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DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT THESE: 30 Reasons Why THE BREAKFAST CLUB Matters

This week marks both the 30th anniversary of the original theatrical release of THE BREAKFAST CLUB and what would have been writer/director JOHN HUGHES‘ 65th birthday.

So, please take a moment to wax nostalgic and remember these 30 reasons why THE BREAKFAST CLUB matters!

1) Hardly the first High School drama, nor the first to deal with the concept of “cliques,” however definitely the first to point out that everyone’s a little bit of each of them.

2) Every one of the backstories about how they got into detention was completely improved by the actors.  It’s the most real moment in the film.

3) Simple Minds said yes, and Billy Idol said no to the title song.  Also saying no–Nicolas Cage,  to the role of John Bender and Rick Moranis to the role of the janitor Carl.

4) MONTAGE!

5) This…

6)That…

7)  Repeat viewings of it provide insight (often depending when in your life you rewatch it).  For example, ever notice a past Shermer High School MAN OF THE YEAR is the janitor, Carl?

8)  DP Thomas Del Ruth’s cinematography deserved an Oscar consideration, although he would later receive Emmy wins for his work on The West Wing, and recognized by the American Society of Cinematographers for  The X-Files and ER.  Some of his additional, fantastic work around that time includes Stand By Me, Blue Thunder, Motel Hell and Fandango.

9) John Hughes’s cameo as Brian’s dad…

10) Mid-80s coolness, without necessarily being too representative of the decade.  John Hughes was able to create fashion-forward sense on many of his films, but TBC exudes timeless individuality from its five main characters to its iconic Annie Leibovitz photo-shoot poster.
11) Dear Mr Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong.  Dramatic much?  Well, that was the brilliance of Brian the Brain.  What a stinger of an opening, in the simplest of terms.

12) We’ll always want more of it.  The original cut of the film is rumored to have been 150 minutes long, only experienced by test audiences.  Almost all of the remaining extra footage no longer exists (or at least has not been uncovered).  Alternate sequences and extended scenes do exist in “edited for television” versions of the film.  That would explain this unexplainable image…
13)  We’ll always have this original version of the shooting script to celebrate Hughes’s brilliant writing style.
14) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off takes place in a sort of bizarro universe to The Breakfast Club, having used some of the hallways and exteriors from Maine North High School in Des Plaines, Illinois (now closed, but you can visit it on Google Maps before they take it down).
15) Body language.  Watch the film solely for the way in which the five actors bring a physical stance to what helps define their characters.  That’s the sign of an expert director, by the way. 
  
16) Although it’s more commonly attributed to St. Elmo’s Fire, it was TBC that started the term “THE BRAT PACK,” to describe the new young Hollywood cast.  Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson would all appear on screen together again just four months later in St. Elmo’s Fire.   

17) Even Basket Cases like Prince. The not so subtle Allison dandruff storm on the album is a solid reminder that the artist formerly known as Prince, then known as a symbol, then known as Prince again crossed social stereotypes when it came to his audience.  

18) When you grow up, your heart dies.  This is one of the most punch-to-the-gut statements in the film, and it’s a theme that permeates just about all of John Hughes’s films (yes, even Home Alone). Fear of becoming an adult, or even being that much closer to being an adult, is the true theme of TBC.  
From the fear of “what are you gonna be when you grow up?” to “come Monday, will you walk on by, will you call my name?” it’s all focused on the uncertain and awkward future.  
19) This was the first time you had ever heard of sushi.  Admit it.

20)  It’s essentially a “talking-head” movie like My Dinner with Andre, according to Anthony Michael Hall.  Very rarely do the characters leave the school library.  30 years later, we’re still expecting a staging on Broadway.

21) Bender’s terms and expressions like “neo maxi zoom dweebie” and “hot beef injection” may not have been teen-speak circa-1985, but they captured the exact punch of the original teen hate-speak you probably experienced in High School.  Don’t get me started on the “are you a virgin” interrogation.

22) “Who are you?  I’m a Walrus.”  One of many, many Beatles references in John Hughes’s films.  Ferris Bueller would point out that he “could be the Walrus” in the director’s next one.

23) The way the version of Don’t You Forget About Me opens is totally different than the album and single version.  Its natural instrumental transition under the opening narration is a Hughes trademark (If You Were Here from Sixteen Candles, Love Missile F1-11 from Ferris Bueller).  Here’s the closest thing to it…

24) Because I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks Claire’s makeover of Allison makes her look better.

25) Brian’s relationship with Carl, the janitor, gives subtle insight that Brian is the nicest, most genuine, squared away person of the group.  Except for that one time he tried to kill himself.





26)  Outside of Don’t You Forget About Me and maybe Fire in the Twilight it’s a pretty dated, unremarkable soundtrack.  But it did secure the film’s financing.  A&M Films, overseen by Executive Producer Gil Friesen, was a division of A&M Records, which backed The Breakfast Club and peppered the film with A&M artists.  The division also produced the 80s comedies Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer.

27) The profanity in the film, earning it a solid R rating, remains profane today (at least to this prude).

28) The characters grow from the start of the film until the end.  This arc was secured by shooting the film completely in sequence.  Bender’s fist pump freeze-frame was actually the last scene shot during production.

29) You could never get away with teens smoking pot so freely on-screen today in a Hollywood studio release, and if you could it wouldn’t be as significant.

30) It’s completely relevant today.  Sad and demented, but relevant.  Sure there are examples in parodies, merchandise and pop culture references galore, but I’m more impressed by the multiple YouTube video tributes and “video production class” projects here.  You’ve been warned.  We’re talking YouTube rabbit hole of fascination.  Here’s one of the better ones…


THE BREAKFAST CLUB is coming to Blu-ray (again) in a 30th Anniversary edition remastered from the original 35mm.  Also arriving the same day is the JOHN HUGHES: YEARBOOK COLLECTION which includes THE BREAKFAST CLUB, SIXTEEN CANDLES and WEIRD SCIENCE.

Experience THE BREAKFAST CLUB on the BIG SCREEN on Thursday, March 26th and Tuesday, March 31st at participating theaters.  For more information, click here.
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