The Breakfast Club (High School Reunion Collection)
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They were five students with nothing in common, faced with spending a Saturday detention together in their high school library. At 7 a.m., they had nothing to say, but by 4 p.m. they had bared their souls to each other and become good friends. John Hughes, creator of the critically acclaimed Sixteen Candles, wrote, directed and produced this hilarious and often touching comedy starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. To the outside world they were simply the Jock, the Brain, the Criminal, the Princess and the Kook, but to each other, they would always be The Breakfast Club.
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Top customer reviews
It contains interviews with the original actors.
Today this movies just simply couldn't be made. There's nothing blowing up every 3 minutes or frames that literally average 2-3 seconds before the new angle view pops up.
RIP John Hughes!!!
Say what you will about the late John Hughes, this particular movie somehow captured what it is to be a young person in a way that few others ever did or ever will.
This movie is centered around seven people:
The late Paul Gleason, as school principal and antagonist, Richard Vernon.
John Kapelos, as the surprisingly funny and canny janitor, Carl.
Anthony Michael Hall, as Brian Johnson, the smart, somewhat nerdy kid.
Emilio Estevez, as Andrew Clark, the wrestling jock.
Ally Sheedy, as Allison Reynolds, the proto-emo outcast girl.
Molly Ringwald, as Claire Standish, the designer clothes wearing princess.
Judd Nelson, as John Bender, the defiant kid, the one we would have called a hood back in the day.
Bender is a veteran of the detention routine, very well acquainted with Vernon.
The last five characters are the students forced to come in for Saturday detention, during which Principal Vernon has given them the assignment of writing a 1,000 word essay about exactly what each of them thinks he/she really is.
That alone sets the tone for how bellicose Vernon is going to be, even before he starts interacting with them.
Bender immediately expresses his disdain for him within the first five minutes of Vernon setting the terms, with one of the funniest lines I recall in a movie: "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?" winning himself yet another Saturday on the spot.
From there, Bender systematically sets about tormenting first Vernon, then each of the kids, focusing particularly on Claire, someone who couldn't be more his polar opposite in attitude and economic status.
At first, it's tough to like Bender, given his boorish treatment of first Claire, then to Brian and Andrew, but there is something charismatic about him that starts to show through, and he turns out to be surprisingly intelligent.
He propels the story, especially for the first two thirds, clashing with principal and kid alike, but bringing out in each something that wouldn't have emerged otherwise.
Claire is troubled by how her parents seem to use her against each other, and -- as is common with the popular kids -- held prisoner to her friends' dictates.
Allison is ignored by her parents and basically friendless at the beginning of the movie.
Andrew is a jock driven relentlessly by a dad obsessed with winning to the exclusion of all else.
Brian is quite a bit like Andrew, except both parents are obsessed with his academic achievement.
Then we have Bender, who proves he's not just telling stories when he memorably reenacts how he has been badly physically abused at home.
Watching this all over again, I realize that I knew all of the characters to one extent or another in high school, and most people could identify with each to one degree or another.
The dialogue is biting, often witty, and nearly always sarcastic.
The conflict that only grows with time between Bender and Vernon propels the movie, and Bender's harsh words for each of the kids eventually get them to open up in ways they never would have done without him to berate them.
Because of this juxtaposition of the sarcastic with the sadness each of them has, this manages to be a very touching movie that does so without being cloying about it.
I won't spoil the movie for those of you who have yet to see it, but I will just say that this is no action movie or cookie cutter teen movie.
This is about the universal misgivings that people have throughout their lives, especially when they are young and at their most vulnerable.
There is little doubt that Judd Nelson's Bender is the driving force here, and he is very good in that role, wildly veering from wickedly funny to exploding into rage, with only his unusually strong command of the English language making him just a bit unbelievable.
Ally Sheedy's Allison has the least dialogue by far, but she plays it very well, getting the maximum out of her character with her expressions and the laborious way that she speaks, as Nelson and Hall observe during the commentary track, as if she were unpracticed at speaking.
Hall plays Brian very well, just the type of personality of the nerdy guy, but with a nerd's sensitivity and intelligence.
Estevez's Andrew is in some ways even better, first playing tough guy tempered with chivalry by standing up to Bender's taunting of Claire, then showing that he really is much more than just an athlete, especially when recounting the real reason that he got put on detention with the others and when talking one-on-one with Allison.
Ringwald's Claire is also very good, and she is a nice foil for Bender, who quickly pivots from tweaking Vernon to making openly crude comments toward her.
At first, it's tough to feel too sorry for her, given her membership in the popular clique, but she emerges as someone who would prefer to be her own person, and it turns out that Bender, is the one person who brings that out more than anyone else.
Kapelo as Carl didn't have much time on screen, but he was a real highlight, showing that he is much more than a blue collar guy, but someone with a real understanding of human nature and wisdom.
Gleason as Vernon was in some ways the best of all, not just a cardboard cutout authoritarian, but someone even with just a hint of self doubt. He is particularly funny, with his impenetrable front that first Bender, then the other kids, and finally even he (unintentionally) puncture throughout the movie.
Anyone wondering about the R rating for this should know that there is no nudity or anything of the sort, but that the reason for the rating was because of some harsh language, with some sexual comments thrown in.
This is a nicely packaged Blu-Ray, with both the regular movie and the audio commentary version with Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and DVD producer Jason Hillhouse.
You also get a 12-part documentary titled "Sincerely Yours," with focus placed on each of the actors, plus various other aspects of the movie itself.
They also include the five minute "The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack," a short discussion of exactly what it says, and speaking for myself, I always thought that term was unfairly dismissive, condescending, and smacked of a certain elitism of elders toward young upstarts.
This is a BD-Live disk, so there are some features available through it directly online, but I didn't really bother exploring those.
Picture quality was good and certainly an improvement over conventional DVD upscaled on a 1080p set, but I was surprised at how it was slightly grainy in parts when I got up close to my 1080p TV, almost as if the producers had simply produced the Blu-Ray from the exact same resolution master from the DVD release instead of going back to the original film itself to make a Blu-Ray specific master.
However, the minor graininess in no way detracted from the movie, which is -- after all -- about the characters.
I realize that John Hughes was often derided by the elites in show business when he was still alive, and to some extent even now, but this to me is one of his two very best movies, the other being the superb Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Those Aren't Pillows Edition).
I highly recommend either movie, and consider yourself lucky if it's the first time watching it.
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