Monday, December 31, 2012

Guest Review: "The Breakfast Club"

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It would be difficult to say whether detention changed Claire, Brian, Allison, Andy, and John. The first thing we are force-fed through the costuming as well as the script is that these students represent different strata in their high school's social order, sort of a microcosm of the real world. The nerd looked like a nerd, the jock looked like a football player, and the prep looked like a prep. It mystifies me that this was a film of wide acclaim and furthermore, that it has survived several decades.

This was an early movie for Emilio Estevez (who played Andy) and we got to see how many different expressive faces he could pull off. We also saw the start of his tradition of playing characters that are leaders. Andy was interested in what the others were "in for" and insisted they all get along.

Molly Ringwald, who played Claire, was so bored that she did a makeover with Goth girl Allison. Goth girl Allison consented and both girls were wildly excited about the outcome. I was convinced that Allison looked better, but not so convinced that Claire would've been so happy to play second fiddle to the weird girl...especially since Allison expressed interest in Andy the jock.

John Bender, the criminal dude, had no redeeming qualities at all. He was just throwing away his life and blaming everyone but himself for his problems. True, the deck was stacked against him, but the nerd and all the others had issues to overcome too.

The nerd Brian was the opposite of his father Carl the school janitor. Brian was ashamed of his father's occupation, but Carl seemed content with it.

The characters find themselves in detention together for an all-day Saturday "retreat." They are asked by Principal Vernon to write an essay on who they think they are. Between dancing, singing, pranks, and lunch, there wasn't much time to do the essay.

Andy and Allison had the most bizarre lunches. Andy had a full grocery sack and seemingly ate most of the contents. Allison's weirdness emerged in the form of a white bread, Pixie Stix, and Captain Crunch sandwich. Her discarded, gently tossed bologna landed on a statue the library was decorated with. The others ate in a somewhat normal fashion.

Lunch was where this diverse group started to come together. By afternoon's end, the group of high school students, diverse as they are, have drawn us into the age-old trap: "We'd all get along so much better if we would just get to know each other and give love a chance."

The Breakfast Club is cheesy, predictable, and saved by that talented guy Emilio Estevez. He rises above the less-than-inspired script and pulls the whole cast up with him. I didn't appreciate Emilio's talent or his position as a comeback-kid until I saw The Breakfast Club. Then I knew this guy is more brilliant than anyone has given him credit for. If he can take us there, he can take us anywhere.

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