The Advocate : 'Breakfast Club' still rationalizes American youth

August 18, 2014 – 08:31 am

1980s classic relates to a generations' search for meaning 30 years later

Special to / The Advocate

Filed under Scene, Spotlight

They say breakfast is good for you, but what if someone told you joining a breakfast club would enhance your mornings and life in general?

This spring has marked 30 years since director John Hughes embraced all of us with a lifestyle close to that of which each of us grew up around.

Demanding parents, smoking marijuana, an evil principal, mandatory detentions after bad decisions, bad boys and pretty girls walking around on a dead Saturday morning on a high school campus depicted in the film, “The Breakfast Club, ” reminds us of a lost treasure in cinema.

“The Breakfast Club” is a brilliant satire for people associated with education and contemporary issues surrounding both female and male adolescents.

It takes us back to a place in our lives that most people miss and definitely remember — our teenage years.

These are arguably some of the most awkward years of our lives, yet the film creates an enjoyable feature with music, love and great storytelling.

There is no denying the impact that filmmaker John Hughes made in the 1980s and early 1990s.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, ” “National Lampoon’s: Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone” are a few examples of films that moviegoers, and critics, accepted with their hearts in the late 20th century.

“The Breakfast Club” did the same and Hughes gave Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Paul Gleason and Anthony Michael Hall all the time of their lives while making them household names in the United States.

If you watched the movie then, you remember the cheers, cries and funny moments.

However, if you have not seen the 1985 film, then let us stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and walk through the fictitious campus known as Shermer High School.

Five teenagers find themselves stuck in detention one early Saturday morning with Principal Richard Vernon (Gleason), who hates his job and is a master in disciplining teenagers.

Wearing a tacky grey three-piece suit, Principal Vernon is more like vermin and he begins that morning by setting the ground rules for the group’s confinement in a huge library that would make any Contra Costa College alumnus jealous.

Vernon demands a 1, 000-word essay at 7:06 a.m., expecting a collegiate-level essay by the end of the day from Claire (Ringwald), Allison (Sheedy), Brian (Michael Hall), Andrew (Estevez) and rebel John Bender (Nelson). This is to be done without using the resources around them, which comes to fruition later on in the film.

Mr. Bender, as Vernon refers to him, is the bad-ass around Shermer High and truly makes the movie watchable with his clever, potty mouthed comebacks to Principal Vernon and his careless, rebellious demeanor. John, with his black crusty untied boots, cut off gloves and Freddy Krueger-like flannel, is the first glimpse we get at what is really wrong with middle-America and what happens when children go wrong.


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