The Breakfast Club

Directed By: John Hughes

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, and Paul Gleason

"Don't mess with the bull young man.  You'll get the horns."
-Assistant Principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason)

The Breakfast Club has been resurrected as of late.  I've seen it on cable quite a bit.  It's just been released on Blu-ray.  It got some serious love in the recent comedy Pitch Perfect.  It has even been invoked as a comparison point by many when talking about the recent coming of age flick The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  With all this in mind, I've got to get in on the action and revisit this beloved classic.

On a lovely Saturday afternoon at Shermer High School, five students are trapped together in detention under the strict watch of assistant principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason).  We have the brain in A-student Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall).  We have the athlete in star wrestler Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez).  We have the basket case in Gothic girl Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy).  We have a princess in popular girl Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald).  Finally, we have a criminal in detention expert John Bender (Judd Nelson).  Because of their respective cliques, the tension is palpable in the detention room.  These are just stereotypes though.  As these kids actually get to know one another, detention gets pretty wild.

The Breakfast Club is undoubtedly one of the greatest high school movies of all time.  John Hughes brings us plenty of laughs and plenty of tears with this piercing coming of age comedy-drama.  The late director really had a way of capturing the essence of adolescence on the big screen, and he did this to perfection in The Breakfast Club.  Having not seen it in years, I am happy that this recent resurrection of the film brought me back into the Hughes fold.  It's really just one fun film.

There's no shortage of laughter in The Breakfast Club.  Everybody brings their comedic game in this one.  While Estevez, Ringwald, Nelson, Hall, and Sheedy all deliver plenty of hilarity as they're stuck in detention together, the funniest guy is not even in the room most of the time.  Paul Gleason's assistant principal Richard Vernon has to be the most entertaining administrator on the big screen I've ever had the pleasure of watching.  He's just a grumpy middle-aged man who has to sacrifice his Saturday to teach these kids a lesson.  Because of this, he gives us a trash talking tough guy who says whatever the hell he wants to these teens.  It's hard not to love Gleason in this flick.  This bull is continually giving these kids the horns. 

Hughes really has a way of peeling back the stereotypes and sidestepping the labels and cliques to dig into the struggles and challenges of being a teenager.  Though there's some serious tension in the detention room initially amongst the group, Hughes turns this hilarious cacophony of insults back and forth into a touching, almost therapeutic conversation on adolescence.  With it, he makes one point clear.  Regardless of their labels within their social circles, pressure is the name of the game for all five of these teenagers, whether it be from peers, parents, or oneself.

The Breakfast Club is an iconic teen classic that has clearly stood the test of time given all the love it's been getting lately.  Nearly thirty years later, it's still a beloved film that captures the essence of being a teenager.  That's the mark of greatness.  This movie is truly timeless.  The Breakfast Club gets a sober rating.