I wish they would do a re-release of it in the theatres – I bet people would pack it IN!! I would so go.
I remember vividly the first time I saw that film. It was at the Showcase Cinemas, in Warwick, Rhode Island. I went with a group of my friends – wait – Betsy – was it you, me, and J that first time? I remember how the movie kind of just pierced through me. It reached out of the screen, and talked right to our lives. As high school students, as teenagers. It was funny, angry, surprising … the characters were also full of surprises, although they all began as “types”. We just were blown away by it.
I fluctuated my alliances. There were times when I related most to Allison. But then there were other times when I really related to Bender. I FELT most like Allison in my life … and so the fact that Andy, the popular jock, would see the beauty in her … was painfully hopeful to me. I’m serious. The two scenes where they kind of connect one on one just killed me. I wondered if I could ever connect with a boy like that. If a boy would ever come up to me and try to cut through my defenses – the way he did.
“You’ve got problems.”
“Oh, I’ve got problems?”
“You do everything everybody ever tells you to do. THAT is a problem.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t empty out my bag and invite people into my problems. Did I …”
Just wonderful. She looks like a wild animal in that scene, her hair in her eyes, her eyes black-rimmed like a fierce cat in the jungle. He needs to tame her, he needs to approach her carefully …
And then the second scene when she emerges “made over” by Claire. Beautiful. Something about the music beneath that scene, too – it’s very subtle, but it works so well. You can FEEL his emotions as he sees her transformations.
There was something about that particular connection that really got to me, as a teenager.
But really, like I said – that’s the genius of the film. Throughout it, you can flip back and forth between points and views. You think you know someone, you think you have them pegged, and then they reveal a bit of humanity, or something you can relate to … and your whole attitude changes.
(Like Tracy says in Philadelphia Story: “The time to make up your mind about people is never.”)
High school is all about appearances. The Breakfast Club, a sensitive well-made story, accepts that. But by the end of the film – they have cracked through to one another. They don’t go over the top with it, there are no sloppy hugs, no “I’m sorry I treated you the way I did…” It’s a better movie than that. Everything is NOT resolved. We don’t know what will happen when they go back to school. Will they maintain their connetion? What?? We don’t know. It’s up for speculation. No promises are made at the end of the film (except, I guess, by Brian who says, when they’re sitting on the floor: “I just want to tell you all … that I wouldn’t do that … and I won’t…”)
Also: unless I’m mistaken there is no “reconciliation” really between Bender and Andy. All of the others come to some sort of understanding, individually – sometimes without even talking about it. (If you notice, Bender accepts Allison almost immediately, in the beginning of the movie. He never EVER gives her crap. Says to her, “I’ve seen you before …” and leaves it at that. He can probably sense her pain, on some supersonic level, and so he just lets her be. It’s subtle – but it really shows that Bender is actually, somehow, kind of a hero. He zeroes in on Claire because Claire is a liar, and full of shit. She’s also obviously cruel to others. Bender wants to crack that facade. Allison’s facade is different – it’s a survival mechanism. She needs it to get through her day. Huge difference. So Bender lets her be.) But back to Bender and Andy: they end up just keeping away from each other, maybe just accepting the fact that: “Okay, y’know what? We’re both alpha dogs. Can’t be two alphas in one room … so let’s just back off, mutually.” Because of course in the beginning of the film, they clash immediately, doing that macho posturing shit at each other. But somewhere along the line, silently, they let it go.
It’s a classic movie. Mitchell and I were talking this weekend about “classics” and what movies from our time, our generation, will be considered classics 100 years from now.
I said Groundhog Day and he said The Breakfast Club.
One of the other interesting things about The Breakfast Club (which sadly, is always cut out by the prudish networks when they run the film in a constant loop – is it on AMC?) – anyway. They cut out all of the pot-smoking references. They can’t cut it out completely – because then there would be no reason for them to sneak off into the school to get to Bender’s locker. So they keep that in (but you can feel how grudgingly they do so) … but all shots of them smoking the pot are excised.
But here’s the deal: and I don’t think you could get away with this now, in our even more uptight era: Smoking pot is THE thing that breaks down the barriers. John Hughes doesn’t couch it in a warning to the kids in the audience, he doesn’t try to say “drugs are bad” at the same time … No. It’s unabashedly positive. They all get stoned, and then the next shot is them sitting on the floor … talking … when all kinds of emotional, dramatic, and funny (“I can eat with my toes”) things happen. There’s a direct correlation there. But it’s a direct correlation that people don’t want to deal with. There is no cautionary moment when the film-maker scolds the audience: “Pot smoking is bad!” No. Pot smoking is actually seen as GOOD. Which (duh) is why teenagers do it. And it isn’t always a slippery slope, leading to cocaine and heroin and harder drugs, for God’s sake. You couldn’t get away with such a simple acceptance of that reality now. At least not in a mainstream movie made for teenagers. If you do drugs you are bad. Drugs are bad. Subliminal message pounding. I mean, people can’t even smoke cigarettes anymore without being “the villain”. What would Humphrey Bogart do if he were a movie star today?
