Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Don't You Forget The Breakfast Club

Simple Minds on the radio is what did it. One song, and I was rooting through my DVD collection for my copy of The Breakfast Club. Am I ever glad I did.

It’s easy to forget that movies are about stories. The Breakfast Club is a story about a princess, an athlete, a brain, a basket case and a criminal all forced to do Saturday detention. Supposedly they have nothing in common. They have to sit quietly and write an essay while they’re kept an eye on by the school principal. But Bender (Judd Nelson in his defining role), the criminal, has other plans. Deliberately provocative he breaks the rules, pushes buttons, teases Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) harasses Claire (Molly Ringwald) and gets up in Andy’s (Emilio Estevez) face. The odd Allison (Ally Sheedy) just makes strange noises.

Over the course of the morning, they find ways to pass the time, slowly but surely getting to know each other. Each one tells the story of how they ended up in detention, discovering that in each other, they can see themselves.

The dialogue is as crisp today as it was back in 1985 when it was released. The teenage angst is universal. Parents, peer pressure, the need to conform, the fear of failing to meet expectations are all dealt with. There’s even a make-over.

John Hughes was the undisputed king of the teen comedy, penning and directing hits such as Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles and Some Kind of Wonderful, most of which have become an indelible part of modern culture, for example the character Bender in Futurama is named after Judd Nelson’s role.

As with most of his films, the soundtrack proved as reflective of the day as the film itself. Don’t you (forget about me) by Simple Minds is synonymous with the shot of a triumphant Bender as he punches his fist into the air out by the bleachers in the closing shot of the movie.

What songs remind you of movies?

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