Sure the film deals with issues that will probably always be relevant, but the flamboyant, over-the-top way it deals with these issues is something distinctly unique to the era, exacerbated further by the fact that the film was directed by notorious flam-boy Joel Schumacher (refer to Batman Forever and Batman and Robin).
St. Elmo’s Fire is perhaps most famous for unleashing the “Brat Pack” on the world. Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Emilio Estevez, who all played high school students in John Hughes' fairly similar though drastically superior The Breakfast Club (which was released that same year in '85) all play recent college grads here, joined by Mare Winningham, a young, hot Demi Moore, reliable 80’s stalwart Andrew McCarthy, and of course, perennial douchebag Rob Lowe, who seemed to be channeling his future self in this role. Performances here are solid all around, with the exception of Lowe, who at 19 years old, should NOT have been cast as a hard-partying college grad who already has a kid and a baby mama. He just didn't have the life experience to pull this thing off, and it shows.
Schumacher is a consistently inconsistent director, churning out several real gems (The Lost Boys, A Time to Kill, Tigerland) and some true clunkers (previously mentioned Batman sequels, The Number 23, etc). St. Elmo’s finds it’s place somewhere in the middle. I really enjoyed watching some of the realistic problems of post-college lives played out- struggling to find a career, balancing new found responsibilities, taking relationships to the next level, etc. But the realism is highly muddled by some truly silly storylines (Emilio Estevez’s teen comedy-like pursuit of the uninterested Andie Macdowell for one).
Numerous unnecessary set pieces, like a fat old man wandering the hospital hallways buck-naked, a goofy, arranged marriage scenario for Mare Winningham, oh and Rob Lowe’s over-the-top bad boy personality all serve to deter from what could have been a great ensemble character drama. That said, it’s tough to disrespect the somewhat edgy narrative Schumacher brought from script to screen.
A handful of interesting relationship stories form the film's backbone, and the end results bravely shy away from your typical Hollywood sappy happy ending. That said, this is an 80’s film, and thus, there is a LOT of cheese to be found. The hair, the wardrobes, the humor and oh, the classic sax-heavy soundtrack, all increase the unintentional laugh-factor, while also providing a hilarious trip down memory lane. LOL indeed.
Joel Schumacher Remembers St. Elmo’s Fire: (14:21) - The writer/director weighs in on how he came up with the concept for the film, what it’s about, how the actors came on, etc. He’s certainly not boring to listen to in this abridged version of the commentary track.
Making of Featurette (8:43) - Like the film, this behind the scenes featurette is so unbelievably 80’s that, most of the time, it’s just too hard to take seriously. It’s mostly just film clips anyways. Skip it.
John Parr “Man in Motion” music video (4:21) - Just when you thought this DVD couldn’t get anymore outdated, they give us this rare gem. 80’s music videos are friggin’ awesome, and this thing is no exception. I wanna grab a beer with John Parr. Hell, I’ll settle for a handshake. Or a lock of that incredible hair. OK I'm getting a little creepy.
Deleted Scenes (15:41) - A great big helping of extra scenes, extended takes, etc. Many of the scenes were cut for runtime and depict instances referenced in several parts of the film. One of Emilio driving and the scene directly following it are extremely bizarre, and worth checking out for that very reason.