Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Not only was The Breakfast Club successful, making over $51 million dollars at the box office, it has been known as one of John Hughes' most memorable films of the 1980s. 

In Amy Dunkleburger book 'So You Want to Be a Film or TV Screenwriter?' she states: 
"John Hughes 1985 comedy-drama The Breakfast Club has been called the quintessential 1980s film. For audiences of the time, The Breakfast Club dramatized everything that was good and bad about the "me" decade - self-absorption vs. self-examination, conformity vs. rebellion, materialism vs. idealism. Along with Hughes's 1986 hit, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the film represents a high point in a genre that became hugely popular in the 1980s: the teen movie. 

The Breakfast Club addresses the superficiality of the 1980s. John Hughes' films show the exaggeration between the ''richies'' and those in the working class. We know that the yuppie lifestyle was important to the era and this is reflected in The Breakfast Club. The film shows the social separation and different groups within high school. The 80s suggested that what you had and who you were was more important that who you were as a person. 

The biggest issues for the teens are shown through their parents. Most of the characters dislike their parents. Alision, the character known as 'the basket case' says that it is impossible not to end up like you parents. This idea reflects the attitude of society and how what you are born with determines how you will live your life and who you will become. 

John Hughes reflects the idea that parents, both of the yuppie lifestyle and working class, were too concerned with other things rather than their children. John Hughes presents stereotypical characters and giving them a "real" representation as individuals rather than "types". 

The princess- parents using her in their divorce to get back at each other.
The criminal- gets a carton of cigarettes from his dad for Christmas, then reveals his dad's violent behaviour.
The athlete- bullied someone to impress his dad. He admits that he wrestles because his dad makes him. 
The basket case- she says that she is there because she has nothing better to do on a saturday, suggesting that she has been neglected by her parents.
The brain- is failing shop class and his family would not accept an F.

The teacher, Vernon, is used to act as a representation of the adult figure. 
Dunkelburger states:
"Vernon represents the worst of the adult world-it's bigotry, hopelessness and tyranny. He is more of an institutional force than an individual antagonist, but by belittling and disregarding the students, he motivates them to change". The teacher is used as a representation of all adults and how the teenagers feel towards their parents. 

I think that an important element of these teen films of the 1980s is that they focus on teens and how they are affected by generations above them that have grown up in completely different eras. The film represents the ways that the 1980s has produced children who feel that they need to rebel against their parents who have become so concerned and focused with money and material items. John Hughes was able to represent teens who are having real issues and how they deal with them during the 1980s.


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