I once had detention in high school. Just once. I can’t even remember why I got it, who issued it, or even what year this was, but I distinctly remember sitting around in a Saugus High bungalow (one of the ones against the back hill, by the aqueduct) for an hour in detention. I hadn’t seen The Breakfast Club yet, but I can assure you, it was nothing like it.
The Breakfast Club is about five teenagers stuck in Saturday detention. Each teen hails from a different high school clique (one, a popular girl, the others, a jock, a geek, an outcast, and a delinquent). As the movie progresses, these different folks learn that they have similar problems, most of them having to do with their shitty parents and them sorting out their identities—as influenced by their peers, the adults in their lives, and themselves.
There’s a lot to like about this film. The writing was pretty stellar and the film was simple and beautifully shot. I thought the quintet’s relationship blossomed naturally (there was forming, and storming, and norming, and...self actualization, if I can hop models). It was a beautiful balancing act that demonstrated John Hughes’ strengths were as much about script mechanics as they were about ‘understanding teenagers’. I liked the Allison Reynolds character, was roused by the flare gun twist, and really liked Emilio Estevez’s tad melodramatic monologue.
But I have a secret: I hate stories about teenagers. Like, a lot. I’m recognize this probably has more to do with my own issues than the trope-y storytelling itself. To be honest, I don’t extract a lot of meaning from that portion of my life and I think that stories about identity are inherently narcissistic. I know, I know; core to the human condition and all—but whatever—I suspect that adult Claire Standish doesn’t think too much about how difficult it was to reconcile her new friendships with the expectations of her bitchy friends when she’s got rent to pay. LOL. So there it is: I found myself enjoying the film, technically, but I couldn’t get into the spirit of the characters.