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breakfast-club-review

THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)

Five completely different teenagers from different social groups find themselves serving Saturday detention together, which results in life-changing realizations about themselves that change their lives.

The cast includes: Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Alley Sheedy, and Ron Dean.

Written and directed by John (Home Alone) Hughes.

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Promotional Lines: "They only met once, but it changed their lives forever."

Quote: "The 1980's Brat Pack at it's Best."

One Saturday morning, at Shermer High School, Ill., five students find themselves going to the library for a whole day of detention, because of various school rules that they had broken. Under the menacing eye of the officious, jaded Vice-Principle Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason), a gifted, nerdy Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), jock wrestler Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), Prom Queen Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), defiant rebel John Bender (Judd Nelson) and emotionally disturbed Allison Reynolds (Alley Sheedy) start a day where they aren't supposed to do anything but just sit in the library. When John Bender takes the bolts out of the library door, so it has to close, these teens start a journey together with not only friction and shenanigans, but a powerful, ongoing dialog, discussing teen issues, such as popularity, fear of failure, dorkiness, the pressures of parental expectations or lack thereof, the pressures of peer standards and communication problems among family relationships. By the end of the day, each has a new understanding of the old saying, "never judge a book by it's cover." Their group consensus is that a person is more than his/her stereotype, and find that they all have qualities/problems in common, which changes their way of thinking about people, and their outlook on life.

This emotionally powerful yet humorous psychological screenplay is a masterpiece by John Hughes, who also directed it. Hughes has effectively tapped into the suburban, middle-class / upper middle class life problems of teenagers and people of other ages in not only this film, but in such films as "Mr. Mom," "Sixteen Candles," "Home Alone" series, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Betsy's Wedding," and "Christmas Vacation." John Hugesâ screenplay and direction masterfully intermingles comedy with intense emotional revelations / moments, keeping the audience from getting emotionally exhausted.

The talented cast of young actors/actresses, who ranged in age from 16 - 23, were at their very best, in this ensemble format, whether in a dramatic sequence or a humorous one.

Judd Nelson was riveting as bad boy John Bender, a teen who has a lot of anger and rebellion in his soul, and finds creative ways to vent it, which is why he was usually in trouble with school authorities. After making disrespectful remarks to Vernon, Vernon puts Bender in the storage closet. John escapes by crawling through the space above the ceiling to the library, where he again joins the others.

Judd Nelson has made a nice career playing obnoxious, troubled "wise acres." His "intense stares and dark smoldering looks" are great non-verbal cues that go along with his convincing acting.

Emilio Estevez does a very good job portraying a chagrined wrestling star who got caught playing a mean trick on a "geek" in the locker room, in order to try to measure up to his own Dad's high school hijinks. Estevez does convincing drama, as well as he does comedy.

A young Molly Ringwald is very believable in her portrayal of wealthy Prom Queen & Mall Princess, Claire Standish, a member of the top social group in school, who was caught ditching school to go shopping.

A young Anthony Michael Hall gave an interesting portrayal of a straight A honors "nerd," Brian Johnson, who earned detention because he got rid of his useless ceramic elephant lamp project inadvertently in a way frowned on by school authorities. This shop assignment earned him his first "F" ever, much to his utter mortification.

The talented Alley Sheedy effectively and creatively portrayed Allison Reynolds, a lonely teen so desperate for attention that she would do anything, say anything to get attention from anybody.

There are many favorite scenes. The heart of the movie happens after they retrieve Binder's stash of pot, have a joint with Binder, which loosens them up to talk about problems they have with each other, with their parents, the stereotypes they all live with, peer pressure, etc. As they realize that they share various troubles on different levels, the hostility begins to melt into a new understanding of each other, which pushes them all into new ways of thinking. These teens, except for the damage they did to the library, used their Saturday to their advantage.

Paul Gleason and John Kapelas give great supporting performances as the adults in the story. Character actor, Paul Gleason offers a fine supporting performance as disillusioned, pompous Vice- Principal Richard Vernon, a real dumb bunny of an authority figure who doesn't do a very good job instilling respect among teens for the older generation. Concerning John Bender, Vernon only makes John's problems worse. After initial contact with the teens, and putting John Binder in a storage closet, he leaves the teens alone for the rest of the day, as he mopes around the school, complaining about his job and his life, drinking with Carl, the custodian.

John Kapelas is convincing as a wise, observant janitor, Carl, who sees kids as they have always been throughout the years he had worked at the school, and is quick to point out the truth to Vernon.

breakfast-club

If you enjoyed THE BREAKFAST CLUB, you may like
ORDINARY PEOPLE, PRETTY IN PINK, SIXTEEN CANDLES,
ST. ELMO'S FIRE, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, and/or FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF.