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Cranky Gen-X’er Declares, “In my day, teen movies were good and had something to say” Installation Two: The Breakfast Club

Wow. The Breakfast Club. What can I say? This was one of the first movies that I could identify with as a teenager. Not that I was ever in detention, but if I was I could totally see being there with this group of kids. I would have probably been a cross between the two characters played by Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy: artistic and quiet, but yet able to apply my lip liner impressively while it was stuck inside of my bra. For specific details, please see the movie.

Anyway, this film from 1985 was a product of the highly celebrated director John Hughes. He was my teenage hero. He had an uncanny ability to magically tell stories about the real problems of adolescence in a way that made kids feel empowered, understood and vindicated.

“The Breakfast Club” is a story about a bunch of kids who would otherwise never know each other in the busy halls of their large high school. From all walks of life they are united in their fate…to spend a Saturday morning in detention under the watchful eye of a bumbling high school principal. Of course the kids immediately become the heroes as they do what they can to sneak around, rebel and break free from their weekend day jail.

The audience cheers as they find out what each of the characters have in common with each other, and how they are all alike. Starting as misunderstood enemies, we see their walls crumble as friendships form and personal hardships are revealed. To top it off, this movie was set to a soundtrack of incredible proportions. Thank you, Simple Minds.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie. I couldn’t even guess. All I can say is that twenty some-odd years later I’m getting chills right now as I recall the emotional impact this movie left on me. If you’ve never seen it, please do so immediately. It isn’t just a movie for kids, it’s a movie for uniting people who feel like they are square nails being pounded into round holes. And for people who like awesome eighties music.


About Fortyteen Candles

oh, let's see...distinguished Gen-X'er, frustrated writer, suffocating in the confines of a small town that thinks it's a big deal. A few years ago we were home to the second largest Walmart in our state, don-cha-know. Oh, and I was voted "Most New Wave" in my senior high school year book. Actually, that last sentence alone is really everything you need to know about me.

7 responses »

  1. How do you interrupt the ending? When I saw the movie as a teen, I had concluded that on Monday that they would not acknowledge one another in the hallways at school. I was closer to the age I wasn’t far removed from the behavior of cliques. However,recently, I watched the move. I’m nearly doubled my age since I first saw it. This time, I was left with the feeling that they would talk to each other in the halls on Mon. b/c they all had grown. Have I turned from a pessimist to an optimist? What do you think?

    • Good question, Tricia! I am an optimist, so I’d like to believe they would at least have an acceptance of each other on Monday morning. I don’t know if they’d throw their arms around each other or eat lunch together. That would be way too sappy and Hollywood. I do like to think that their experiences changed them on a deeper level so they would have a better understanding and acceptance of people different from themselves.

  2. I feel the scene where they talk about what happens on Monday to be one of the most honest scenes in film. Love it. Check out my review from a while back.

    • I completely agree! What a great movie. Watching it again as an adult is a whole new experience. I’ll check out your review. Glad to know others treasure these movies as much as I do!

  3. Ah, another favorite of mine! How about Fast Times at Ridgemont High? And, speaking of dark comedies, have you ever seen the early Reese Witherspoon film, Freeway? It’s a retake on Little Red Riding Hood… sort of.

    Or how about Brick, made by the director of the new Looper (which sounds very interesting)?

    • Of course. There were so many classic movies back then written for teens. Unlike today, unfortunately. These movies are timeless, and I know my kids will be watching them someday. Enjoying them as much as I did, I’m sure. I haven’t heard of Brick, though. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for your comments.


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