The Breakfast Club fast became the quintessential teen movie since its 1985 release. John Hughes, quite frankly, was a genius. You will see me review many of his movies as this blog site goes on.
The most amazing part of it all is that the entire film consists of just 5 characters/actors and two supporting characters/actors, if you don’t count the parents of the 5 kids. Show me another film that can focus on just 5 characters being locked in an area together and still be so good.
Paul Gleason portrays Vice Principal Richard Vernon, the perfect long-suffering authority figure to butt heads with Bender. Even Carl the janitor’s two scenes mesh perfectly in the movie. The heart of the film, though, is of course the 5 barely-known actors that portray the main characters. This film solidified their places in the acting world, so much so that the Brat Pack had begun to take form.
It was amazing that Hughes could fit so much of their back stories into a 97-minute long movie, in and among all the back-and-forth between the five students in detention. It is sort of a Catch-22; the dialogue probably wouldn’t have been so good if it were not for these five actors, but they couldn’t have been this good if not for Hughes’s brilliant writing and directing.
It is fun to watch the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal go from not knowing one another and even hating each other to becoming friends and bonding, despite their differences. The movie holds up so well because this holds true whether it is your first or hundredth time watching.
The actors play off one another so well. We expect this from Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall; after all, they had previously been in another Hughes classic — “Sixteen Candles.” Who expected Judd Nelson’s excellent portrayal of the low-life “criminal,” though? He nailed the role right down to the ad-libbed joke which has no punch line as he crawls through the ceiling. Emilio Estevez’s performance wasn’t very surprising after seeing The Outsiders, and knowing who his dad is. As usual, he was the tough guy, too. I am just happy that the role went well for him, because if it hadn’t, we may have never seen Young Guns. Ally Sheedy as a basket case was the perfect fit too. While Ringwald and Hall were both great, it was clear that they would always be cast in that type of role, and fit in perfectly.
Emilio Estevez’s drugged-up dance scene ranks at or near the top of the list of “Awkward White Boy Movie Dances.” Luckily, it wasn’t bad enough to ruin the movie. Of course when the entire group dances later in the movie, it is one of the most memorable scenes ever, even with Hall’s part of the dancing also making the list mentioned above. Anthony Michael Hall obviously only knows how to portray being high in one way too, which you will see if you watch this and Weird Science (yet another Hughes classic).
Bottom line – John Hughes = Genius. The Breakfast Club is one of the top three movies ever made. If you are over 20 and haven’t seen it…what is wrong with you?? No seriously, if you haven’t seen it, regardless of your age, please go rent it, find somewhere online to watch it, or check your TV listings this weekend. It is on almost every weekend somewhere — which is just another testament to its greatness.