80s US Bracket: The Breakfast Club (1985)

The second film in my second and final ever match-up in the third round of the 80s US Bracket features a thirty five year old looking dude as a high school student!

Written By: John Hughes
Directed By: John Hughes

When I first watched The Breakfast Club I came away from the film convinced I had just watched a great piece of cinema. I’m not the worlds biggest John Hughes fan, Weird Science remains a prime example of the extreme lows his films can reach, but I felt that The Breakfast Club belonged right up there with Sixteen Candles as far as his teen comedies went. When I told my wife I was going to watch The Breakfast Club for my last ever entry in a brackets related project she wanted to watch it with me. My wife had also seen The Breakfast Club previously and she had come way from her viewing with a rather high opinion of the film. I’ll quote my wife upon finishing The Breakfast Club for first time in a long while, “I sort of wish I had never bothered watching it a second time.”

I don’t consider The Breakfast Club a bad film, at least not yet. That’s the problem I have with The Breakfast Club. Like my wife, I left my second viewing of the film thinking much less of Mr. Hughes’ work. The minute flaws I noticed the first time around were glaring on this viewing. And new flaws popped up, some rather big ones that hampered my enjoyment of the film. I kept thinking that The Breakfast Club would turn out great, I had found the film to be such the first time around after all. Soon I found myself hoping that The Breakfast Club would still turn out great. Finally I came to the realization that The Breakfast Club wasn’t going to remain great in my mind.

The Breakfast Club began to lessen in my mind the moment Judd Nelson arrived on screen. He’s a very capable actor, but in this film he is not in any fashion a plausible high school student. The rest of the cast I was able to buy as being of a legit high school age, but Mr. Nelson looks like he’s not a day younger than thirty five. His age shows every time the camera focuses on him, and while I realize he was actually twenty five when The Breakfast Club was shooting his face looked much older than that. My wife and I found ourselves laughing at Mr. Nelson a few different times just because of how old he looked, and that became a rather large detriment to the film.

I also had some problems with the way the characters exposed information about themselves. I didn’t mind the big group get together scenes, even if I did find them a tad awkward in a not so good way in a few moments. No, my issue was with smaller moments where one character confides in another. Take for instance when Emilio Estevez as Andy decides to first confide in Ally Sheedy as Allison. At that point Andy has formed no connection with Allison and yet he starts telling her some of his innermost feelings. That moment rang entirely false to me, Andy was not a character who would do such a thing, the only reason he did so was to help advance the story a bit faster. There were a bunch of other one on one moments like that, and more often than not I ended up not believing those interactions.

That’s not to say that I didn’t still like The Breakfast Club this time around. The flaws of the film certainly stood out more, but I did still find Mr. Hughes’ work to be of the good variety. I still found myself laughing quite a bit and I once again liked the exploration of high school stereotypes through these stereotypical characters. For as many problems as I may have ended up having with the interactions of some of the characters I didn’t take any issue with their stereotyped presentation. That aspect of The Breakfast Club was just as strong this time around as it was the first time. Mr. Hughes is taking well worn stereotypes and fleshing them out in a way that is appealing and honest.

I do wish that The Breakfast Club had been, on the whole, more honest. It does ring false in too many areas and hit a few too many false notes. There are still good qualities to be found in The Breakfast Club. I did come away from this viewing thinking I had spent time with a worthwhile movie and had for the most part enjoyed myself. My fear is that the more I return to The Breakfast Club the less I will like it. For that reason I’m pretty sure I’ll be leaving The Breakfast Club on the shelf for a while.




2 responses to “80s US Bracket: The Breakfast Club (1985)

  1. I never really understood why this film was so revered. Sure, it was funny and it had some very compelling moments. Still, I’m not really sure what to say about the movie other than the fact that I think it’s overrated. Maybe because my high school years weren’t so fascinating as I was just an oddball kid that hung out with other oddballs that loved Goth and alt-rock music at the time along with a few indies that were out at the time.

  2. I think it hit a nerve at a very specific time and in a very specific place. The 80s generation reacted very kindly to the film and ended up revering it so much because John Hughes was able to speck to them in an ear where the majority of what they were being sold had a consumerist tinge to it. What Hughes gave them was much more real and much closer to the reality of their lives. That’s my two cents at least.

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