18 Jun 2013

THE BREAKFAST CLUB

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  08:00   MOVIES

The Breakfast Club Poster Believe it or not; the name for the aforementioned film was inspired by a radio show hosted by Don McNeill, which ran from 1933 to 1968. Yeah. Straight up! If you think I'm kidding why don't you ask the Director: John Hughes; or the Actors: Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and Molly Ringwald. But only ask them this question for about 97-minutes in 1985. OK?


The Breakfast Club (Flashback Edition)


THE STORY:
Being in one of Mister Vernon's (Paul Gleason) long-winded detentions is a right pain in the ass at the best of times. But to be in one of his detentions all day Saturday with a crook like Bender (Judd Nelson)! Boy-oh-boy! That is a right bitch!

Granted, the semi-mute goth-chick, Allison (Ally Sheedy), and the token nerd, Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), seem to be coping just fine with Benders brash antics at first. Although I can't really say the same thing for the 'prom queen', Claire (Molly Ringwald), or the 'school jock', Andy (Emilio Estevez), because his smutty advances and silly sayings get right up there prim and prissy noses post haste.

However, as time passes, these five teenagers start to get to know each other on a much deeper level. OK, admittedly, not straight away! Initially they all have a bit of a dose. Then they argue amongst themselves like a bunch of bod's. And it isn't until Mister Vernon gives Bender a good talking too and then locks him away in a broom-closet; that things eventually settle down more amicably within this group.

No. Not because Bender is gone. Far from it! It's because he find's a way of sneaking back in, before cajoling his fellow detention-ettes into grabbing some marijuana from his banged-up locker.

Still, that's most probably why what next transpires all goes to pot when a couple of high-school teenagers get a bit high. As the truth comes out - kids twist and shout - reports are written - and at the end of the day, a bunch of bod's become rather smitten.




THE REVIEW:
Without being too didactic about it, 'The Breakfast Club' has become one of those iconic American movies for one reason, and one reason alone. No. Not because of Molly Ringwald's 'glimmering' hair. Even though that is rather dashing to look at if I do say so myself. What I'm referring to, dear reader, is its simplistic yet very engaging narrative formula.

The Cast Of The Breakfast Club
Take five very diverse characters. Stick them all into a room together. And then pit them against one another because one of these characters is a little bit of a sh*t stirrer.

Simple as that really. Simple: and very-very engrossing to watch. 

Yeah. I'm not messing about, folks. This flick was like watching 'live action' child therapy at school. Admittedly, I did giggle on a couple of occasions; because in one way or another I could engage with what certain characters said or did. Yet by in large this movie was just fantastic and charming to follow; spilling its way from pathos to archetypes to social commentary, all with the intent of defining and trying to understand the gap between the generations.

The Breakfast Club Then and Now
However, before I touch upon that particular subject matter, here, check out these filmic facts. (1) 'Universal Studios' released this one million dollar production on the 15th of February, 1985, and clawed back fifty one million dollars at the box office. (2) According to the director, John Hughes, he wrote the screenplay for this project in just two days -- from the 4th to the 5th of July, 1982. (3) The majority of this film was shot on location throughout the American state of Illinois. This includes Chicago, Des Plaines, Northbrook, Deerfield High School [the football field], Glenbrook North High School [the school interior, where John Hughes once attended], and Maine North High School [the school exterior / library]. (4) Nicolas Cage was too expensive. John Cusack wasn't right for the part. So John Hughes cast Judd Nelson into the role of John Bender instead. (5) Prior to coming up with its 'Radio Hall' slanted title, this film was going to be called 'The Lunch Bunch' or 'Library Revolution'. (6) Originally Emilio Estevez was going to play Bender. Either Molly Ringwald or Brooke Shields was going to play Allison. Jodie Foster was going to play Claire. Plus Rick Moranis was going to play the janitor. However, after a bit of jiggery boo, Molly wrangled her way into the role of Claire, Emilio was given the role of Andrew, and Rick, Jodie, and Brooke, were never cast. (7) Allegedly, there was going to be a number of sequels made about this movie in 'ten year' episodic intervals. But alas, since this statement was initially made by John, the working relationship between Mister Hughes and two of the actors -- Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald -- has ceased to be. (8) This film has been referenced in numerous episodes of 'South Park', 'Gilmore Girls', the American version of 'The Office', the film's of Kevin Smith, plus many-many more I care not to mention.


Hanging with the The Breakfast Club


Hey! Did you take note of point 7 of my trivia splurge, dear reader? About John's initial intention of making 'The Breakfast Club' into a centennial event! Well, that just goes to show that I must be right, huh? This story is a generational thing.

John Hughes With The Breakfast Club
Now one of my most favourite scenes in this movie, is the one where the five 'kids' sit down together in a circle on the floor, and tell each other who they think they really are. Not only was this segment very captivating on a visceral and emotional level. But if you juxtapose it to the scene where Vernon and the Janitor speak to each other about the 'future of mankind', deliberately, it defines the credos behind this adventure. 

'The kids hate the grown-ups because of the way they treat them. The grown-ups hate the kids because of the way they treat them. And never the twain shall one day meet'.

Do you see where I'm coming from with this, folks? It's a dichotomy, isn't it? Plus in many-many ways is a message that is as relevant now as it has ever been before.

Lets us just thank the movie-God's that John and the gang could pull this off in the way that they have. This movie isn't a movie. No way. It's a state of being performed and written by a super-cast and a super-director at the right moment in their respective careers. Here, check out this clip to see what I mean...




Overall, 'The Breakfast Club' is a really great film. It's charming. It's funny. It's well directed and performed. And all in all is one of those movies you'll connect with more and more as time passes.

Nuff said. 

THE RATING: A

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