February 15, 1985, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson became The Brat Pack, five high school students we would never forget from the 80’s cult classic THE BREAKFAST CLUB. It was the second film directed by the legendary John Hughes, his first was SIXTEEN CANDLES. TBC was supposed to be his directorial debut, but the studio pushed for SIXTEEN CANDLES to come first. The cast has said how Hughes was just as much a member of TBC as they were, which may be why Hughes had a cameo role as Brian’s father at the end of the film.
His 80’s movies have defined what it was like to be a teenager in America. In THE BREAKFAST CLUB five high schoolers each from a different clique spend a Saturday together in detention. It is one of the most beloved coming of age tales ever told. We watched as these five students from different walks of life realize that they are all more alike than they could have ever dreamed but THE BREAKFAST CLUB is much more than a classic, it is a timeless tale that will never get old and continue to resonate with all who see it. No matter who you are, you will relate to one of the films characters; the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, or maybe even the criminal. One thing is certain TBC has remained relevant and has had an unimaginable amount of longevity in a business that is constantly evolving and changing . Molly Ringwald recently did an interview with Time Magazine for the 30th anniversary for the film where she was asked why she believed the film still holds up to which she replied:
“There really hasn’t been anything to replace it. It’s kind of a classic because it all takes place in the one day, so there’s just one wardrobe. There were less chances for it to look incredibly dated. The theme is something that is still really relevant today, which is that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, everyone kind of feels the same, which is that they don’t belong. And that’s a sort of powerful theme.”
It is amazing that 30 years later the film will still resonate with high schoolers everywhere. I don’t know anyone who truly knew who they were or even who they wanted to be in high school. While some will say it was the best years of their lives, other will say it was the worst. But whether you loved or hated high school, whether it was an overwhelming feeling or just a thought that flickered by once in a while, whether or not you felt like you truly belonged was somewhere in your mind and no-one in the history of filmmaking was able to hone in on that feeling the way John Hughes did in so many of his films. THE BREAKFAST CLUB was the most realistic depiction of high school that we have ever seen on the big screen. Hughes ability to tap into the emotion of teenagers everywhere is what has made his films relevant some thirty years later.
While today’s teenagers will still be able to relate to the characters and the story will resonate with them, there is one huge difference. The innocence of today’s teenagers has changed drastically because of the internet and social media. While bullying was touched on in the film and bullying has always existed, the internet has changed the experience of being a teenager. From cyberbullying to posting pictures it is a much different world that it was then, we now live in a world where your imprint within social media will live with you and follow you everywhere you go. Imagine if THE BREAKFAST CLUB where made now, how different would that movie look? Would they have ever even spoken to one another or would they have their heads buried in their phones texting, tweeting and posting on facebook about how bored they are or the fact that they are stuck in detention with all these people they wouldn’t be caught dead talking to in school. The movie would certainly look and feel much different which is the exact reason why I think every teenager should be watching movies like this.
John Hughes gave us a film with a soundtrack that became the soundtrack of our lives. Haven’t we all wished at least once that our lives were directed by John Hughes, that we would have our own moment just like John Bender’s on that field and “Don’t You (forget about me)” will start playing in the background. His ability to capture the essence of teen angst has been attempted over the years but no-one has ever come close. He gave us characters to relate to and to fall in love with. There was John Bender, the criminal, played by Judd Nelson who was the oldest cast member at the time of filming; he was 26, who had the one of the most memorable moments in film history walking across that football field. Allison Reynolds, the basket case, played by Ally Sheedy who doesn’t speak for the first 33 minutes of the film and when she does she lies compulsively. Andrew Clark the athlete, played by Emilio Estevez, the perfect jock who has trouble at home. Claire Standish the princess, played by Molly Ringwald, who is feeling constant pressure from her so called friends for still being a virgin and Brian Johnson aka the brain, played by Anthony Michael Hall, who feels so much pressure to get good grades that he has attempted suicide because of a bad grade. Hughes was able to tackle some pretty heavy handed and serious topics by grounding his story with relatable characters. Someone will always feel left out, unloved, overlooked, misunderstood, and like they don’t fit in and no one has brought that truth to the big screen the way John Hughes has all while remaining entertaining and teaching us valuable life lessons. Hughes stories have continued to inspire over the years and left us with so many quotes to live by, one of my favorites coming from non other than THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
“You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people”- Richard Vernon, THE BREAKFAST CLUB
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of THE BREAKFAST CLUB the film is heading back to the big screen, the newly restored film is heading to over 400 theatres across the country and will begin with an exclusive featurette, which features interviews with cast members and interviews with teen movie filmmakers like Diablo Cody and Amy Heckerling. Thanks to Fathom Events screenings will be held across the country on two separate dates – Thursday, March 26 and Tuesday, March 31st so don’t miss this awesome event, click the link to find out the closets theatre to you, because who doesn’t want to watch THE BREAKFAST CLUB again with a theatre full of people who love it as much as you do!
Even thirty years later John Hughes is forever here to stay!