Teen audiences propelled cinema in the second half of the 20th Century. From James Dean’s turn in 1955’s Rebel Without A Cause to Jason Bigg’s crusty-coupling in 1999’s American Pie, the teenager was a vital part of the moviegoing experience. The Breakfast Club is another seminal teen movie, a right of cinematic passage for the youth of 1985. It holds up now, 30 years later (the same gap between it and the Dean movie) and watching it again (along with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) reminds us how well John Hughes was able to tap into the teenage psyche.
It’s Saturday and 7am and five pupils report for detention at Shermer High School. They’re there at the behest of Mr Vernon (Paul Gleeson), the grouchy assistant school principal. Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Judd Neslon fill-out the teen archetypes as the wide-range of students with nothing in common. Throughout the day they bicker, bond and learn life lessons. Today it sounds like cliche though in 1985 it grossed over $50 million at the US box office and seeped into popular culture.
The 1980s saw yet another explosion in teen culture with the creation of MTV and films like The Breakfast Club exploited this to the max and became a phenomenon – a right of passion for the youth of that Reaganite era. The Simple Minds track that opens the film Don’t You Forget (About Me) became a huge hit and the soundtrack album sold millions. The film’s stars were thrust into the limelight as the now infamous Brat Pack. They had mixed career fortunes, but this will always be the highlight of their acting careers.
Hughes’ film lets each character shine (Emilio Estevez was the break-out star of the film) but you have to wonder why Judd Nelson never became a bigger star. It’s probably down to David Blum’s story in New York Magazine which labelled the cast (along with Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore) as The Brat Pack. The moniker stuck and many of those listed in the article collapsed under it’s weight but their work in The Breakfast Club still holds up.
It’s hard to believe that The Breakfast Club is 30 years old. It’s an entertaining comedy that doesn’t talk down to its audience and it still entertains today. The remastering on this blu-ray makes the visuals shine and it should help introduce it to a whole new generation.
Universal Pictures delivers the goods with this 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release. You get the fun Accepting the Facts: The Breakfast Club Trivia Track and the 50 minute documentary Sincerely Yours documentary. The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack is far too brief, the commentary with Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall is great and the trailer rounds out the great package.