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). 😉

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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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She’s Having A Baby (1988) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rhetologue’s Movie Logs. Thank you for being a part of this blogathon! Let’s see what he thought of She’s Having A Baby. 🙂

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Love and marriage. It goes together like a horse and carriage but also has Kevin Bacon freaking out in John Hughes much maligned surrealist romantic comedy.

EHarmony. Match.com. OKCupid. What do they all have in common? Well, they’re all websites that have millions scrambling to find ‘the one’. Yet what is it about the actual settling down, past the overly extravagant dates, butterflies and passion filled coitus that has some men freaking out? This is what the late John Hughes explores in his 1988 dramatic comedy She’s Having a Baby. First of all, how hilarious is it that the title completely puts the ball in her court? Even before you get into the story you are completely aware of what starving artist Jake Briggs (Kevin Bacon) thinks about the baby growing inside wife Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern).

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She’s Having a Baby charts the early years of their relationship and is truly told from the perspective of Jake as he contends with settling down, building a home and becoming a father. As much as (some) men like women, Hughes presents the young men in his movie as seeing them as crazy people. Hughes paints Jake’s love interest as a wide eyed, irrational, succubus out to ensnare the innocent young Jake and drain him of his independence and virility. To this degree ‘She’ is nearly inconsequential, yet is Jake’s only real antagonist, as Hughes seems to believe that the target audience (i.e. other men) will understand the basis of his conceit completely. The seed of such a perspective of trepidation is planted by a young and mullet-rocking Alec Baldwin as mirror Davis, a dim witted Lothario still looking for love yet happy to defy its conventions. Baldwin has been playing this character for years and it never gets old, recently making good of the ageing lothario character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
The conflicting perspectives are handled with biting candour in Hughes’ monologues as bile flies from all involved, including Jake’s in-laws eager for him to stop playing artist, get a real job and pump out some grandkids. Kevin Bacon’s big innocent eyes and anxiously fatalistic monologues are the anchors to this passive tale as he wanders through his own life, a supposed victim of an inevitability. Yet Hughes marries Jake’s latent misogyny with his devotion, volatile self-esteem, emotional flexibility and belief in love. This was a very mature role for the Footloose star, yet is testimony to a great career of never being typecast. Few actors can say that they have had such a diverse career and that the range has been of such a high standard. Here Bacon delivers the quiet anxiety that is foundation to his concerns.

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As he looks out from behind Hughes’ iconic frames, character and inspiration collide and we are given insight into the writer’s thoughts and convictions with comedic exaggeration. Hughes does a great job of taking theatrical motifs such as moving sets and clashing alternate realities to visually represent Jake’s anguish. We are used to seeing such an approach in movies and sitcoms like Scrubs but here they are delivered with the rough and poor execution of burgeoning innovation. The same can be said for the story, which barrels together as a mess of great ideas, falling over one another without particular form or grace yet bursting with ingenuity. These motifs assist Hughes in conjuring a dream-like quality to She’s Having a Baby, with situations and conversations culminating in Jake’s worldview or providing him suspended time to make moralistic decisions. This surrealist tone has our hero almost unable to believe anything in his life is really happening. For a film to solely generate the mind-set of its protagonist in this way is quite an achievement and has this movie hold a particular novelty.

As Jake flirts with infidelity and finds solace only when the proverbial crapola nearly hits the fan, this is far from a romantic tale…and that’s awesome. In a world of overly saccharine Rom-coms, leading to predictable conclusions with people characterised as overly successful or simplistic failures, it’s nice to watch a story that surrounds people with some rough edges. Sure, those rough edges are of a successful lawyer and a guy walking ass backwards into a job in advertising but it’s as close to the everyman as you can get. This was always Hughes’ gift (or famed indulgence), to paint what can subjectively be called real people, with writers/directors like Judd Apatow firmly living within his legacy.

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Last Words
“We need the eggs”

It’s not a line from Hughes’ much ignored movie but my Last Words are from the end of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. “We need the eggs” has always seemed to encapsulate the attempt of such narratives that seek to make sense of the relationship between men and women. Hughes’ movie is a charming mess of ideas, concepts, opinions and realities that culminate without any real conclusions…well, except that it would be better if the woman Jake loves didn’t die. That commentary in of itself just made me laugh as I wrote it and that is the fun thing about this movie, it works under an awkward and unashamedly male bias.

Therefore, there are many reasons why She’s Having a Baby wouldn’t be in a John Hughes box set, joining the likes of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. Sure, it has Hughes’ cutesy hallmarks, with fun contrived montages and anxious monologues, but at its core is a hell of a lot more bite and fatalism. This presents a stoic world view, even beating out the likes of The Breakfast Club in its attempts to contend with coming of age as a baptismal story of underlying sobriety. It’s not as melodramatic as Hughes’ other stories, there’s no overt emotions or morals, as at its core is a darkly comic conceit.

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Though all those other John Hughes movies are miles better in construction and delivery, She’s Having a Baby is one of his often ignored tales that provides sparks of novel creativity, a rarely presented true-ish male perspective and the cahones to be honest about a man’s fear of what it feels like when a woman is having a baby.

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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. 🙂

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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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She’s Having A Baby (1988) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of MovieRob. This is his THIRD review after Home Alone and then Flubber, posted earlier today. Thanks again for all these reviews, Rob! Now let’s see if he liked She’s Having A Baby (more than Flubber, I hope!). 🙂

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“College is like high school with ashtrays.” – Jefferson “Jake” Edward Briggs

Number of Times Seen – at least 5 times (cable in the 80’s and 6 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – The story of young love, and the ups and downs in a relationship from marriage until that first child is born.

My Take on it – John Hughes is known to most as the king of teen movies from the 80’s, but he also was able to give us memorable movies that don’t quite fit into that niche.

This movie is one of his great movies that doesn’t fit the teen genre, but still can affect us emotionally.

The story revolves around the early years of a marriage of characters who could have fit into his teen genre, so in essence, we get a glimpse of how Hughes pictured the future lives of his loveable teen characters.

Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth McGovern are both excellent here as we see the ups and downs of the first few years of a marriage. The viewer can connect with these characters really well and we constantly root for them to succeed in everything they do; whether it be making a living, being happy with the extended family or how and when to start their own family.

These themes are all touched upon here and instead of the usual Hughes few days timeline, this movie takes place over the period of a few years which shows the slow and emotional development of the characters in their new lives as husband and wife and makes us also invest a lot in their lives.

Hughes had a knack for taking serious matters and dabbling a bit of humor into those situations making the scenes and situations more enjoyable for us to watch.

I think that when I saw this one as a kid, I wasn’t able to fully comprehend and appreciate all the nuances of married life, but as an adult, those themes stand out as being some of the best ones in this film.

This is enjoyable from a kids perspective, but more so from an adult one.

The credits scene here is hilarious and features many many cameos by former Hughes stars (some even in character).

Bottom Line -This is one of the rare Hughes movies that can be more appreciated as an adult than as a teen. Done exceptionally well by Hughes. Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

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. 🙂

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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. 🙂