Lion of the Blogosphere

80s interiors in St. Elmo’s Fire, plus gayness


The interior design of Demi Moore’s apartment is hilarious, both the design itself and Andrew McCarthy’s reaction to it. McCarthy is the source of the movie’s best dialog, reminding me of a character from a Whit Stillman movie.

Yes, on the left is a huge mural of Billy Idol. It reminds me of the crazy-looking wall mural that Charlie Sheen (Emilio Estevez’s real-life brother) had installed in his expensive Manhattan apartment in Wall Street two years later.

The interior is also an important cornerstone of some of the interconnecting plots in the movie. Her interior decorator is the cool gay guy next door. It has become a standard trope in TV and movies that girls love having a cool gay friend (like Stanford in Sex and the City), but this was 1985, 13 years before the first season of Sex and the City.

Demi Moore thinks that Andrew McCarthy is gay because “he’s the only guy at school who never made a pass at her,” and she also thinks that he’s “madly in love” with Judd Nelson, so she tries to fix him up with her gay neighbor. McCarthy is very annoyed by the accusation that he’s gay. In fact, he’s madly in love with Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson’s girlfriend, which is why he spends so much time hanging around them. “I’ve seen enough pink for today, thank you very much” is what he says as he storms off just as Demi Moore’s cool gay neighbor shows up.

This storyline would not play out the same way in a contemporary movie. In the play Avenue Q, the character who is the analog to Bert from Sesame Street is accused of being gay, and he denies it by insisting that he has a girlfriend in Canada. But by the end of the play he comes out of the closet. In modern media, if a man seems gay it’s because he’s sexually attracted to other men, and the rest of the characters need to do him a favor by getting him to come out of the closet.

In addition to the interior’s connection to Demi Moore’s cool gay neighbor, the interior demonstrates her out-of-control credit-enabled spending binge, which will come back to bite her later on.


In a subsequent scene at St. Elmo’s Bar, Demi Moore sits her cool gay neighbor, Ron, next to Andrew McCarthy. She’s still trying to set them up. McCarthy says “Hi Ron” with just the right amount of understated annoyance.

Notice Ron’s lime-green knit tie and bright orange shirt. These colors are obviously supposed to demonstrate his gayness, and it reminds me of the sort of colors that Stanford would wear in Sex and the City. Except Stanford never wore knit ties because they went out of style after Family Ties went off the air and we stopped seeing Alex P. Keaton wearing them.

I live in the gayest neighborhood in Manhattan (Hell’s Kitchen) and I never see anyone wearing those color combinations, so either they went out of style with gay men, or were never actually in style with gay men except in movies and television.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 8, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Movies

29 Responses

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  1. That mural is glorious.


    January 8, 2016 at 1:51 pm

  2. I live in the gayest neighborhood in Manhattan (Hell’s Kitchen)

    Welcome to the neighborhood, girlfriend!

    With Love,

    The Boys at Flaming Saddles
    The Boys at the Fairytale Lounge

    The Boys at the Fairytale Lounge

    January 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    • Have you ever thought of moving a few blocks up to quieter and less gayer Lincoln Square in the Upper West Side?

      Half a million in savings and a short lease can make you feel like a Mansion pig for a year, or you can buy with that amount, and it will leave you penniless!


      January 8, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      • You can’t buy anything for only $500K unless it’s a micro-studio in a pre-war building.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      • There are 1 bedrooms in a UWS pre-war for that amount.


        January 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      • No there aren’t.

        I see a one-bedroom for $450K, the catch is that the maintenance fee is yuuuugee: $1,734.

        And two one-bedrooms under $500K that say they need “TLC” which is real-estate-speak for “this place is a dump that will require $200K to renovate and you will have to live somewhere else for a year while that’s happening.”

        A normal-price for a one-bedroom in a pre-war building that’s move-in ready (but not freshly renovated) and has a normal maintenance fee is about $700K.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      • Lion — Roosevelt Island could be the next Brooklyn for those disenchanted gentrifiers, who hate to send their kids to NAM schools.

        The only roadblock for RI to become a SWPL Island: A few Mitchell Lama complexes that houses blacks, and 2 hospitals at the opposite ends that houses disabled “bastards”, many of them also black. Currently, there is a lack of food options and amenities, despite all the expensive real estate being built along the island.

        Cornell University wants to take up space there with a STEM research center. It would be an ideal place for SWPLs, because the entire island is all grass for biking and running. And kids love riding the Tramway to and from Midtown or they can descend deep into the abyss and ride the F-Train to Manhattan.

        There’s also this Lighthouse which could be put into good use for recreation.


        January 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      • It would stink to live near Lincoln Square (I work in the area). It’s a sterile food desert — the only thing going for it is proximity to the park.


        January 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      • A real food desert would be Roosevelt Island. Yet, many SWPL families would probably move there in a heartbeat, because it’s a park/playground everywhere. They just need to get rid of the blacks in the Mitchell Lama projects there, and install private schools and a few more food options/markets.


