We had many discussions about what movie to spotlight as our first “movie of the month”.
Do we recommend something that all three of us love and believe deserves more attention? Do we pick movies that are universally regarded as “great”? How obscure, how bizarre, how old should we allow our first movie to be? The AFI list of 100 Greatest Movies Ever Made has Citizen Kane listed as their pick for the best film of all time. Should we start there?
Ultimately, we decided that for our first month in this format, we should pick a movie that has something for the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal in all of us:
Of the films in John Hughes’ incredible body of work, The Breakfast Club stands chief among them for its timelessness. The themes are just as relevant to teenagers today as they were to us back then.
Three Nerds’ selection, September 2018: The Breakfast Club (1985)
Who’s In It: Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Paul Gleason
What does everyone else say about it: Rotten Tomatoes score: 88% (critics), 92% (audience), IMDB user rating: 7.9 (out of 10)
Where you can see it: Amazon Video, Vudu, Sling, Google Play, deluxe 2-disc Criterion Collection
The Nerds Weigh In
Karen: I’m no different than most kids in our generation in that I learned some important life lessons from movies and books. They’ve provided me with a lot of light-bulb moments. Art has the power to move thought. I love that. The Breakfast Club offered this kind of experience. I’m not sure if I had already started to develop an idea of how powerfully negative stereotypes could be before I saw the film or not. But I do know that it hit me hard when I watched it. I saw myself in all of the characters and I got it. John Hughes had a way of making teen angst tangible.
Aaron: My feelings– not just on The Breakfast Club, but on the work of John Hughes in general– can be summed up most succinctly with two lines of dialogue from the very film we’re talking about today:
BRIAN: Did you know without trigonometry, there’d be no engineering?
JOHN: Without lamps, there would be no light!
If great teen-angst movies from the 80’s were the light, then John Hughes is, without question, the lamp. And seeing The Breakfast Club at such a young age is one of the reasons I ever wanted to be a writer in the first place.
Greg: I wrote a paper on this movie for a psych class in college. The subject of the paper was something along the lines of stereotypes. I used the film, in a few different sections of the essay, as an example of how stereotypes develop and how those stereotypes are perpetuated, much to the chagrin of those bearing the labels, through the eyes of those who cannot or do not choose to see beyond a person’s exterior. Deep, right? I’m pretty sure I got a C- on it. Stupid college. The point I was trying to make then, a point which I will attempt to articulate again here, is that TBC is a movie that reminds us all that people are not always who they seem, and that not everyone’s personality or disposition falls into a pre-defined bucket, labelled by persons of more authority than what we can hope to achieve ourselves. People have to look deeper than the surface. People have to see what’s inside, and the only way they can see is first to open their eyes, then maybe their minds. I know. . . all these years later, probably a C+ paper at best.
Lil Bit O Trivia – The Breakfast Club
1. Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor. He was replaced by John Kapelos, after “creative differences” with Hughes. Apparently, Moranis wanted to play the part as an over-the-top Russian, complete with gold caps on his teeth and cartoonish accent. Some reports say that he even had a large ring of keys hanging from his belt that he would fondle provocatively as he spoke.
2. Molly Ringwald was asked at first to play Allison, but requested instead to play the role of Claire. Robin Wright, Jodie Foster, and Laura Dern are other actresses of note who also auditioned for the role of Claire. Nicolas Cage and John Cusack were both considered to play the role of John Bender, a role that was originally intended for Emilio Estevez (who, of course, eventually played Andrew). Nicolas Cage might have actually gotten the role, but his salary for appearing in the movie was considered too high.
3. The woman and child in the car with Brian during the movie’s opening scene? That’s Anthony Michael Hall’s actual mother and younger sister! John Hughes himself appears at the end of the film as Brian’s father.
4. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was written for the movie by producer Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff (guitarist and songwriter from The Nina Hagen Band). Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry were both offered the opportunity to record the song, but both turned it down. The song was eventually offered to Chrissie Hynde (of The Pretenders), who suggested Simple Minds. Her then husband (John Kerr) was the band’s singer. (Bonus: Billy Idol did actually end up recording this song as a bonus track for a Greatest Hits album)
5. Judd Nelson reportedly remained in character as Bender for the entire shoot. This not only included wearing the clothes that he originally auditioned in, but included persistent taunting of Molly Ringwald. Protective of Ms. Ringwald, John Hughes fired Judd Nelson from the role. Stories on his rehiring conflict, however: some sources say that Ally Sheedy led the cast in convincing Hughes to keep him, and others say that it was Paul Gleason (the actor who plays Richard Vernon) who swayed the director’s wrath.
(Aaron Sidenote: As I uploaded that Bender photo, my wife is looking over my shoulder and she just said, “God, he was so hot!” I am not sure if she intended me to hear that or not. )
What say you, friends? What are your thoughts on this film?