Nov 4, 2008

Review: The Breakfast Club

It may be over 20 years too late, but I’m finally in a position to review The Breakfast Club.

First of all, did this film make Judd Nelson a “heart-throb”? ‘Cause I can totally see it. I’ve only ever seen Judd Nelson as an adult actor, and he was kinda podgy. A “character actor”, is what they call it in Hollywood. But with his shaggy early 80s flick, flannelette shirt and fingerless gloves, he's a total bad boy babe.

Still, I don't quite know if that excuses Molly Ringwald totally "going there" at the end of the film. Let's face it, he was a complete a***wipe towards her for most of the film. She may be a preppy princess and his gruff exterior may be hiding a squishy sensitive inside, but I don't know that she deserved to have him stick his head into her crotch. That's some form of sexual assault, in my book.

It wasn't nice to pick on Anthony Michael Hall, either. I can't abide nerd abuse. Sure, AMH's modern day equivalent would probably downloading the infamous 2 Girls, 1 Cup meme video in between carving up Elvin princesses in WoW, but all AMH did was join the physics club and bring a gun to school. A little compassion, Judd Nelson.

The movie holds up well, design-wise. I was expecting a lot more fuzzy jumpers, rah-rah skirts and white pants. Emilio Estevez wears jock colours well. Even Ally Sheedy's insane arty type is somewhat timeless. But what's with the stupid headband Molly whacks on her after her makeover? And why does that convince Emilio she's snog-worthy? Surely that's still a bit shallow - "Before, you were crazy and ugly, now you're crazy and hot, and I'm prepared to go there!"

All in all, I found it handy that one of every American school stereotype happened to get detention for that particular Saturday. Who knows if their collective realisation - that every high schooler feels hurt and isolated, hates their parents and peer pressure, and yearns to be accepted for what they really are - would have happened at all if say, the jock had been absent, or there had been a group of alternative rebels instead of one. It just goes to show how shallow stereotypes are - they can be broken down and conquered in one day of pot-smoking, crazy dancing and teacher-baiting.

My favourite character was probably Anthony Michael Hall's sweet geek. Did anybody else notice when he got dropped off at the start of the film, the family car had the number plate 'EMC 2'? I thought that was genius. Ally Sheedy's mad-eyed artist comes a close second - her rant about her supposed nympomaniacal tendencies was a classic.

I guess I can say I enjoyed The Breakfast Club, if only because it explains a lot of jokes in Not Another Teen Movie. I don't know if I'll be rushing to see it again though, despite my obvious enjoyment of "Don't You (Forget About Me)". After it was beaten by a single vote on the GC poll, I believe I'll opt for Heathers next.


  1. I wonder what I'd think of this movie now, as a 32-year old. Would it still resonate with me like it used to?

  2. I watch it every year or so and it still resonates with me.

    I do think the effect for anyone watching it now for the first time is somewhat softened because at it's release, it was a really cutting edge movie, but now with every conceivable gross/vulgar/shock out there available in movies, it's just not as new territory as it was then.

    Judd Nelson was HOT in that movie.

    Heathers rocks. But if you haven't seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you have to!

  3. I agree with sleepydumpling.

    In the way that for a lot of Americans "American Beauty" was a revelation, "The Breakfast Club" was similar for it's time. I don't know how it will translate to new watchers over time, it was a bit of a "you had to be there" moment. Every time I watch The Breakfast Club, I bring a bit of that first time viewing experience with me.

    While we're reminiscing, "Pump Up The Volume" with Christian Slater in it was good fun too!

  4. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Breakfast Club.

    The most amazing thing about that film is the fact that against all odds, it works.

    That film is a screenwriters wet dream. Everyone who's ever written for film wishes they could pull off some kind of crazy "people in a room talking and they learn life lessons" - many attempt it, but this is the only one that works.

    (how well it works can be debated, but the fact that it works in some way can't be denied)