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The Breakfast Club (1985)

DVD Cover (Universal Flashback Edition)
Genres:
Comedy Drama, Coming-Of-Age, Ensemble Film, Teen Drama
Director:
John Hughes John Hughes
Starring:
Emilio Estevez Emilio Estevez
Paul Gleason Paul Gleason
Anthony Michael Hall Anthony Michael Hall
John Kapelos John Kapelos
Judd Nelson Judd Nelson

7.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 14, 2007
John Hughes, to where hath thou vanished?

In the 1980's, there was John Hughes. One of the most prolific writers and directors in cinema history, Hughes' films defined a generation. They are synonymous to the 1980's as LSD was to the 1970's and as Vietnam was to the 1960's. When you think of film in the 1980's, you think of John Hughes. He had this uncanny ability to tap into the subconscious of teenagers everywhere and his films were just what the youth of that day wanted to see. He represented all factions in the high school setting and he portrayed various levels of the high school experience. Then, he just stopped making movies. Don't believe all of this? How is this for a short, but sweet, resume:

Sixteen Candles (Writer/Director)
The Breakfast Club (Writer/Director)
Weird Science (Writer/Director)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Writer/Director)
Plains, Trains & Automobiles (Writer/Director)
She's Having A Baby (Writer/Director)
Uncle Buck (Writer/Director)
Mr. Mom (Writer)
National Lampoon's Vacation (Writer)
Pretty In Pink (Writer)
Some Kind of Wonderful (Writer)
The Great Outdoors (Writer)
Home Alone (Writer)
Dutch (Writer)
Beethoven (Writer)

Without John Hughes, there wouldn't be film in the 1980's. And one of his most incredible pieces of work, and one of his most celebrated would have to be "The Breakfast Club". This was a film that immediately connected with the 1980's youth culture -- a film that summed up their high school experiences in ninety-minutes of humor and heart that you don't see in films anymore...at least not very much. John Hughes was not the only director who could do this -- he was just the best at it. "The Breakfast Club" is his finest example of this talent.

The crux of the film is set in the high school library as five teens are in detention for various reasons. Principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason) patrols this room like a drill sergeant, determined to squash any attempt at having anything other than a miserable times. He spouts off one liners like fire spouts off sparks -- "If I have to come back in here, I'm crackin' skulls." He is the figure of authority and the adult figure in the film. Each of the detentionees represent a certain faction of the high school experience. Emilio Estevez is the jock. Molly Ringwald is the goody-two-shoes. Anthony Michael Hall is the dufus. Ally Sheedy is the outcast. And, Judd Nelson is the rebel. Each of them is totally different from the others, but they all have one undeniable thing in common -- they don't want to be in detention. Through occasional clashes of personality, these five teenagers eventually end up connecting in a way they would have never imagined -- through their differences.

Most of this film is conversation -- very odd considering how successful it was. Most 1980's box office hits have required explosions or action sequences, or something with some flashes and some loudness. This film relied on an affective script and normal conversations between people. One of the best scenes comes when they are all revealing what they did to get into detention in the first place. Some of these confessions are very humorous and very shocking, while others are very sad and heartbreaking. All these kids want to do is get out of high school and go on with their lives, but that seems increasingly hard for some of them either due to their home life or their social status at the school. Each of these kids would probably grow up to be successful in their own right, but there is this feeling of uncertainty that we don't know what will happen.

And what film from the 1980's was better packed with young talent? Each role is cast perfectly and each actors delivers infinitely. Judd Nelson is particularly affective as John Bender, the rebel who wants to seem as bad ass and in control as possible, but is really just scared and naive at his core. Anthony Michael Hall also does a great job representing the smart kid who is always presumed to be in control and on top of things, but is weighed down by just as much pressure as everyone else. Each of these characters spends the course of the film proving that you can't judge a book by its cover and sometimes the facades we show the world are really just our way or hiding our hurt or disappointment at something. And, the late Paul Gleason is just what he needs to be as Principal Vernon. He is hard-nosed, conservative and doesn't take crap from anyone. His one goal is to make sure these kids finish out their detention the way he sees fit. Another scalding scene involves he and Judd Nelson going toe-to-toe, as the principal adds on detention after detention after detention.

All of that said, I sorely miss John Hughes. He just dropped off the face of the Earth, and film needs him so very badly. There is no writer working today who has the same depth and heart that Hughes had, and likely still has. No one. There is no writer in Hollywood right now who has been responsible for this kind of amazing track record. John Hughes owned the 1980's and his resume proves it. "The Breakfast Club" is his best film because it connects with so many different people on so many different levels. Even people who don't relate to it on a high school level can relate to it on a human level, and that is what a great film does -- it connects with the widest number of people possible, and does so on a multitude of levels. "The Breakfast Club" is not just a great film, it's a contemporary masterpiece. It will be remembered. Now, that is a testament. 10/10
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Weird Science American Beauty Ghost World Rushmore The Karate Kid
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 05/14/2007, 11:06 PM
I didn't know he did She's Having a Baby, I loved that movie.
I know this was probably his best known film, but Sixteen Candles always impressed me a little more.
Regardless, this was a hysterical movie, and was such a smart teen comedy. 9/10
Edd #2: Edd - added 05/15/2007, 10:48 AM
For all the great laughs and excellent dialogue found in this movie, there's 10 times more bad acting and "seen it coming" moments. I know it's almost blasphemy, but I could do with or without this movie. 5/10
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 05/15/2007, 11:24 AM
Bad acting? BAD ACTING?! Stick to your Steven Seagal movies.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 05/15/2007, 03:20 PM
I like how you spelled it Plains.
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 05/15/2007, 06:52 PM
Yeah...I guess I was referring to the Western by the same name.
Edd #6: Edd - added 05/16/2007, 03:16 AM
You leave Mr. Seagal out of this :D
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 10/23/2008, 01:57 AM
So I watched this for the first time since I was a kid. I guess it pays to watch these movies after you've grown to appreciate films a little more. One of the most heart warming and hilarious movies I've ever seen. Forget my previous 9/10, a 10/10 is certainly in order for this one.
Shakes #8: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 12:43 PM
My personal Hughes favorites are PT&A (heh...that came out interesting..um, nevermind) and of course Uncle Buck, my all time favorite Hughes film. The Breakfast club, receives a well-deserved 10/10 just the same
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