BreakfastClubcoverGrade: B+
Entire family: No
1985, 97 min., Color
Universal
Rated R for language and sex talk
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen
Featured audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Includes: Blu-ray, Digital HD
Bonus features: B+
Trailer

In high school, which one were (or are) you? One of the popular kids, a jock, a disturbed misfit, a hood/criminal, or a nerdy brain? These days there are a few more sub-categories, but writer-director John Hughes pretty much nailed the stereotypes back in 1985. And though they’re stereotypes, as one cast member stressed they’re not caricatures. That’s a big reason why The Breakfast Club became such an instant classic film about teenagers and their problems. The other reason is that Hughes captured the way teens talk, and he made sure that his script worked by allowing his young actors to ad lib.

Hughes’ “Brat Pack”—Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, and Judd Nelson—did a lot of that, as you’ll discover if you choose to watch the digitally remastered and fully restored (from hi-res 35mm original film elements) 30th Anniversary Blu-ray with pop-up trivia cards. It’s a great way to experience a film that looks terrific with the new transfer, even if the cards linger on the screen a little long (have reading levels dropped that much since 1985?).

Entertainment Weekly called The Breakfast Club “the best high school movie of all time,” and the R rating—for language (including F-bombs), sex talk, and marijuana use—hasn’t stopped generations of teens from watching it. Let’s be honest. Parents know that kids talk this way, or else they hear kids talking this way every day at school. And Hughes captures that part of the culture where everything revolves around the teen and his or her standing among peers. So let your teens watch, if they want. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before.  

Does it still hold up? Yes and no. The Breakfast Club remains one of the definitive movies about teens, but if your teen is caught up in the thumb-tapping world of hand-held gaming and texting, there might be a little too much talking to suit them. That’s the whole premise: five kids arrive at school for an eight-hour Saturday detention because of something they did. So as different as these kids know they are from each other, they still have that in common—and it’s a start.

BreakfastClubscreenThe rest of the film ebbs and flows in what feels like real time (though it’s obviously compressed) with taunts, accusations, skirmishes, run-ins with the principal in charge of detention (Paul Gleason), bonding moments of dancing and drug use, soul-baring confessions, laughing, crying, and attempts to get to know each other that begin half-heartedly but soon grow sincere. Sometimes it gets a little melodramatic; then again, so do teens.

This group walks eight hours in each others’ shoes—in one scene, quite literally—but in the end we’re not sure that much will have changed when they return to school on Monday. They do gain some insight into the lives of people who are radically different from them, at least, and that’s something we need a lot more of.

Language: 6-8 F-bombs and other cursing
Sex: POV upskirt shot and talk about who’s a virgin, getting laid, etc.
Violence: A few skirmishes, but nothing really
Adult situations: Just talk, mostly
Takeaway: Misfits are people too

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