The Outsiders (1983) Review

Welcome to Day 2 of Coppola Week, in which I’ll be reviewing four movies I saw recently directed by Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola. Yesterday I reviewed Sofia’s The Bling Ring (it wasn’t my favorite). So now I’m reviewing one from her father (it’s easily my favorite of the four I’ll be discussing). Let’s talk about The Outsiders! πŸ™‚

The Outsiders (1983)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

My Opinion:

I still can’t quite believe that I had never read The Outsiders or watched the movie until recently, especially as the movie contains so many well known actors from my generation. I should have had a crush on every single one of them! None of them were really favorites of mine, though. The only one I’d have possibly had a crush on was the one who kind of went on to do the least after The Outsiders – C. Thomas Howell, which is weird as he’s the main star of this one. He was pretty cute! And pretty hot now. I like how he keeps popping up in small roles in things like The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, he did star in Soul Man… Bet he’s not thrilled about that one now!

Sorry to go on about “cute boys” but I was just pointing out that I’m not sure why I never saw this. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it (it was my second favorite book read in 2014). It’s less surprising that I never read it since I was never really encouraged to read much when I was younger (I’m glad I decided to become a reader anyway). I have to say that I was perfectly happy with the film and think it was a good & faithful adaptation. I was worried when I looked this up on IMDB as it has a really low “metascore” (which is a collection of reviews from critics) of 38 out of 100 while it has a respectable user rating of 7.2 out of 10. Are you kidding me on that metascore?? I didn’t actually read the critic reviews to see what their problem was with this movie. I don’t care. This is why I don’t read reviews from actual critics – I trust the opinions of us regular movie-loving bloggers more. I’m usually somewhere in between the metascore & user rating (user ratings are always WAY too high on current mainstream movies) but I agree with the user rating this time. It’s a good film, not a great film. But those who love the book and those who love the amazing assortment of hot young 80’s actors that Coppola got together for this will be big fans of the movie. I’m sure it’s a favorite film of some people my age & I’d possibly have the same nostalgia for it if I’d seen it around the same sort of time that I became obsessed with Stand By Me.

As for the acting, I can’t fault anyone. They all felt like genuine teenagers/early twentysomethings and fit the characters from the book very well. Although, knowing of the movie and who played who, I may have been picturing the actors as I read it. That’s why I hate reading a book after seeing its movie… I especially liked Ralph Macchio & C. Thomas Howell, who were the two most important characters to get right from the book. Patrick Swayze & Rob Lowe were also great as Howell’s protective older brothers. Yes! Even Rob Lowe was good!

I also loved seeing Diane Lane, with the most gorgeous shade of red hair, as I’ve become more of a fan of hers in recent years (this movie is pretty high on my list of My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies). It’s quite a small role as boys are very much the stars of this story but, hey, that’s how it was written. By a girl. Speaking of its author, S.E. Hinton, I still love that the book was written when she was only 16. I think that’s so impressive. Imagine a teenager today managing to do that! Or anything, really. Apparently, Hinton played a nurse in this. Cool! I didn’t even know that until looking at the credits for this review. Also, Sofia Coppola played a “Little Girl” and Heather Langenkamp(!) is listed but not given a character name so I have no idea where she was in the movie (okay – I did some Googling & her scenes from the drive-in movie part were deleted).

Hey – look at Patrick Swayze being all tough & sexy like he was in Road House! He’s gonna rip that guy’s throat out. Yes, I’m still obsessed with Road House after seeing it for the first time over Christmas. Road House!! I wish Sam Elliott had been in The Outsiders… That would’ve been awesome. 

