Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Breakfast Club

Universal Studios
Director: John Hughes
Length: 97 min.
Country: USA
Format: 35mm
Date Viewed: 12 March, 2006

The Breakfast Club takes the notion that most stereotypes are based on truths and mostly runs with this, but also tweaks these stereotypes here and there to create more interesting characters that don't always match our expectations. Take, for instance, the pot smoking sequence. The prissy nerd eagerly takes part even though we are sure he will not, and the girl who looks already perma-fried at 17 is the only one who steadfastly refuses, looking shocked at what the others are doing.

The movie also bucks certain trends that were popular in the day. Though it's an '80s teen comedy preoccupied (as teens from any era are) with sex, the movie takes the typical Hughes stance that being a virgin throughout your teen years is a-OK, something most of Hughes' contemporaries rarely agreed with.

Many of the situations and much of the dialogue is very reminiscent of my school years, and, judging by its cult status especially amongst those in my age group, reminiscent of the social realities of most kids who grew up in the '80s and '90s.

The films works overall, but it does hit a major misstep at the end, with the "improvement" of Allison. For some reason, Hughes felt it was important for her entire style to be eradicated and replaced by the get-up of your standard zombie-like teen princess in order for the jock to want to date her. Though this is pretty true to what would happen in real life (can you imagine a jock dating Allison before the make-over?), but it would have been a much stronger statement to let her style alone and have the Andrew go for her anyways, bucking one more trend that desperately needs bucking. As it is, this ending, combined with Bender's relationship with Claire, reinforces the ugly American idea that only girls who primp and preen and follow contemporary fashion can get a guy's attention.


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