Here's our Family Film pick for this week, appearing in The Denver Post feature section every Tuesday:
Breakfast Club Rises, Shines
Stop watching "The Breakfast Club" in its frequent cable-TV
To get the full essence of the best high school movie ever made
(not just my opinion - Entertainment Weekly put it tops on a list
of 50 all-time greats), you need to rent the full R-rated disc from
your favorite retailer. Yes, there are a couple dozen f-bombs; yes,
the kids smoke pot onscreen; yes, Judd Nelson's bully character
sexually harasses poor Molly Ringwald in a very raw way.
But they nail it. Through one of the best ensemble performances
from Hollywood youth, and through the words of writer/director John
Hughes, "The Breakfast Club" speaks undeniable truths about the
high school experience that ring true a generation later. Think
about that, it's a remarkable achievement: In 1985, when "The
Breakfast Club" came out, were there any high school movies from
1963 that rang as true?
Hughes exploits the claustrophobia of a high school library on a
Saturday morning - from the opening seconds, it's just so wrong.
Kids shouldn't be dropped off at high school on a Saturday! It's
detention time for five mouthy teenagers from Shermer High School
in suburban Chicago, and the stereotypes announce themselves
immediately: the Brain, the Jock, the Princess, the Criminal and
the Basket Case.
In nine hours of threatening, bickering and, eventually, poignant
(but never maudlin) self-revelation, the stereotypes dissolve and
re-form. These students have the chance to break the mold, but the
ending is not naive - they may fall back into the same old rut.
Pair this with the lighter tone of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off,"
since Hughes himself did. He filmed that comedy classic back to
back with "The Breakfast Club," using the same school sets and
the same crew. Legend has it that you can see identical posters in
the hallways in both films.
Each Tuesday, Michael Booth uncovers a movie gem for rewarding
family entertainment. Send your suggestions to