So many of the iconic teen movies of the 80’s were populated with a group of young actors known as “The Brat Pack.” They became famous playing the unique high school aged characters in films like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.” Sure they were becoming successful, but they did have a problem…they were playing characters much younger than they were. Take Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy, two of the stars of “The Breakfast Club.” At the time that film was released, Nelson was 26….Sheedy was 23. It’s no surprise that they would’ve been anxious to leave the high school roles behind. Today’s film was released the year after these two spent a Saturday in detention and was an attempt to put these two young stars in more adult roles…1986’s “Blue City.”
The film tells the story of Billy Turner (Nelson) as he returns to his Florida hometown, the fictional Blue City. Billy has always been a bit of a troublemaker and quickly lands himself in jail after a bar fight. This is no big deal, though, since Billy’s father is the mayor…so he can always manage to get released. Well…his father WAS the Mayor. Unknown to Billy, until now, dad is dead…murdered. Police Chief Reynolds (Paul Winfield), who has known Billy since he was a kid, fills him in on the details of what has happened since Billy left town. It seems that after dear old dad was killed, a small-time mobster of sorts, Perry Kerch (Scott Wilson), has not only taken over the town, but has also married Billy’s step-mom (Anita Morris).
On his way out of the police station, Billy runs into an old friend Annie (Ally Sheedy) who is working in the police station. From there, Billy goes to his dad’s old mansion, which now belongs to Kerch, to confront his step-mom. She actually seems to flirt with Billy. He also wastes no time in pretty much telling Kerch that he’s going to cause him all sorts of trouble.
From there, Billy sets out to find his father’s killer. He enlists an old friend, Joey (David Caruso), who is also Annie’s brother, to help him. Billy pretty much assumes that Kerch is the one responsible and launches a campaign to make life difficult for this local slimeball. This involves stunts like blowing up Kerch’s car and storming into his racetrack and casino with guns blazing. Meanwhile, the sparks begin to fly between Billy and Annie as she helps by digging up information on Kerch at the police station. But Blue City is a crooked town, and things have a way of not turning out as they seem.
“Blue City” was notoriously panned by critics when it was release and even secured several nominations for the Razzie Awards that year. I don’t know if that is completely justified. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a very good movie, but one of the “worst” of the year…probably not.
The chief problem with the film is Nelson’s performance. If this film was an attempt to have some brat packers do something that was more grown up, Nelson must’ve missed the memo. His take on Billy is more of an idiot prankster than a grief-stricken son out for revenge. He’s too busy cracking jokes to actually find his father’s killer.
It’s a shame because the film may have had some degree of potential had someone reined Nelson in. Sheedy is actually quite good, bringing a much more appropriate tone to her character. And if that’s not enough for you, Paul Winfield at least makes the film watchable. His Chief Reynolds is sly and conniving and steals absolutely every scene he’s in.
Still, on a whole, the end result is definitely one of the low points of the Brat Pack years. Perhaps they really did still have some growing up to do.