Play It Again – The Breakfast Club

Play It Again – The Breakfast Club. Starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall. Directed by John Hughes. Rated M. By Jess Lomas.

Play It Again is a weekly feature in which our classic-film connoisseurs revisit a revered motion picture from the annals of movie history, to see if it holds up… or if it has aged terribly. And yes, it takes its name from a famously misquoted Casablanca line (hey, whatever; it fits!).

This month, we’re spending every Saturday in detention with the Brat Pack.

The Breakfast Club comes from the Godfather of 1980s coming-of age-films, John Hughes; a writer and director who had an unmatched ability to transplant the teenage experience to the screen.

Set one Saturday morning in 1984, five high school students arrive to serve weekend detention. There’s the athlete Andy (Emilio Estevez), the basket-case Allison (Ally Sheedy), the princess Claire (Molly Ringwald), the brain Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), and the criminal John Bender (Judd Nelson). At first they seem to have nothing in common, but one day spent together reveals their similarities, hopes, disappointments, and struggles, as well as their fear that they will each return to their own cliques once detention is over.

This is one of Hughes’ most popular and well known movies on which he served as both writer and director. As usual he provides a spectrum of high school life, allowing the audience to identify with the have and the have nots, the outcasts, the kids with expectations placed upon them by parents, and the kids whose parents are surprisingly absent. Above all, the message delivered by the end of The Breakfast Club  is that we should refuse to be pigeonholed by the titles given to us by others, in this case by the school principal played by Paul “You mess with the bull you get the horns” Gleason.

Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall return to working with Hughes after Sixteen Candles from the previous year, with Hall rehashing his signature role of the loveable nerd. With such a limited setting, mostly taking place in the school library, the focus is really on the performances, of which none disappoint. Interestingly, there were several cast members who were replaced before shooting, with Rick Moranis reported as the original janitor and John Cusack originally cast as John Bender.

Just as memorable as Hughes’ characters and their day of detention was the soundtrack of quintessential eighties hits culminating in Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me). The Breakfast Club serves as a time capsule to the era but its representations of teenage life and struggles still resonate.

Next week: The Brat Pack marathon continues, with Simon using Weird Science to build a brand new Kelly LeBrock.

The Breakfast Club is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and can be streamed via Quickflix’s WatchNow service.

One Response to “Play It Again – The Breakfast Club”

  1. Being a teenager in the 80s I can’t begin to describe how popular this movie was at the time.

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