Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Breakfast Club (DVD) My Take

I watched John Hughes' The Breakfast Club for the first time earlier this week and today I watched all of the bonus material on the DVD including the feature commentary supplied by Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson, which meant in essence watching the whole thing again but with most of the dialog replace by Nelson and Hall reminiscing about the making of the film.

I became interested in seeing this when I read something in one of the tributes to Hughes the week he died this summer in which someone mentioned they had heard he had written the script for The Breakfast Club in one day. Well in the documentary on the DVD someone said he'd written the first draft in one weekend. Either way I stand in awe.

The Breakfast Club takes place only eight years after my own high-school graduation so that might explain why everything about it triggered one deja vous after another. But I rather think that it is more because the themes of the story are timeless and high school for most of Western Civilization for the last 100 years has had more in common between cities and countries and decades than it has differences.

The timeless themes: The sense of isolation. The need to belong at war with the need to be free. The generational divide. The class divide. The fear of failure. The tyranny of authority vested in small minds.

The setting: almost entirely in the library of a large Chicago high school on a Saturday where five students are serving a nine hour detention.

The character I identified with the most was Alison played by Ally Sheedy. She hides behind her shaggy hair and inside bulky clothes and an armful of stuff. She exhibits socially bizarre behaviors like biting her nails and out of place vocal outbursts.

Not that I identified with every one of her eccentricities--she was a pick-pocket/kleptomaniac and claimed to be a pathological liar.

But when she told the others that she hadn't done anything to get sent to detention, she just had nothing better to do that day--I laughed along with the others because I had been thinking all along that if Saturday detentions had been held in a library like that at my school I might have either crashed them or tried to get myself sent there as then and now I can think of little better to do than spend nine hours in a library.

0 tell me a story:

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