with female leads that made an impression on audiences and had success at the box office, so there's no surprise that the studios wanted a part two. The question is whether audiences are hanging on to the same passion for these films. Will they follow them to a snowbound ski lodge to spend some time with the sequel like Kirby did for Dale or with these part twos be left out in the cold alone?

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is Kevin Dolenz (played by Andrew McCarthy) and Bad Boys II is Alec Newbary (played by Judd Nelson)

Alec and Kevin were best friends in college and they are both in love with Leslie. Alec is Leslie's boyfriend who keeps pushing for a commitment. He also is politically ambitious and forgoes his beliefs to jump from the Democratic Congressman he was working for to the Republican Senator to advance his career. Kevin, on the other hand, has secretly been in love with Leslie all along, but can't make a move because she is his best friend's girlfriend. Bad Boys II and Pirates of the Caribbean are also vying for the affections of the same person, in this case Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced both films. Bad Boys has the inside track by being a sequel directed by Bruckheimer stalwart Michael Bay. It is the known quality, like Alec. Does the fact that it made the change from the original's being something of a surprise hit with the then-not-quite A-list stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to a more cynical by-the-book big star big explosion summer sequel help it or hurt it? If any Bruckheimer film based on a hit attraction can be called a sleeper film by any criteria, then Pirates of the Caribbean is it. It has more unknowns in that it isn't a sequel and that as far as box office goes, buccaneers haven't brought in the buckaroos, so by comparison it is more like Kevin with the secret crush. Of course, Leslie decides to be with neither Alec nor Kevin, so we'll see if either one of these films takes off. Or maybe both will - can you say threesome?

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is Jules Jacoby (played by Demi Moore)

Jules got hired to work in international finance right out of college. She wears the fanciest clothes, lives in the nicest apartment, and basically lives the high life. Things are not as fine and dandy as they seem on the surface, however. She is deeply in debt and lost her job, so she is spending money she doesn't have to keep up appearances. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen seemed on the surface like a no-brainer: a comic book adaptation starring Sean Connery. Then they started filming the movie and high-profile problems started trickling in. The budget soared, and there were reported disagreements between star Connery and director Stephen Norrington and expensive reshoots. The buzz turned negative and it began to look like maybe good money was being thrown after bad. Now it is just a matter of whether The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen bucks the buzz on opening weekend to play to full theaters or finds itself alone in a furniture-less apartment with billowing curtains like Jules.

How to Deal is Leslie Hunter (played by Ally Sheedy)

Leslie is stuck with the true conundrum of the '80s woman. She loves her boyfriend, Alec, but she's afraid that if she marries him, it will be at the cost of her career. She struggles with the choice that in her mind seems to be between focusing on her career and perhaps losing Alec or the domestic married life and forgoing her career to become the doting wife and mother to the rising political star. The star of How to Deal, Mandy Moore, has a similar issue as she tries to juggle two careers - acting and singing. She has had success in both areas, but hasn't really reached superstar status in either. Will she have to concentrate on one over the other to make that next big jump or can she find a way to make it big in both? Leslie decides she needs some more time on her own to figure out what she wants, and How to Deal is likely to provide Mandy with a modest success that will continue to leave both doors open to her as well.

Seabiscuit is Wendy Beamish (played by Mare Winningham)

Wendy comes from a wealthy family and does not have any cares as far as money goes. Her father, who hit it big in the greeting card business, will buy her anything she wants and basically just wants her to get married and live off her family fortune. Wendy, however, wants to do something of substance and works as a social worker. She is also by far the most innocent of the group and is, in fact, still a virgin. Seabiscuit is something of an oddity in the summer movie season. In the midst of the loud action movies, comic book movies, and sequels, it is an honest to goodness movie of substance and also harkens back to a more innocent bygone era. It is probably the only summer wide release that will sport the label of "Oscar Contender." Wendy ultimately declares her independence and breaks free of her family and even sleeps with Billy. Will Seabiscuit also connect with viewers and achieve the big O? (Uh, that's Oscar.)

  • Read Stephanie DeGateo's July forecast
  • Read Tim Briody's July forecast
  • Read Marty Doskins' July forecast
  • Read John Hamann's July forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's July forecast



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