Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dear Jodie - The Breakfast Club

Dear Jodie,

The Breakfast Club came out in 1985, which was the year of my ten-year high school reunion. My brother (nine years my junior) dragged me to see it kicking and screaming. That being said, I walked out of it knowing I had seen a good one. Now, thirty years later, I think it is one of the best movies ever made about school days.

John Hughes told the truth, even though that truth did not sympathize with the teaching staff. It sympathized with the teenagers and the intense pressures they faced every day, from home, school, and themselves.

The movie is talking heads, and pulling that off requires a superb scrip and fabulous actors. Hughes's dialogue is first rate, particularly his ability to capture the way teenagers speak, though I suspect he made at least one up.

Look, I can see you getting all bunged up for them making you wear these kinda clothes. But face it, you're a Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie!

Yeah, I suspect Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie is all John Hughes.

Ah, the actors. What can I say? All were wonderful, and perfectly cast. They lit the screen with their own particular stereotype then twisted and swirled until they blended with each other. Molly Ringwald's and Anthony Michael Hall's stood out for me because they were at least five years younger than the other three, but more than held their own. And some of the dialogue was improvised by the actors. For example, Anthony Michael Hall improvised the line …

Chick cannot hold their smoke. That's what it is.

That's my favorite line in the movie!

There were a few things that seemed like gaffs to me. I mean, come on … they run around the school within a few feet of Vernon and he can't hear them? In a relatively empty school, Vernon would have been able to hear them from a whole lot farther away. How about Claire's lunch? I like sushi, too, but I'm damn sure not going to eat it when it's been sitting out for four hours.

Claire - Can I eat?
Bender - I don't know. Give it a try.

But those "gaffs" really only endeared the movie to me even more.

Speaking of lunch, how about the size of Andrew's! That would feed three hungry people.

In order for the movie to work, the teens have to have their foil, and wasn't Paul Gleason perfect? That he played the mean, nasty assistant principal Richard "Dick" Vernon, honestly gave serious laughs to things like "I won't be made a fool of," when he turned around only to find the toilet seat cover dangling from his trousers. Or Bender silently mocking him on the "I'm cracking skulls" line.

I enjoyed the scenes in the basement file area between Vernon and Carl the Janitor. Did you notice Carl's annual picture at the beginning of the movie? We get a little more insight into Vernon's character. I think since I was twenty-seven when the movie came out I realized early on that Vernon didn't want to be there either. He represented what Allison (Ally Sheedy) meant when she said, "When you grow up, your heart dies." In his case, I think "dying" would be a better word, because his heart was hanging on by a thread.

Love the pencil carousel!

I have to give this beautiful movie a 10 out of 10.