Cult classics are tricky to review because any negativity towards them is seen as some slanderous assault on the generation that made them a legend and here’s The Breakfast Club, which is effectively a slanderous assault on the generation that birthed and then criticized the generation that made it a legend…which is why it was a legend. It’s difficult not to respect the ever-loving crap out of it and lord knows that was the case with me, but as fun as it is to say that I can respect a group of adolescent clichés (not an insult) who enjoy “stickin’ it to the man” with its Pink Floydian “hey teacher, leave those kids alone” rebellious tendencies, I cannot say this is the perfect movie, so let’s get that out of the way right now.
I originally put this in The BackLOG not because I hadn’t seen it before, but because I hadn’t seen it all in one sitting. Plenty of snippets here and there caught on USA Network trying to figure out why despite knowing they make great television, I can’t get into any show they have ever made ever, but never have I sat down and journeyed from opening credit to final fist-pump and I learned that by not doing so I was missing out on…well pretty much nothing. My enjoyment of The Breakfast Club was no different watching a single highlight than it was watching the entire highlight reel and I’m not sure if that’s a credit to the movie or something I should be concerned about. It reminds of those really crappy movies that you only watch and remember for the quotes and scenes that stick in your brain, despite how bad the rest of it was, except this movie didn’t suck at all so I almost feel disappointed in myself that I can’t walk away from such an icon feeling some sense of “holy shit, what an experience.”
For those who haven’t seen the movie, The Breakfast Club focuses around five high school kids who find themselves stuck together in the worst detention punishment I think imaginable, which is all-day Saturday detention that makes me sad teachers don’t get paid hourly ‘cause that is easy OT. Forced via an essay assignment to peer into their souls and analyze their identities, a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal find the kind of common ground that takes most people years to establish by the sheer fact that at that very moment, in the society whose rules they are expected to abide by and have chosen not to follow, they are outcasts together.
Watching the bonds between these characters evolve from tolerance to acceptance to understanding to all-out respect in such a short amount of time is an example of character development and revelation at its finest and the audience goes on the same journey as if they are stuck in that damn library too (I would probably classify myself as an egomaniac, where I a part of that essay). Really that’s where its main strength is. The movie’s funny to an extent, dramatic, shocking, pretty much all the emotions one would expect out of a high school drama outside of two of them sneaking off to a closet to have sex…but I guess for an 80’s movie, perhaps an argument can be made.
As part of a ridiculous spurt of high school movies to introduce that demographic to dramadies, The Breakfast Club was one of many movies (usually involving Molly Ringwald) that defined the clichés that would later torment modern teen turn-of-the-century comedies (and/or television series) that learned very quickly that they would never be that good so filled in all the rough spots with boobs and jokes about boobs realizing that Fast Times at Ridgemont High was just so much easier to mimic. It’s as if every Varsity Blues, She’s All That, Never Been Kissed made since 1985 has merely been a poor attempt (not that they’re poor movies just…in comparison of the gems of the high school movie era…) to make what could be considered a sequel to that which started it all.
I enjoyed this movie, but wasn’t captivated by it. I know why it’s many people’s favorites, and I know why it’s considered a cult classic. But, I watched it and stayed on auto-pilot for I had no reason to pay anymore close attention. This isn’t a knock on this movie…or maybe it is. It’s hard to tell as it’s a cult classic. But regardless, it’s a cult classic that’s getting 8 dustbusters out of 10 from me. Fist pump.