The Breakfast Club is a highly sophisticated film, if you compare it to what is being made for that age bracket now. It respects its audience. That’s why we loved it so, that’s why I still love it.
I probably saw it 5 times in the movie theatre when it first came out, and continue to watch it on a regular basis. I never EVER get tired of it. Weird, right? How often does THAT happen?
To imitate Alex, here is a list of Breakfast Club trivia, for your enjoyment:
–The original running time of “The Breakfast Club” was about two and a half hours. Thinking the film would not be a hit, Universal Pictures trimmed the running time down to the modern 97 minute version. The studio then destroyed the negatives of the deleted scenes. John Hughes said in a “Premiere” magazine article that he has the only complete copy.
–Emilio Estevez was originally going to play Bender, but Hughes couldn’t find someone to play Andrew Clark so Emilio agreed to play Clark.
–Molly Ringwald really wanted to play Allison but Ally Sheedy had already been promised the part.
–The library in which this movie takes place was actually constructed in the gymnasium of a high school that had closed down several years before filming began. As of 2000, the school is a police station.
–Director John Hughes insisted that the entire cast and crew eat their meals on location in the Maine North High School cafeteria.
–The joke that Bender tells but never finishes (while crawling through the ceiling) actually has no punchline. According to Judd Nelson, he ad-libbed the line. Originally, he was supposed to tell a joke that would end when he came back into the library and said, “Forgot my pencil”, but no one could come up with a joke for that punchline.
–The guidance counselor’s desk has a name plaque which says “R. Hashimoto”. Richard Hashimoto was the production supervisor.
–A prom queen election poster contains the name of Michelle Manning, who co-produced the film.
–Director John Hughes actually attended Glenbrook North High School, one of the schools where the movie was filmed.
–It was originally suggested that there would be several sequels to the Breakfast Club, occurring every ten years, in which the Breakfast Club would get back together.
–Director Cameo: [John Hughes] Brian’s father, who picks him up at the end of the film.
–In the beginning of the movie you see different shots of the school hallways and classrooms, you can see what the flare gun did to Brian’s locker. Also there is a picture of a former Shermer High School student “Man of the Year”. The guy in the picture is the janitor.
–The theme song, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, was written for the film by Keith Forsey. It was a number one hit for Simple Minds, and both Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry turned down offers to record it first (although in 2001, Billy Idol recorded Don’t You (Forget About Me) as a bonus track for his Greatest Hits album). The song was also turned down by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders who then suggested they offer it to the band fronted by her husband at the time, Simple Minds.
–The film’s title comes from the nickname invented by students and staff for detention at the school attended by the son of one of John Hughes’ friends. Thus, those who were sent to detention were designated members of “The Breakfast Club”.
–“Claire’s” entire ensemble was purchased specially for the character from a Ralph Lauren store, the only one in Chicago at the time. Hughes had rejected the original costume on the grounds that it wasn’t sophisticated enough.
–Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of John Bender but the production couldn’t afford his salary at the time. John Cusack auditioned, but producers opted instead for Judd Nelson.
–Director John Hughes said that the cast rehearsed the entire movie as if it was a play a few times before filming began. After the film was a hit, Hughes was asked to write the script as a play so high schoolers could perform it.
–John Cusack was originally cast as John Bender, but John Hughes decided to replace him with Judd Nelson before shooting began.
–John Hughes wrote the screenplay to this movie in just two days (4 and 5 July 1982).
–Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor; he left due to creative differences and was replaced by John Kapelos.
–One subplot that was filmed but deleted showed Principal Vernon watching some women faculty members using the school swimming pool.
–More deleted scenes:
Allison imagines what the other students are really like.
Carl the janitor predicts where the Breakfast Club will be in 20 years.
When Allison says, “I can write with my toes,” she actually does so.
–The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
–Other proposed titles were “The Lunch Bunch” and “Library Revolution”.
Brian’s voiceover at the end: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
Andrew: …and an athlete…
Allison: …and a basket case…
Claire: …a princess…
Bender: …and a criminal…
Brian: Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
Happy birthday, Breakfast Club.