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Author Topic: The Breakfast Club
Valley

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"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."

This isn't going to be one of my usual threads where I recap a movie and tell you why you should watch it.  Instead.. I'm asking for fans of "The Breakfast Club" to explain why I should enjoy it as much as them.

"Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"

I respect "The Breakfast Club" and there are scenes that I really enjoy, but overall it is one of the least fav of my John Hughes film collection.  I watched it again tonight .. trying to capture why others love it so. I understand many see it as a cerebal film and maybe my attention span is lost because I was never in detention and my home life was awesome when I was in high school.  I agree that high school had it's social segmented groups and this film did a great job of representing them.

Several years back I did a Rewind Movie Poll and I was amazed by how many Rewinders listed "The Breakfast Club" in their top five 80's movies of all-time.  More interesting was the fact that a few folks from the UK listed it as #1.  So my question is what about "The Breakfast Club" makes it so special?   

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"Don't mess with the bull, young Valley. You'll get the horns."

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Muffy Tepperman
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Really Valley??? interesting..........

I love TBC. It's easily one of my favs. I can watch it anytime it's on tv.....anytime! Just like 16 Candles it doesn't get old for me.

Hughes just nailed the characters in this one and every actor is perfect for their role. Even down to the janitor Carl!

I love John Bender and his many quotable lines.....probably my favorite Judd Nelson role.

EAT MY SHORTS! ( I always thought it was dubbed....like he was saying **** haha)

Allison shaking her dandruff and making art.

So Valley what is your favorite Hughes film?

One thing I always notice when I say i'm an 80's movie nut.....people always go...."oh the Breakfast Club" grrrrr

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saturnchick
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Oh boy, do I love The Breakfast Club. Because a movie-watching experience is such a personal and subjective thing, it will probably be very difficult for me to encapsulate into words why I think this movie is so special. Nonetheless, I'll give it a try.

Firstly, it's probably important to I mention that I was about 10 years old when I first watched The Breakfast Club, and that I first saw it on TV. Subsequent viewings came via a VHS tape that I had recorded the movie on, long before I went out and purchased my very own copy.

Part of the allure of the movie probably derived from the fact that I was at an impressionable age - still in grade school, but old enough to be cognizant of the cliques and heirarchies developing around me at school. In this regard, there seemed to be an honesty to the storytelling that I had not encountered before, particularly an honesty that hinged itself on the comings and goings of teenagers. Because I was not yet in high school when I first saw the movie, there was also a sort of mysterious quality to the movie; "is this really what high school is like?" was the question I used to ask myself while I was watching the movie.

As I got older, and high school came and went, The Breakfast Club remained a favorite of mine, and it is the gold standard by which I compare all "high school" movies. Of course, with age and experience, some of the minor flaws within the movie became more apparent to me, but my awareness of the film's realism never waivered. The Breakfast Club has respect for its characters - and although one of themes of the film is the acknowledgement that "labels" are an inevitable part of the adolescent experience - none of the characters ever devolve into the stereotype that they ( and the viewer) initially suspect each other to be. John Hughes masterfully flips the script here, and given the fact that he was in his 30's when The Breakfast Club was made, he shows no indication of it; he's fully in touch with his 16 year old self.

So many teen movies pander to their audience, making a farce of the adolescent experience, but I think the best of the genre (The Breakfast Club, Lucas, Mean Girls, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) recognize that although the audience is young, they are not dumb. And although The Breakfast Club is a "high school" movie, its charm also lies in the fact that it is simultaneously age indiscriminant. In other words, there's a universal appeal to the story because it doesn't treat its subjects (and their "issues") like kids, even though they are kids. Instead, I think it empowers them.

I also think that there is a quality to The Breakfast Club that epitomizes the 80's. In my opinion, the 80's were a sort of Golden Age for teen movies, and from a pop culture standpoint, the 80's was such an eclectic time. The Breakfast Club is a reflection of both of those ideas - it was just the right movie and the right time. It sort of did for the 80's what Rebel Without a Cause did for 50's greasers and what Saturday Night Fever did for the burgeoning disco scene of the 1970's.

I don't mean to suggest that it was the first or last movie to tackle adolescence succesfully, but it was certainly one of the best in terms of portraying the 80's teen generation with authenticity. For these reasons, I regard The Breakfast Club not only as a definitive teen film, but also a quintessential movie of the 80's.

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Veronica Sawyer
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I was in junior high when I saw TBC for the first time, and I seriously thought it was the best movie ever made...I don't think of it that way anymore, but I definitely still love it.

