So I watched the Breakfast Club the other night. Classic John Hughes 80s film with Brat Pack members Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson. I know I must’ve seen it 50 times during the course of my life. It came out in 1985.
The first thought I had observing the film, after having gone to high school myself as a freshman in the fall of 1985, was that the school library was pretty incredible. Even by today’s standards. Other than the fact that it wasn’t covered in computer technology and full of wifi, it was two stories, open air, full of books and beautiful large sculptures, everything labeled nicely, and looked like a nice private university library in an upscale area of the country. It had special side rooms for language labs and music. There was one scene where Anthony Michael Hall, while high, was tossing vinyl records about the room. (Please note that vinyl is making a comeback.)
A few observations of 1985 and 2015:
If a high school principal talked to students today like Principal Vernon did to the students in that movie….he or she would be sued, forced to resign, shamed on social media, tarred and feathered, paraded around town with his or her head on a stick, followed and pursued by several news vans…and then the principal’s family would be forced out of town and in hiding. Then there would be a reality show about their new life in the Alaskan wilderness.
Anthony Michael Hall’s character, named Brian, was suspended for bring a flair gun to school. He admitted that he was suicidal after having failed a shop class project. Today, he would not just have a Saturday suspension. Instead, he would be expelled, arrested and brought up on terrorism charges. The flair gun would be considered a Weapon of Mass Destruction. “Brian Johnson” would be on a terror watch list, and he would no longer be able to fly on a plane. His first grade classmates would be interviewed by Inside Edition about “that time when Brian cried and wanted to hit Little Johnny in the face because Little Johnny was saying mean things to him on the playground” and how his parents should have gotten him psychological help at that time and have him diagnosed with a multi-worded and lettered psychosis. The signs were there at age 6.
When Molly Ringwald’s character Claire walked into the (locked) storage closet that Judd Nelson’s character was (locked) in (see above about the consequences for Principal Vernon LOCKING a student in closet) … Claire wouldn’t have just simply kissed him if it had been 2015. Do I really need to continue?
Emilio Estevez’s character Andrew is a popular school athlete. While Judd Nelson’s character, John Bender….the stereotypical stoner loser bad boy from the abusive home, is making fun of Claire (because he really likes her and she is a popular prissy girl….), Andrew tells him to leave her alone, threatens to kick his ass, and stands up for Claire. He defends her honor. And she is grateful for that display of chivalry. Today? Andrew would walk away because he wouldn’t want to get involved. Andrew or Claire would go tell an adult that John Bender was verbally assaulting Claire in the library. Then he would be brought up on bullying charges, expelled for the year, sent to an alternative school, and brought into a Sheriff’s office for an interview just in case he also planned on stalking or sexually assaulting Claire.
Principal Vernon brags to John Bender about his $31,000 a year salary. Seriously.
Carl the Janitor. Seriously.
Andrew and the weirdo Allison (played by Ally Sheedy) go get Cokes from a Coke machine. In the school. Today? Andrew and Allison would go to a vending machine inside the school and only be able to get organic vegan orange juice made from free range gluten free toxin adverse genetically engineered pineapple pomegranates. And it would only take credit cards. And the kids wouldn’t have their credit cards because they would’ve forgotten them somewhere and need to call their parents to cancel them.
The students sitting in the library sat at their seats. When the Principal wasn’t around, they talked to each other. With words. They opened their mouths and spoke. Granted, John Bender was a jerk and said mean things to everyone, but they talked to each other. No texting. No Snapchats. No phones. No earbuds. No technology. Also, they brought their own lunch. Claire had sushi! The government didn’t show up and give everyone lunch. Even for John Bender, who did not have any food with him and who probably would qualify by today’s standards for Free and Reduced Lunch…which is apparently any kid regardless of income. John Bender had to either not eat lunch at all or steal someone else’s lunch or ask to share. Allison had pixie sticks in her lunch and she poured the sugar all over her bread. Then she took Captain Crunch and put the cereal pieces onto her sandwich. Today? The Police would come into the school and take Allison’s pixie sticks and Captain Crunch because that’s just too much sugar. They might even take away her bread if it isn’t Multigrain.
Claire and Allison, the only girls in the movie, were fully clothed. Their legs were covered. Both of their skirts were long. The only time anyone could have seen cleavage is when Claire was doing her lipstick trick, but we didn’t see anything…not really. I liked Claire’s boots. Glad boots are back.
The stashing of weed in a ziplock bag doesn’t appear to have changed in 30 years. I think they still do that today.
Anyway, these were just some of my observations of this classic movie. Some things are indeed timeless…and some things are not.