Written by: The CinCitizens
The Breakfast Club
I have a newsflash for nearly every person who grew up in the Eighties and Nineties, and I have to warn you: you’re not going to like it.
The Breakfast Club is a shitty movie.
That’s right, I’m talking about the very same Breakfast Club that you inevitably watched over and over again growing up, reciting the lines with your favorite characters and acting out favorite scenes with your friends. “It’s a part of growing up.” You’ll say. “I grew up with that movie.” You’ll surely protest. “I’ve loved it since I was a kid!”
Belding had a real hard-on for Zack Morris and his merry band of Breakfast Clubbers. It may very well be ALL those things. But it’s ALSO absurd.
I saw it for the first time a few years ago, and so was spared the fawning adulation that we get for something we first encounter in youth. Instead, I saw it for what it really is, to the detriment of every relationship I have ever had since.
It sure does seem like a worthy project, doesn’t it? Five students, each from a different social stratum of their high school, are assigned to a full Saturday of detention. With only time and a mutual disdain for the principal between them, they discover the individuals that lie beneath their stereotypes, and become friends and lovers in the process.
Except it doesn’t work. The characters are such obvious “types” that even people who profess to love the movie refer to them not by name, but rather by their role (The jock, the rebel, the nerd, the princess, and Ally Sheedy). The principal, meant to stand for the corrupt system of adults that ultimately creates these stereotypes, is so one-dimensionally prickish that he becomes utterly unrealistic. And those cathartic scenes you remember so well where our heroes reveal inner truths about themselves are just poorly written and acted pap.
Those who argue with me will tell me that I’m missing the point. Of course they’re all types, they’ll say. That was done on purpose so that the characters would be universal! If that’s so, then each and every one of us is supposed to see ourselves in one of them. Who are you most like? Me, I’m totally the sniveling kid who cries because Molly Ringwald is too popular! Or am I the kid who cries because he feels bad for beating the shit out of someone smaller than me? Man, they’re all so REAL!
Look, I understand what it feels like to love something from yesterday that doesn’t stack up today. When I was a kid, I loved the Go-Bots cartoon. The idea that these robots could fly, change into cars, and shoot lasers from their fists was the height of coolness. Ten years after it went off the air, I rented a tape of the show for some kids at a summer camp I taught at, to show them something “from my generation.” I was appalled. It was awful, from beginning to end. I can still say that I LOVED the Go-Bots, but I can never again say that I LOVE them.
If you feel strongly about The Breakfast Club, do yourself a favor. Love it from afar, cherish your memories, and never watch it again. I PROMISE you you’ll be disappointed.
-Rob Van Winkle