What I love about it is the beginning when all of the characters are introduced (including Mr. Vernon) and all of their bantering with each other. I also love how every time I watch it, I notice something new about it (like Carl the Janitor's picture in the hallway and John Hughes playing Brian's Dad at the end).

What's interesting though is that when I watch it now, I always find myself turning it off around the time they start pouring their hearts out to each other and tears are shed. It's not that I don't like these scenes, I guess I'm just not always in the mood to watch them.

I find as I get older that Mr. Vernon is the funniest part of the movie in a lot of ways.

Valley, did you buy the blu-ray that just came out?

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esmagnus
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The Breakfast Club is Hitch****-esque! Yes, I am comparing John Hughes to Alfred Hitch****.

The entire film is shot in basically one location, much like what Alfred Hitch**** did with Rope.

Talk about limitations! but it allows us to really settle in with the characters and the story. Each of us is in detention with them. Coupling that with such identifiable characters is just one of the things that makes the Bfast Club so great.

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esmagnus
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Hitch****'s name is banned from Rewind. That's sacrilege!!! lol
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P_a_u_l
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The Breakfast club succeeds for the following reasons, which are pretty much standards for a great movie across all ages and genres:

1. A small, but very good, ensemble cast. Outside of the parents who drop and collect at the edges of the movie, you have seven people. Just seven. and when you think of the characters and the actors who played them, not one was less than totally convincing in their role. Even Carl the Janitor, who some could imagine as a throwaway part, is in many ways essential to the plot, as he provides both the adult counterpoint to Vernon's arrogance, and a grown-up to which the kids could in some way relate. Which brings me to my second point....

2. Realism and Believability. At some level, there was a character in the movie to which everyone could relate. Everyone was, or knew, a brainy nerd lacking in social skills. Or an athlete driven by some force (whether their parents, or their own desire to prove themselves and retain their standing). Or a kid they were scared of, and avoided because they had an unpredictable nature which meant you never quite knew whether they were going to laugh, ignore you, or pound you. Or a rich, attractive, elitist kid who looked down their noses at you. Or a kid who was just wierd...... for so many reasons, none of which you ever got close enough to discover.

3. A story and (I hate this term...) a Journey. At the end of the movie, none of the characters are the same. Brian gains self-confidence, Bender gains acceptance, Claire gains self-reliance, Alison gains normality, and Andy gains humility. And even that description barely scratches the surface of the path they take on that one Saturday. Because at the start of the movie, everybody has someone they can identify with. At the end of the movie, everybody has FIVE people to whom they can relate. As the kids realise they are all more alike than they knew, then so do we all. And that's down to.....

4. A great Director. John Hughes was the absolute master at this kind of movie, because he never forgot what it was like to be a teenager. So no high school or college kid in any of his movies ever does anything that makes you think "Naah - wouldn't happen". You know that in real life, Duckie would always be in love with Andie, but would never end up with her. Keith would get together with Watts irrespective of how the date with Amanda turned out. Samantha was always destined to find out enough about herself to come out of the game ahead, despite nobody remembering her birthday. And in The Breakfast Club, every single action, reaction, emotion, and conversation is just right.

5. A reliance on performance over effect. The controlled location certainly contributed, but it's often the case that where a movie (especially these days) has an overt reliance on visual effects over script and performance, the movie is panned. Not so in The Breakfast Club. Just about every visual effect is stripped away, and you're left with the skill of the actor. and as mentioned above, the actors in this case are very good indeed.

So.....

That's why, for me, The Breakfast Club is so great.

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gordongecko
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Simplicity

For me it's because it's simple. Simple in the fact that it takes place in one day (not even). It takes place in the school and for the most part all in the library. They didn't have the classic "party scene" that we see way too often. Although they did have some recreational fun in there. They didn't have all the cheesey group clapping scenes or sporting event scenes. It was just the characters and their feelings.

It's a familiar setting for many, detention. But in all reality it didn't have to be detention it could have been anything that brought them together. Not only could we relate to a main character, which always gets stated, but I believe many of us can remember being in a similar situation. A moment when we were with a group of unfamiliar fellow students for a longer period of time. A moment when you actually got to know someone different then your regular friends. You actually got to talk to someone and get to know them instead of just saying hi in passing.

That's the familiarity I get from this movie. It gives me a feeling of happiness, of youth, and of "what if." It's one of the few movies that thrusts me back to high school, even though I went to school in the mid to late 90's! It's hard to describe but it's one of those movies that just gives me a feeling of adolescence. I feel like there were many times I felt like Bender (probably the only time I can relate to him in the movie [Smile] ) at the end, walking away from the school and wanting to pump my fist in the air and scream. Because I had a new one day crush or just because things were good!