        January 9, 2016 at 10:54 am

      • A normal-price for a one-bedroom in a pre-war building that’s move-in ready (but not freshly renovated) and has a normal maintenance fee is about $700K.

        Do you have enough savings to retire and keep blogging full time?

        I was going to start a blog last summer but had to delay it to this Spring (I’m targeting April) because I needed to leverage my now quite robust resume, which I earned for a few years on a ‘grind’ job, to a less exasperating and higher paying one.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      • The area by West 72nd is not bad. And the Lincoln Center area isn’t too far off from Hell’s Kitchen. It’s only about a 5 minute walk.

        The housing stock in the UWS is a lot more superior than that of Hell’s Kitchen!


        January 9, 2016 at 10:40 am

    • I hadn’t even heard of this place until you mentioned it in the comments before, but it seemed odd to me that it would be called ‘fairytale’ and not fairytail’ and it is in fact ‘fairytail’. You don’t have a dirty enough mind to be really gay, so you don’t fake being gay very well. Hardly the worst thing in the world in my book.

      prolier than thou

      January 8, 2016 at 8:45 pm

  3. Fine, I guess I’ll just have to watch this damn movie once and for all. I only watched “Pretty in Pink” for the first time last week because it was on HBO or somewhere that I didn’t have to pay for it. It was stupid but had a fun 80s vibe, and I was pissed when the adorable Molly Ringwald picks the wrong guy. But hey, that’s just me.


    January 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    • i just watched it for the first time.

      lion, you inadvertently started a movie club.


      January 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

  4. What is her supposed job in this movie? I can’t help but think the place looks a leeeeetle unrealistic for a new grad on a first job.


    January 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm

  5. Perhaps when Trump Makes America Great Again the Fairytale Lounge will be shuttered or at least routinely raided by the NYPD.

    Lewis Medlock

    January 8, 2016 at 4:12 pm

  6. My rent for a beautiful place is 600 (650 with utilities in sumemr, maybe 700 with utilities in the cold months).

    1700 bucks for maintenance. What the hell!?

    I’m in a shitty urban new england town, not NYC, but come on.


    January 8, 2016 at 4:27 pm

  7. “or were never actually in style with gay men except in movies and television.”

    I remember a gay guy I was barely acquainted with in DC dressing like this at the time the movie came out. Speaking of changes, he was dating a woman I knew well and I kept telling her he was gay (in part because of the over the top clothes). She objected, but the truth came out quick enough.


    January 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm

  8. just finished watching st elmo’s fire on putlocker. watching it for a second time before i comment.


    January 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    • i had never seen it before, just little pieces.

      my first question is, who looked better, demi moore or andi mcdowell?


      January 8, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    • Thanks for the tip re ‘putlocker.’ I noticed at 41:50 Andrew McCarthy walks past a bar while talking to a prostitute and there’s a neon sign in the window ‘Esslinger’s Premium.’ From what I could find on the internet, it appears that beer disappeared in 1940.


      January 9, 2016 at 2:20 am

  9. You should start a channel on youtube.


    January 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm

  10. One of the bedrooms in my house looks identical to this minus the mural. Tacky, tacky.

    sithy toves

    January 8, 2016 at 9:34 pm

  11. Did AIDS ever come up in the movie? As it reached the theaters in June 1985 it probably had been written and filmed starting in mid-1984, which is just when AIDS was becoming a big issue in the gay community and in public consciousness.



    January 8, 2016 at 11:00 pm

  12. Just watched st. elmo’s fire w/my bro so we could follow along w/the blogging. I wish I could thank you for introducing me to this movie as you did to the excellent dark matter series, but the threadbare plot led to a rather diminished viewing experience. Of course, I am still enjoying the posts dissecting the movie through a social anthropological lens as a means to gain insight into the 80’s.


    January 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    • It’s a much better movie than the Madonna movie Desperately Seeking Susan. I didn’t laugh once watching the Madonna flick, but several scenes in St. Elmo’s Fire cracked me up.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 9, 2016 at 12:27 am

      • I don’t ever recall enjoying Desperately Seeking Susan. Why was it so popular? Or why were any Madonna movies made given that she was such a bad actress, see Shanghai Surprise, Who’s That Girl, Bloodhounds of Broadway and Body of Evidence? Do you suppose women went to her movies just to see her in weird outfits?


        January 9, 2016 at 12:53 am

  13. You might be interested in checking out the 1990 John Boorman movie “Where the Heart Is”. There’s a similar take on a gay-seeming character that today would be totally unthinkable. Boorman’s movie, in general, is pretty interesting: it borrows a lot of the tropes of popular 80s movies (echoes of this movie, “Wall Street”, and others), but everything is slightly stylized/heightened and the drama has been recast as a quasi-Shakespearian tragicomedy. It was a huge flop at the time, and, I think, would continue to alienate and baffle most contemporary audiences, though, from my point of view, it’s the work of a true artist.

    Sax von Stroheim

    January 9, 2016 at 6:51 am

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