Saturday, 21 February 2015

30 Years of The Breakfast Club

Three years before I was born, The Breakfast Club was released to cinemas in 1985. Whilst I may not have been around for the initial release, it soon became one of my favourite 80s films after I first saw it as a teenager. 

So join me as I count down some of the most memorable moments from the film that brought us a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.

Dancing in the Library

No 80s film is complete without some form of montage, and The Breakfast Club is no exception. Step forward the memorable dance montage in the library.

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic scenes in the film, the scene kicks off when Brian rigs up the record player in the office to play Karla DeVito's "We Are Not Alone." From here, each character gets down to boogie in their own way (my personal favourite is the Madness-esque walk performed by Bender, Brian and Andrew). 

Scene trivia: 
Director John Hughes originally intended for Molly Ringwald (the sophisticated and pretty redhead Claire in the film) to shoot the dance scene alone. However, the actress did not consider herself a good dancer, and had doubts about the scene being effective. So Hughes made a quick revision and included the rest of the cast to allow Ringwald to feel more comfortable. 

The last minute change was a welcome one, effectively showing the transition from a group of teenagers begrudgingly sharing the same room for a morning, to a unlikely but downright fitting group of friends. 



Whilst only a brief section of the film, each character's choice of lunch is a subtle and clever way of highlighting the stereotypes.

Andrew: An athlete and a wrestler, his lunch consists of multiple sandwiches, pieces of fruit, along with a super-sized bag of crisps. The abundance of food just helps to live up to his "jock" stereotype, whilst also highlighting his dad's focus on his own son's sport career (weight trainers and wrestlers will often intake a higher calorie allowance to build muscle).

Allison: The weird and quirky member of the group combines both crisps and sugar in a sandwich, whilst the other teenagers look on in bewilderment. This weird choice of lunch just affirms Allison's demeanour.

Claire: The Princess brings in sushi on an elaborate set up. This is to show that she comes from a rich family, as sushi is considered a more sophisticated, expensive choice of lunch.

Bender: The Criminal has no lunch, which strengthens his stories of the abuse he receives from his parents. His parents fail to care for him, and the lack of lunch only goes to show that.

Brian: At this point in the film, the audience are led to believe that the Brain has a good, normal home-life, whilst he achieves at school. His lunch is pretty normal, consisting of a sandwich, soup and fruit juice, reflecting his supposed life.

Scene trivia: 
The coke that the teenagers drink from have the Olympic sign printed onto them, due to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. 

The Chase

Parodied time and time again, the hallway chase scene is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. After sneaking out of detention, the group know they have to get back before the Principal returns. And so begins the famous chase scene, set to Wang Chung's "Fire in the Twilight."

Another montage-style scene (John Hughes was rather fond of them in his movies), the group slide left, right, up and down around the hallways, ending with Bender taking the bullet to get the rest of them safely back into the cafeteria without a hitch.

The Fist Pump/80s Freeze Frame

Concluding this fond look back at The Breakfast Club is undoubtedly the most iconic scene in the film. Utilising the familiar 80s freeze frame, Bender's final shot 'fist pump' on the field after the group have finished their time in detention sums up the end simply, but perfectly. 

At this point in time, we know that this group of stereotypical teenagers have grown from reluctantly sharing a room to friends who will most definitely look at one another differently in the school hallways from now on. 

"Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are.

You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basketcase, a princess, and a criminal.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club."

Scene trivia: 
Bender raising his fist in defiance was actually ad-libbed. Judd Nelson was originally supposed to walk off into the sunset, but director John Hughes encouraged him to film several takes, playing around with different actions. When filming was just about to finish, Nelson threw his fist up without letting anyone knowing first. Surprised by how effective his simple gesture was, Hughes decided to keep it as the closing shot of the film. Since then, the 'fist pump', accompanied by Simple Mind's "Don't You (Forget About Me)", has gone down as one of the most iconic and parodied scenes in film history. 

Happy 30th Anniversary, The Breakfast Club!

Kayleigh: @8_BitGirl 

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