Of course, Sam Elliott was too old to be in this as there are hardly any adults to be seen throughout the whole movie. That’s what’s so great about it – it was written by a teenager about teenagers, which is probably what helps make the characters feel so genuine and why so many young people have fallen in love with the book over the years. I totally understand the story’s appeal, even though I experienced it too late to appreciate it as much as I would have as a teenager. It’s one of the first true “young adult” books (back before the young adult genre was this huge thing with the somewhat bad reputation it has these days) so maybe that’s what some critics don’t like about it? I don’t know but it’s a classic story with some very rich characters and I’ll most definitely be passing the book onto my daughter to read as an early teen. Perhaps she’ll fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t fully able to at my age. And then we can watch the movie together! It’s one I’d definitely watch again sometime. πŸ™‚

My Rating: 7.5/10

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CPD Classics: The Breakfast Club (1985) Review

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Emilio Estevez
Anthony Michael Hall
Judd Nelson
Molly Ringwald
Ally Sheedy
Paul Gleason
John Kapelos
John Hughes (uncredited – as Mr Johnson)

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Breakfast Club storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes, while facing a villainous principal.

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My Opinion:

I figured I should end this blogathon with my review of my very favorite John Hughes movie: The Breakfast Club. So don’t worry everyone – THIS IS THE FINAL REVIEW OF THE JOHN HUGHES BLOGATHON. (Unless I quickly watch the DVD I just received in the mail). πŸ˜‰

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As always, I struggle the most when writing about the films that I really love. What is it about The Breakfast Club? Why do so many people of my generation hold this movie so dear? (And some from a whole new generation. Or two. Or three. HOW many generations have there been since I was a teenager?? Man I’m old…). All I know is that we have John Hughes to thank for it. The actors chosen all did a great job and everything but it’s the writing of John Hughes that really spoke to teenagers everywhere. And he’s never been bettered. Why can’t they make teen movies like these anymore?

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For me, I could really relate to The Breakfast Club because it felt EXACTLY like my high school. My high school was also very small, in the Midwest (not far from where the fictional Shermer, Illinois would be), and it was full of cliques. And the thought of a group of teens from these different worlds coming together and finding that they had a lot more in common than they realized was such a lovely thought. Okay – I’m not completely sure how realistic THAT was but it was still great watching the relationships develop between the characters in this movie.

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Most of all, it was seeing that each of these teens had their own problems & fears (even the popular princess & the athlete!). And having five such different characters meant that every teen watching would be able to relate to at least one of them. Me? I was a combination of the basket case, the brain, and a tiny bit of the princess. My boyfriend was the criminal (Totally. He even looked a bit like John Bender). So the one I could relate to the least was the athlete (But this was probably the largest social group in my school. Stupid sports! I sucked at sports. I had no chance of being popular!). Well, I was a cheerleader. Shh – don’t tell anyone that. How freaking embarrassing… Rah rah rah and all that bullshit. Blech!

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Summary:

The Breakfast Club “spoke” to me as a teenager the way it did to countless teens then and even to some of them today. It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t so different after all. We all have the same thoughts and fears and we all just want to belong, whether we admit to it or not. John Hughes knew exactly what was in a teenager’s heart and mind and was able to beautifully capture this in the teen movies that he wrote. This is the most apparent in The Breakfast Club, which is why it’s my favorite John Hughes film and a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9.5/10

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The Breakfast Club (1985) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Chris of A Clockwalker Orange. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Chris! Let’s read his review of The Breakfast Club. πŸ™‚

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Director: John Hughes
Screenplay: John Hughes
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleanson, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

John Hughes had strived and succeeded in creating films which explore the teenage psyche. Their hopes, their dreams, their problems and concerns. The Breakfast Club gives us a delightful, entertaining insight into teenage life and in this respect The Breakfast Club is John Hughes crowning achievement.

Five teenagers Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Alison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy) are unfortunate enough to have detention on a Saturday. As the day progresses these five strangers begin to become close and confide in one another.

