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30 years of The Breakfast Club

BY JASMINE PUTNEY | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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The 1980s. Undoubtedly one of our country’s best — and most colorful — decades. A trip in the DeLorean would demonstrates the era provided us with such phenomena as high-waisted pants, MTV, and Pac-Man. 

But perhaps the greatest thing to emerge from the decade was the genre of teen movies, with classics such as Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Sixteen Candles. Chief among them was a tale of five very different teenagers navigating their way through high school on one fateful day of detention. 

On Feb. 15, The Breakfast Club celebrated its 30th anniversary of its release in 1985. Courtesy of Fathom Events, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and BY Entertainment, the film will be re-released in restored quality in 440 movie theaters around the country in a special two-day event, beginning today and continuing March 31. The showing will also feature interviews with cast members and filmmakers. 

In collaboration with FilmScene, the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., will host a screening of The Breakfast Club at 7 p.m. Saturday; it will follow a costume contest at 6 p.m. Admission will be $10. 

Written and directed by John Hughes, who wrote the screenplay in just two days, The Breakfast Club tells the story of Claire (Molly Ringwald), John (Judd Nelson), Andy (Emilio Estevez), Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), and Allison (Ally Sheedy), high-school students at the fictional Shermer High School in Illinois. After getting hit with Saturday detention for various reasons, the five strangers get to know each other on a deeply personal level. 

Mixing comedy, marijuana, and a few epic montages, The Breakfast Club rose to fame and has maintained its popularity 30 years later. 

Many garner widespread appreciation, but that does not always last. So how has The Breakfast Club achieved such timeless cultural significance? 

To put it simply, The Breakfast Club understood us when we were convinced no one else did. By depicting five intricate teens from five high-school cliques, viewers found at least one character with whom they could relate. If you were a studious “neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie,” you could probably understand Brian’s fear of a low GPA. If you were an all-star athlete, you may be able to identify with Andy’s inhibitions about being treated as a race horse. These five characters voice the thoughts and insecurity of adolescence that often go unsaid. 

Recently, Ringwald and Sheedy reunited for an interview at the South by Southwest Festival in honor of the film’s anniversary. When asked why she felt The Breakfast Club continually resonates with generations of teenagers, Ringwald responded quickly. 

“It’s the universal feeling that we all are alone — that we’re all different,”she said. “I think the movie’s one resounding theme is that everybody feels the same, and we’re all alone together.”  

Unfortunately as we grow older and succumb to the inevitable fate of adulthood, we become more detached from the film and the unprecedented magic of the first time we watched John trudge across the football field and thrust his fist into the air. But the story will live on in the hearts of the teenagers struggling to find their way in the mad chaos of high school for generations to come.

Please do not misunderstand me. While it has been my favorite movie since the ripe age of 15, The Breakfast Club did not change the world. It made no cinematic leaps nor did it challenge societal issues. It is not a critical movie, but it certainly is a noteworthy one. The Breakfast Club has stood the test of time, and I believe it will continue to do so. My message to you is: don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t you forget about The Breakfast Club


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