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Brat Whapping

May 11, 1986

Better watch out, Brat Packers, or the critics will take you over their knees!

Judd Nelson knows how that goes. He packed a gun and a vendetta in Paramount's "Blue City"--based on Ross Macdonald's hard-boiled 1947 novel--and was soundly spanked by reviewers.

Co-star Ally Sheedy also got a beating and there were few kind words for first-time director Michelle Manning--also a sort of Brat Packer (she co-produced "The Breakfast Club"). And there were whacks taken at writers Lukas Heller and Walter Hill (who also co-produced).

Among the paddlings:

"Is Judd Nelson the smirkiest actor in current movies, or is he simply getting stereotyped playing overbearing creeps? Either way, you spend 'Blue City's' 83 interminable minutes begging to deck him." (USA Today's Mike Clark)

"You haven't seen anything quite so ridiculous as a limp-jawed, dewy-eyed Nelson trying to carry off a tough guy part." (L.A. Daily News' Kirk Honeycutt)

"Nelson--.008 charisma rating on the Richter scale--is resolutely unconvincing." (L.A. Her-Ex's Peter Rainer--one of the few to applaud Sheedy: "More than this movie deserves.")

"It's another step in the slow process of revealing, movie by movie, what dull actors some of the celebrated Brat Pack kids are. Judd Nelson would make a great shopping cart, Sheedy a still life of a cornflower gone to wilt." (S.F. Chronicle's Peter Stack)

"(The main character has) a passion as rootless as an Everglades air plant. . . . Though his clothes suggest that he and Don Johnson patronize the same boutique, Mr. Nelson has the looks of someone who's come South on a spring break and overshot Fort Lauderdale." (N.Y. Times' Vincent Canby)

"The worst major studio film we've seen in recent memory." (Santa Monica Outlook's Jerry Roberts)

" 'Blue City' is fictionally set in Florida, but was lensed entirely in California, thus managing to shame the citizenry on one coast and the film making industry on the other, all at the same time." (Daily Variety's Jim Harwood)


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