I wanna be a rebel, I wanna be a rebel, I wanna chew my master’s brand new shoe all day! Well, sorry to break the bubble, but real life ain’t like that folks. It’s mean and it’s harsh; trust me, take it from someone who has had enough kicks to last his lifetime. The faster we [dogs that is] learn to adapt to the society, and especially to our masters’ needs, the better it is for our mutual existence. I mean, c’mon, look at the movie The Breakfast Club for instance. It is a hogwash, butt-munching [pun intended!] story of kids trying to fit. They should take a hint or two from us canines.
Against the backdrop of a nebulous parent-child maladjustment lore, The Breakfast Club does not come up as a first-rate teen-oriented film, a genre Hollywood was obsessed with during the concluding decades of the preceding millennium.
The film achieves the fitment of the five characters into stated stereotypes fairly smoothly enough, but the circumstances that freeze the characters into their respective moulds need a little more sensitivity in delineation.
Supposedly ‘criminal’ John Bender [Judd Nelson], ‘the brain’ Brian Johnson [Anthony Michael Hall], ‘the athelete’ Andrew Clark [Emilio Estevez], ‘the Basket Case‘ Allison Reynolds [Ally Sheedy] and ‘the Princess’ Claire Standish [Molly Ringwald] find themselves bundled off together as a result of Detention.
They are shown ‘together’ in Shermer High School Library in the Chicago suburb of Shermer, lllinois, but apparently not keen to recognize each other, though not altogether strangers. Richard Vernon [Paul Gleason], Assistant Principal, typifying the starchy, standoffish man, better suited for Sing-Sing than for supervising, educating, and moulding girls and boys of formative age, gives them the task of penning a 1000 word essay on what each teen thinks he or she is.
The five characters have strict instructions not to talk to each other, to remain glued to their seats and not to sleep. Jack-in-the-box like Vernon keeps popping in and popping out seemingly at vigil.
The tenseness of it all is killing to say the least and one by one the characters begin to bend the rules laid down by Vernon, smoke marijuana which Bender manages to prize from his locker.
A sort of ‘bonding’ begins and they hesitatingly give a vent to their innermost thoughts – like the suicide attempt, the abusive household, the habit of glossing over truth, preserving virginity.
Each teen resents that he or she is the by-product of a strained relationship. They also realize that the semblance of bonding begun is a one off situation and the moment they leave the confines of the library and disperse they will step back in their stereotypes, or their specific moulds. The task of essay writing is tossed aside, instead Brian pens a letter, duly signed as ‘The Breakfast Club’ and leaves it on Vernon’s desk as the departure time draws. The letter tells that since Vernon has already pre-judged them, it won’t matter what they write.
Almost most of the acting by the five is good, somewhere appearing overdone, but the film fails in proper handling of the sensitivity of teens, handling the issues that obsessed them, or helping the audience empathize with such a common place occurrence as teenage rebellion, thereby failing to rise above the banal.
Rating: 2 paws
by Joseph R
- The Breakfast Club Film Review (theeradicatorreviews.com)
- 18 Reasons You Had A Crush On John Bender From The Breakfast Club (buzzfeed.com)
- Interview: Judd Nelson Talks Bad Kids Go to Hell (shockya.com)
- No. 12 – The Breakfast Club (1985) (filmedfiction.wordpress.com)
- ‘The Breakfast Club’ for wayward celebs (macleans.ca)
- Where Are the Cast of The Breakfast Club Now? (celebs.answers.com)
- Jay-Z Interview With The Breakfast Club (Video) (dajaz1.com)