Right off the bat John Hughes sets the theme for the entire film with a quote from David Bowie’s excellent song Changes: “…and these Children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations.They’re quite aware what they’re going through…”. Hughes introduces his characters not necessarily with their name but rather with their social title: Princess, jock, the criminal, the brain and the basket case. Here Hughes signals his intent to demolish these cliches and unearth the people behind these cliches. It is the primary source of entertainment in this film watching these characters cross the social divide and interact with each other with no regard of their standing on the social spectrum. Despite this somewhat serious tone The Breakfast Club is an funny film with their supervising teacher saying cheesy lines like “Don’t mess with the bull young man or you’ll get the horns”. Hughes also at the end addresses the fact that the new relationship between the five may not survive out with this session of detention. There is a feeling amongst the five that they will slip back into how everyone else expects them to behave.

The performances in The Breakfast Club are more than competent with Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson in particular putting in superb performances. The scene in which Estevez confesses the huge amount of pressure his father exerts on him to be “No.1” is my favourite scene of the film. Judd Nelson also impresses, one moment he is imitating one of his school mates and the next he is imitating his abusive father and how get received a cigar burn on his arm for simply spilling paint in the garage. Nelson’s transition here is brilliant and seamless. Credit must go to Hughes for writing a fantastic script with captivating monologues in just two days. Hughes seems to have a skill for writing top-quality scripts in a short amount if time as it took him only six days to write Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.

The Breakfast Club is an outstanding film which through an effective mix of comedy and emotion shows the complexities of teenage life.

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The Breakfast Club (1985) Guest Review

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And he’s back for more! Today for the John Hughes Blogathon, we have another review from my buddy Eric of The IPC. Seriously – thanks for everything, Eric! Let’s see if he liked The Breakfast Club as much as Weird Science. πŸ™‚

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THE BREAKFAST CLUB 1985

On my site, I usually try and steer clear of the more mainstream movies – especially the big popular ones that everyone’s seen and / or already written about. Mainly because what can I say that already hasn’t been said and also because you good people already wrote about it and did it better than I could. When Mrs. Disco popped up going on about a John Hughes blogathon I was all “ehhhhhhhhhh you know I like you but…..” and then she convinced me to watch Weird Science (again) and The Breakfast Club (and something else) that I hadn’t seen. “You’re OLD and you haven’t seen The Breakfast Club????” You ask – and the answer is NOPE. In 1985 I was into Star Trek and Star Wars and the Halloween movies and that sort of shit. Not some pop cultury bullshit about a bunch of teenagers I would never like with a soundtrack of a bunch of music I hated. And then it got all popular and it was a big hit and that drove me even farther away from it so I’d never seen it until today.

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So… did I like the big 80s pop cultury John Hughes hit?? Honestly?? Not really. I mean – this Judd Nelson character is the epitome of someone I HATE. And this teacher character is a total dumbass. And Anthony Michael Hall – he’s that smart-dumb? And Ally Sheedy doesn’t talk? She only squeaks? Did he really just light his fucking SHOE on fire to smoke a cigarette in school?? Did he just really hide a boner under his snow hat?? Did he just say something “pumps his nads”?? Who the fuck are these kids??? What’s with all the fucking whistling???? Why did she waste a perfectly good slice of olive loaf???????? What kind of high school is this? My high school wasn’t like this…

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I like how there’s a big Scooby Doo chase scene through the halls of the school… Oh well – I can totally understand why people like this but this isn’t my kind of movie – never has been. I mean – it’s a good movie and all of that and better than a lot of shit that I watch but, it’s just not my thing and now I have that Simple Minds song going through my head. I’m not regretting it or anything but give me some nut stomping, head bashing horror movies any day! Thanks for letting me play along, Disco Mutant!!

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**I actually met up with Eric in his local Target store yesterday as he told me he had some bad news he needed to deliver to me in person. Anyway, here we are:

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Congratulations to the lovely Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade on being crowned the Shitfest 2014: Winter Champion! Great job Eric, Cara & everyone else who was involved in the now famous Shitfest. Can’t wait for the next one – it’s always shitloads of fun. πŸ™‚