THE LATE LATE REVIEW: THE BREAKFAST CLUB

Tom’s back with another review of a cultural phenomena he should have experienced a long time ago. This time it’s all about John Hughes’ coming of age classic, The Breakfast Club.

Release Date: 1985 – I’m not doing myself any favours at this rate, am I?

Awards: This movie won the prestigious Silver Bucket of Excellence award at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Did I say “prestigious”? My mistake.

Rating: With 7.9/10 from IMDb this is another pretty popular movie, and grossing $51,525,171 worldwide on a $1million budget makes it a real box office success.

If you too have missed this one, it’s a pretty simple concept. Five kids from different school cliques are forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. By the way, the detention was on the 23rd of March 1984, making last Sunday the 35th anniversary. In true Late Late Review fashion, I didn’t manage to see it then, much less review it. Are you noticing a theme yet?

I think it’s fair to say that even if you were on your first day on Earth on an exchange programme from mars, you’d probably be aware of Judd Nelson’s fist pump at the end of the movie to Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me). It’s referenced in Pitch Perfect (a LOT), Easy A and Gilmore Girls for example.

I think I’m going to have to apologise in advance for some of my opinions on this movie. This is one you may need to see when you’re at that age where your identity is reduced to just one of your characteristics. As an adult in what is, surprisingly, a seemingly much more enlightened age; this movie has dated a fair bit and just didn’t connect with me in the intended way.

Our characters are the Criminal (Judd Nelson), the Princess (Molly Ringwald), the Athlete (Emilio Estevez), the Brain (Anthony Michael Hall) and the Basket Case (Ally Sheedy). Straight off the bat, I struggled to believe that Judd Nelson was of school age. Maybe it was the grey streak in his hair, or perhaps the persistent 5 o’clock shadow, or just maybe it was the fact that it’s hard for a 26 year old man to look like a teenager. Emilio Estevez also seemed like a curious choice for a character who was supposed to be a jock… he was too sheepish for me – but maybe that’s just based on my experience of the sporty kids at school.

The majority of the movie happens in the library. Despite starting detention suspicious and intolerant of each other, the characters learn about each other’s home lives, the societal pressures on them based on their identities, and the reason that they’re in detention in the first place. This results in friendship, acceptance, a makeover and an unlikely, and frankly unbelievable, pair of romances – one of which prompts that iconic fist pump.

The movie’s key message of tolerance in spite of each other’s difference is the most genuine part of the film and sadly is painfully lacking these days too. More movies could do with reminding us that, at the end of the day, we’re all human.

I hate to say it (and I’m sure this won’t be a popular opinion), but if you want a movie about misbehaving kids and a cantankerous teacher who really needs a new career, watch Ferris Beuller’s Day Off instead. You get the added bonus of a musical parade in that one.

If you hadn’t guessed, I wouldn’t rate this one all that highly. If it was on TV while I was channel hopping, I wouldn’t switch it off; but as I almost exclusively use streaming services, there’s not a huge risk of that happening.

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

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