For this one, it’s time to take a little trip to the magical world of the 80’s. The 80’s were the best decade for movies, the best decade for music, and the best decade for TV. I’m a huge 80’s buff. Duh. 80’s for the win.
And the movie I’m discussing today goes back to last time when I was talking about The Breakfast Club and how my generation has turned into the Principal character from that movie because of the fact that today’s youth behave like entitled brats. Well, after I talked about the state of today’s youth, I went out and rented The Breakfast Club from the library and it was the first time that I’ve seen it in a while and I figure that I would talk about it.
As far as The Breakfast Club goes, it is one of the most iconic movies to ever come out of the 80’s and it is one of the most beloved movies ever made. I admit that I knew that the movie existed but I haven’t actually watched it until I signed up for the Columbia House Video Club and got it on VHS after I got out of high school and started working at Grand Union. I think it was like around 1998 or 1999. And sure enough I liked it. However, back then I wasn’t really seeing movies objectively but rather more like me watching movies for the fact that I am a movie buff. However, now that I’m older and obviously now reviewing movies and doing videos on the Internet, I can actually see the deeper meaning of movies and can now see them from a critic’s viewpoint.
Obviously, the movie’s main goal is to break down the usual stereotypes that dominate the high school caste system which are obviously the jock, the geek, the bad boy, the princess/rich girl and the person that looks like they’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and actually my alma mater Red Hook High School was no exception even though I don’t seem to recall any rich girls in my graduating class (I graduated in 1997.) I didn’t really belong to any cliques as I recall. I was more of a drifter and a loner. So in high school I probably would have related to Anthony Michael Hall’s character who is the socially awkward, introverted person who’s just trying to get accepted. But now in my real life, even though I did say that my generation is turning into Mr. Vernon who is the principal in that movie, I am actually kind of a cross between Anthony Michael Hall’s character and Emilio Estevez’s character who is the jock, especially at work where I can’t really think for myself.
In fact, Anthony Michael Hall’s character is the one character that people who have seen the movie can relate to the most while Judd Nelson’s character, Bender the bad boy is the character that people want to be as far as rebelling against the system, telling authority figures what they can go do with themselves, and basically not giving a fuck what society thinks of him because he has the tough bad boy image and he manages to score with Molly Ringwald. Many people would think that Ally Sheedy’s character is relatable too because she is basically this complex person. She’s kind of crazy, a Goth-type person who is also a thief and a compulsive liar, not to mention a great artist because she draws a really good landscape on the desk towards the beginning of the movie.
Of course there are things that the kids did in the movie that wouldn’t fly in today’s society especially in terms of how Anthony Michael Hall’s character ends up in Saturday Detention in which he brings a flare gun to school because he was contemplating suicide because he got a failing grade on a project and he is supposed to be a straight-A student or the fact that Bender writes “Open this locker and you die, fag!” on the outside of his locker not to mention the fact that he had pot stashed in his locker which the group puts to good use later on. I mean, if he had the pot stashed in his locker, it’s surprising that someone wouldn’t have smelled it down the hallway. If he had that in his locker in today’s world, he would probably not be in school anymore. Same with Brian bringing the flare gun to school and it accidentally went off in his locker. If he tried that in today’s world, he would probably be in jail and it will probably be another crybaby excuse to piss on the Second Amendment.
As far as the characters go the one I probably relate to the least would be Molly Ringwald’s character because while at times she may seem holier than thou because of the fact that she comes from a rich family and she is practically considered high school royalty, she usually responds with brutal honesty even though she comes off as bitchy and conceited especially when Brian asks if they’re all going to be friends when they’re back in school on Monday or are they going back to their respective cliques where they ignore each other and she responds that they wouldn’t be. She’s being truthful yet she’s kind of being a bitch about it. In a way she’s also kind of a snob and she’s frequently asked throughout the movie if she is still a virgin. Because in today’s society if a girl like her said that she was a virgin, she would be lying because this society is a lot more sex-centric now than it was when this movie came out. After all, The Breakfast Club came out during the Reagan era. And I also like how Ally Sheedy’s arc pans out where she goes from this girl whose parents practically drive away when she tries to talk to them to getting an extreme makeover by Molly Ringwald and she ends up with Emilio Estevez.
And since there were only three guys and two girls, obviously one of the guys has to go home single and it’s obviously Anthony Michael Hall’s character that ends up going home single. But his main goal was not to get the girl (even though Molly Ringwald pointed out to him later on that he and those like him look up to her) but rather it was simply to be accepted which is basically everyone’s struggle at some point in their lives. I know I’ve gone through that as well and at least Anthony Michael Hall doesn’t go home crying like Gary did in The Last American Virgin. He’s the one who ends up writing the essay for everyone and he’s the one who goes home feeling a sense of accomplishment and a little bit more confident than he was when he came in.
So basically the movie starts off with the five stereotypes coming in and they’re kind of standoffish but by the end of the movie, they’ve become kind of the United Nations of High School Cliques where each clique ends up represented. And out of everyone, I think the one that made the most progress was actually Emilio Estevez who had this bizarre moral code. On one hand, he defends Molly Ringwald from being sexually harassed by Bender at the beginning of the movie and even drops Bender at one point because he’s on the wrestling team after all while on the other hand, everything he does is basically to appease his father who he doesn’t even like because of the fact that his father demands perfection from him and part of that was what led Emilio Estevez to tape a weaker kid’s ass together as a prank which lands him in Saturday Detention. And like I said before, Brian made progress as far as gaining more confidence and feeling like he was really accepted and Ally Sheedy of course had the extreme makeover and gained a boyfriend. However, their standing as the only good people in the group is still intact. The ones that changed the least were Molly Ringwald who’s still the popular, full of herself princess and Bender who’s still the bad boy rebel so it’s only fitting that they inevitably hook up.
John Hughes has certainly made a masterpiece with this movie and as far as I’m concerned, he is the definitive director of the teen movie genre. That while I still haven’t seen either Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink, I have seen this, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (which can also be a definitive teen movie) and Weird Science all of which were directed by John Hughes and all of them were good movies. I don’t think anything before or since then has had this much of a cultural impact on society as The Breakfast Club. That while the 80’s setting makes the movie dated, its core values are timeless which means it can be applied to today’s world. And yes, I still wouldn’t count on the kids of today’s society taking care of me in my old age.