Picoreview: The Breakfast Club

the essential kit

Picoreview: The Breakfast Club holds up stunningly well. Even most of the hair isn’t too egregious, and there’s actually surprisingly little music in it to be dated by. The most unexpected thing in terms of dating is that it didn’t seem to have been filmed in stereo, and hearing the sound pretty clearly coming from only one side of speakers was startling. Oh, and there are a couple of language things–the use of “fag” and “retard”, particularly–that threw me considerably. So that was a dating thing too, I suppose.

I’d never seen it on the big screen, being old enough but from the wrong town. :) The film itself has that more visibly dull thing going on that I noticed *especially* when watching Terminator and T2 back to back, as they have the same opening scene only done 8 years apart and with the differences in technology applied therein. The Breakfast Club obviously looked more like Terminator in terms of film quality.

All that aside, though, it really is a terrific film. Anthony Michael Hall is much, much cuter at 18 than I, at 15 or so, had the capacity to realize, and his character–well, “timeless” barely touches it. He actually looks, behaves, and speaks so much like my eldest nephew (five years from now) that it’s a little hard to believe John Hughes didn’t have a time machine and made use of it for a character study.

I don’t watch the movie that often, so it inevitably surprises me what a decent kid Emilio Estevez’s jock-stereotype Andrew is. His speech is perhaps the most effective one in the film, although everybody gets their moment and becomes wonderfully humanized, of course. I never got Molly Ringwald’s appeal, and of course wasn’t in her clique in high school either, so her thread has always had maybe the least resonance with me, but she’s actually very good in it, and her brutally honest assessment about their relative positions in high school heirarchy is painfully good and remarkably admirable. Ally Sheedy’s artist is, I think, the weakest link in the film, but then, she’s also literally got the least to say. I always kinda wanted more from her, and I still kind of do.

And then there’s Judd Nelson, who just owns that movie. As an adult watching it, there are moments where I kind of even want more from him, moments where I really see that he’s in his mid-20s in that role rather than the 18 or so he’s supposed to be. There’s a degree of reservation or too much sense of self in a few moments, particularly earlier in the film, where I get much more sense of sullen 25-year-old than sullen teen, and the difference is pretty important. OTOH, I don’t recall so much noticing it when *I* was sixteen, so for the target audience perhaps the performance is spot-on. And he does, indeed, own that role. Broken bad boy with a heart of gold.

I’m not actually certain (as an adult) that I completely believe Molly’s decision to hook up with him: pretty sure the last scene before they hook up is her shrieking “I hate you!” at him, with entirely legitimate reason. I want another scene in there, I guess, that gives him a bit more redemption in her eyes, because to the adult me it just reads a little too much of a tacit approval of pursuing manifestly abusive relationships. But then, WE ALL KNOW that they’re all broken, and that it’s *obviously* a bad idea for them to hook up, and it’s all going to end in tears, but god damn he’s hot. Because god damn, he was hot. :)

And now part of me wants to go Google “Monday after the Breakfast Club fan fiction” but most of me is smarter than that. :)