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The Breakfast Club (1985)

September 1, 2009

9/10 Permanent Records

This review is a good three weeks overdue, but in memory of the late, great John Hughes, I’m taking a trip back to what is hands-down the best thing he ever did for mankind.

The Breakfast Club is about a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal that are all forced to spend a Saturday at school together for various reasons that undoubtedly included a call home to their parents. They’re told to write an essay by the dickhead dean about who they think they are, and over the course of the day they discover just that.

To say that this movie is nothing short of groundbreaking really doesn’t do it justice. Think about every movie about teens that came out after 1985. Any teen dramedy, take your pick. All those movies that come to mind, chances are those wouldn’t freaking exist without The Breakfast Club. Might sound like a pretty big statement, but seriously, this is the Godfather of teen dramas.

Suck on that, High School Musical. Quit singing and drop an F-bomb already.

This is one of those movies that blew me away when I first saw it, then kind of forgot about it, then revisited years later only to be floored once again. Because this movie has fallen into such a cliche’ of sorts thanks to shitheap “parodies” like Not Another Teen Movie, people tend to forget that all those cliche’s originated here, back when no one else had done it before. And nearly twenty-five years later, it still feels fresh. Pretty impressive shit right there.

It’s just that everything about this movie kicks ass. For one, the script is freakin’ phenomenal. It’s not often you find a movie where teens actually talk like teens about issues that all teens actually deal with, not to mention it’s quotable as hell and totally hilarious.

The characters are also great and so are the actors that play them. But Judd Nelson, who’s never done anything of substance before or after this movie came out, steals the fuckin’ show as John Bender, the badass rebel/scumbag bastard of the group. Every time I see this movie I try to convince myself that I’m the most like Bender, but then again, I think everyone who was like Anthony Michael Hall in high school wished they were like Judd Nelson.

Eh, screw that, I like Anthony Michael Hall. Get a job, Bender.

But the thing that’s truly great about The Breakfast Club is that it’s timeless. Everyone goes through high school, everyone falls into a clique, everyone remembers how much it sucks to be a teenager sometimes, and the cycle will inevitably continue on long after we’re all gone. Few people have managed to capture the voice of teen angst in the way that John Hughes has here and I’d be surprised if anyone else ever managed to best it. Guy was the J.D. Salinger of screenwriters.

So, Mr. Hughes, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we’re all sorry to see you go, but even if you never went ahead and made Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, not many can say that when all is said and done, they at least managed to capture the voice of an entire generation in a two-hour time span. You’ll be missed and you were the man.

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