Hard to describe, but I have a fond place for this movie.

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Valley

Dated Julie From 'Valley Girl' (allegedly!)
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I really love the passion behind the responses! It was a blast to read your thoughts on "The Breakfast Club".

Muffy.. John Hughes has an incredible resume, but if I have to choose my fav it is definitely "Sixteen Candles".

SaturnChick.. loved what you wrote and made me think. btw, is that a record length post for you? My new plan is start posting about movies I dislike so you can set me straight!

Veronica.. you listed some great scenes. My fav is when they are running around the hallways avoiding Principal Vernon and especially when they do that awesome moonwalk type slide!

esmagus.. comparing Hughes to Hitchc0ck.. I like your thinking! My favorite Hitchc0ck movie is "North By Northwest".

Paul.. great stuff! I like how you made sense out of "The Breakfast Club" by using "Some Kind of Wonderful" as an example. btw, SKOW is currently my second fav Hughes film.

gordongecko.. maybe your point about the simplicity is why I struggle with this movie. I think on first viewing I probably thought this was great movie, but over time it just doesn't have the playback value for me that other Hughes films do for some reason.

Thanks everyone.. I have even more respect for "The Breakfast Club" because of the impact that it had on each of you.

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Logan 5
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I'm late to the party, but...

There's nothing I can really add to what's been said. I first saw it when I was fifteen (years after it came out). I can still recall passing it by in the store whenever I was looking through the tapes, but I have no idea why, and to this day I kick myself for not picking it out sooner!

I agree about the simplicity, and the Hitch****-esque 'play'-like quality it has. That gives it a 'stillness' many teen films don't have.

The characters are (as has been said) archetypes, that in some way we can all relate to. Most people are a mix, but still close enough to one or the other.

I also agree with Saturnchick; I find the emoting stuff hard to take now. It seems slightly hyperbolic (but that's mostly Brian crying). I also think that Carl and Mr. Vernon speak to adults the way the kids speak to... the kids.

Also, a problem with this film is it has massive quote-appeal. Once you can quote a huge chunk of a film it stops being a linear story and starts being a bunch of cliches linked together, and that has affected my ability to re-watch it.

Most teen films are just wish fulfillment (Last American Virgin is an exception). This movie actually talks about the part of being a teen that most teen movies skip over to get to the wish being fulfilled.

And yes, like most people above who saw it back in the day, the movie is like a time-machine to go back to youth, when cliques and dreams of one great night really meant something.

I can no longer view the movie as I did when I was a teen because it's themes are no longer relevant to my life. But I can - in pieces - still remember when it was (or seemed like it was) and enjoy it on that level. But hell... I still love that ending!

[ 07. August 2010, 04:55: Message edited by: logan5 ]

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Ronnie
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not sure if anyone else caught it, but this morning, Good Morning America talked about the Breakfast Club 25 year reunion which took place in NYC last night. i dvr'd the talk show, and haven't watched it yet.

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Valley

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Love the pic! I didn't see it, but will definitely look for it. Great that they did a reunion...
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cindymancini
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Where's Andrew Clark?!?!
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P_a_u_l
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As the only cast member who can still get regular work (I think he's shooting "The Mighty Ducks #37 : It's All Quacking Up!" in Wyoming) he couldn't make it.....
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Devolution
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Devolution here,

In response to Valley's original post, which I guess I missed at some point in time...

I tend to agree with you Valley, while John Hughes is a legend, and this movie does hold a great place in my heart, It's possibly #5 on my Hughes list, and would never ever make my top 10 80's movies. I need to stress that I do enjoy this movie, and I do know it word for word, but It's No Sixteen Candles, It's no Uncle Buck, It's No Planes Trains and Automobile's and Let's not even throw out the words Mr. Mom.

The ensemble cast was great, their chemistry was awesome, and besides 2 songs the soundtrack is extremely (buckle up) overrated. It is great to look at them and appreciate how great they were, I still quote "It's sort of social, demented and sad, but social", and I totally appreciate people that love this movie, but watching it from beginning to end these days takes a lot of effort. As a matter of fact, the more I think about it, the truer that statement has been for a long long time.

We are DEVO

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oneyedwilly
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typical 80s attitude of rebelling against the system, simple writing, 1 location, perfect casting, great lines, bolstered by a kick a55 sound track...great recipe for a successful movie for any young teenager aspiring to be older than they are like all coming of age teens think of...to quote logan from another thread, most youngsters want to watch movies about teenagers slightly older than they are, not younger.
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Logan 5
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quote:
Where's Andrew Clark?!?!
Front and center.
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