50 Years, 50 Movies (1985): The Breakfast Club

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life.  The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously.


Top Grossing Movies in 1985:

  1. Back to the Future
  2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
  3. Rocky IV
  4. The Color Purple
  5. Out of Africa

Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winners in 1985:

  • Out of Africa
  • The Color Purple
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Runaway Train
  • Witness

Other Movies I’ve Reviewed from 1985:

Title: The Breakfast Club
Release Date: February 7, 1985
Director: John Hughes
Production Company:A&M Films | Channel Productions

When you grow up, your heart dies.

The Breakfast Club is the platonic ideal of the 80s Teenage Comedy-Drama Movie. It’s probably the best work from writer/director John Hughes, although Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is still my favorite.  The premise of this film is that five students who never interact at their high school spend the day together in an all-day Saturday detention. Initially they see one another by the stereotypes they’ve been pigeon-holed into – “the Brain” (Brian played by Anthony Michael Hall), “the Athlete” (Andrew played by Emilio Estevez), “the Basket Case” (Allison played by Ally Sheedy), “the Princess” (Claire played by Molly Ringwald), and “the Criminal” (John played by Judd Nelson).  Over the course of the day their shared experience

As has been noted by many critics of this film, its greatness lies in how it captures the way that teenagers actually talk and behave more than your typical Hollywood fare.  It’s also unflinching in depicting the casual cruelty adults inflict upon teenagers, from the bullying of Vice Principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason) to the characters’ parents.  Judd Nelson dominates the early half of this movie and comes of as a real (and realistic) jerk.  But Nelson’s performance is great in how he shows the character is still a vulnerable kid especially when he’s being tormented by Vernon.  Ally Sheedy hardly even talks in the first half of the film but convincingly transform into the lead protagonist (or maybe antagonist) in the second half.

I relate most to Brian, of course, not only because I was the kid who got good grades but of the awkward attempts he makes at socializing. I totally remember the feeling of connecting with someone one day and then having the person I connected with act like nothing had happened the next time I see them. Kudos to him for calling it out.

I remember seeing this movie as a kid and having mixed feelings about it.  This was partly because I was 11 and it dealt with older kid problems, but also because it was mostly talking instead of silly fun like other teen movies of the time.  Of course, that is why The Breakfast Club holds up so well 40 years later compared to say, Sixteen Candles. There are two things I don’t like about the ending.  One, is that Allison’s makeover betrays both her character and the message of the movie.  Two, the formation of two romantic partnerships – Claire & John and Allison & Andrew – feels abrupt and unlikely.  Other than that, this may be a perfect movie.

Rating: ****1/2

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