The Breakfast Club
The 1980’s was the decade where the sub genre “Emo Teen Movies” ran rampant and John Hughes was the host, carrier, and transmitter of this amazing epidemic. Hughes wrote and directed some of the best coming-of-age movies such as “Pretty in Pink” and “Sixteen Candles.” But before we can get all dressed up and blow out the candles, we have to sit through Saturday detention first. “The Breakfast Club” was another one of John Hughe’s masterpieces. Now I’m about to make an insane comparison and run on a bit of a tangent, but follow along and bare with me for a second. Before I was able to finish my Master’s program, I had to submit a portfolio which consisted of two feature-length scripts, two short film scripts, the scripts of five episodes of a television show my friend had conceptualized and the first chapter of my novel to a panel of professional filmmakers and screenwriters. This would be the first time my work- all of it- was going to get truly analyzed by professional storytellers. All of them had said the same thing about my comedy feature script “A Thousand Words”: “You write like John Hughes.”
Here’s the crazy embarrassing part: up until now I had never actually seen a John Hughes film in its entirety. And I gotta say, I feel pretty damn proud right about now.
One of the things my professors would warn us about as we were writing scenes-especially one that multiple characters- was to make sure there was conflict, there was a clear winner and loser of the scene, and to avoid “talking heads.” “Talking heads” are just characters in a room with nothing happening but useless conversations.
“The Breakfast Club” was a brilliant movie with surprisingly good acting, and some of the best dialogue I’ve heard in a movie as a whole. Dare I say that the dialogue and scenes were almost “Tarantino-ish.” They were long with limited cuts at times that had this barrage of dialogue rolling like heavyweight punches. The whole movie takes place in a high school as five kids of completely different social statuses and flaws endure Saturday detention together. Under the not-so-watchful eye of a tyrant principal who just can’t get enough of telling the students how they are the scum of the earth and fail at life, each one of these kids face their personal demons while the others watch.
If you’re between the ages of 12-18, this could be very therapeutic. If you’re older than that, it will take you back to a time when life was both simpler and yet the most traumatic at the same time. Watch this movie and really LISTEN to its message.