Monday, March 24, 2014

03/24 (b): The Breakfast Club

Today is a great day, timing-wise, to do a review for the classic teen movie. Why, because today, in the fictional town of Sherman, Illinois, 5 Sherman High students gathered for Saturday detention on March 24, 1984. Hard to believe that was 3 decades ago, even though the movie was released a year later. Most of you are aware of the accolades and praises of this iconic 80s movie. No words can explain it, but I can tell you from the first time I watched it (over 15 years ago), it has been a movie that has stayed with me for the longest time and still does every time I watch it. Millions, I believe, feel the same way.

I've mentioned before that I'm the type of movie-lover who loves stories with personal rather than escapist stories. This one can't hit you any harder. It's nothing like the good ol' days when your grandparents probably told you (mine did) when high school is supposed to be 'the greatest days of your life'. That all changed over time, when more suburban cities developed bigger high schools and most believed they separated students by class and rank. Cliques formed, and outkasts and more stereotypes were created. In The Breakfast Club, we meet 5 students who each belong in different stereotypical categories. They're all in detention for different, if not bizarre, reasons.

Let's analyze the five:

Claire (Molly Ringwald)- the pretty, prissy prom princess who eats sushi, and embarrassingly, a virgin.

Bender (Judd Nelson) - the criminal. Comes from a loser family, knows how to fight (with weapons and words), among other things.

Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) - the brain. The total geek who seems to have been raised by Mr. Rogers.

Andy (Emilio Estevez)- the jock. The tough-as-balls wrestler, or so we're led to believe.

Allison (Ally Sheedy)- the basket case. The seemingly pretty, yet crazy one.

After being settled in detention, the students sort of bond, but not in a good way as several differences (mostly with Bender and Andy) are explained. Slowly but surely, they all find out they have one thing in common: they hate authority, they hate their parents, and they just want to have some fun and not be looked at as another stereotype. It's all explained in the essay they are asked to do for the principal. 

This is a character-driven script, in case you haven't noticed. The only complaint I have sometimes about this film is sometimes overdramatic, like the emotional scenes when they are all spilling their secrets. But I get over it throughout the movie. Some of them may not seem realistic, I suppose. Would we ever see the principal try to threaten the bully in private? Can anyone get away with smoking pot in the library? Who knows. Probably the only thing that tramples on it is the birth of the 'brat pack' theme. Another thing that got me was that three of the five actors (Estevez, Sheedy, Nelson) went on to play college graduates later in 1985's St. Elmo's Fire. Molly Ringwald began to play roles that were nothing like her Claire character. I remember at one time a long time ago there was a crazy rumor about the cast reuniting in a new updated story of this film. I'm glad it didn't happen (laughs).

But to the late, great John Hughes: outstanding, excellent work. This masterpiece still lives on today and I believe it will for generations to come.

My rating: 10 out of 10

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