905 The Breakfast Club

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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oldsheperd
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#26 Post by oldsheperd » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:04 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:I grew up in a working class, 100% blue-collar part of Los Angeles and went to a school with some of the highest drop-out rates in the entire city. To give you an impression, my old school was in an early-nineties Cannon film called Crackhouse where a crack addict teenage sleeps with her teacher for drugs and a kid is stabbed in a restroom that beautifully captures the layers of paint covering up graffiti. That said, my time in high school during the early-2000s, John Hughes films were loved by the mostly Latino students of my school despite being as far away as possible from the class structures depicted in his films. I do sense that American cinema of the 80s started to eliminate people below the middle-class and revert them into criminals and thugs and that we've yet to escape from that, but John Hughes' sympathetic portraits of teenage life and feeling like an outcast still resonate with young people as always as he carefully avoids the cynicism that could really bring an audience member to question their economic privilege. Where's the criticisms for The Graduate, which if viewed from a reductionist standpoint can be whittled down to a story about a rich young man and his insecurities? It was only three years ago where I helped put together a screening of Ferris Bueller's Day Off for an audience of about 4,000+ people and just seeing the level of enthusiasm the film built up in people culminating with everyone singing and dancing along to the "Twist and Shout" sequence was proof of the effect John Hughes has on popular culture. It seems John Hughes transcends class and from my perspective through the people I've met, a director people love: from burnt-out cinephiles to a casual viewer.
I'm just stating what I see are issues regarding John Hughes overall work. Interesting that you bring up The Graduate. I feel that is the film's big flaw as well. Same goes for stuff like Tiny Furniture and other films where you have the aimless post-college graduate from an upper class, white background. As far as Ferris Bueller, I don't deny the enthusiasm for the movie, but each person is different. I find Hughes' upper-class lens to be inseparable from his overall themes. I disagree that Hughes views teenage life with sympathy. I think he tries, but it's overall very shallow. AMH's and Sheedy's characters are not treated with the same type of respect as the other three. Bueller's sister, whose only sin is not being cool, is castigated as antagonist. It's clear that the running theme through Hughes 4 big "teenager" films, Bueller, Breakfast Club, 16 Candles and Weird Science, is that conformity is the only way to be popular and accepted.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#27 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:08 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:Where's the criticisms for The Graduate, which if viewed from a reductionist standpoint can be whittled down to a story about a rich young man and his insecurities?
That film has been met with a fair share of backlash for some time now, at least decades. I can even recall Siskel and Ebert (about as mainstream as you can get) knocking it because of their newfound distaste for the central character.

As for "Twist & Shout," I do recall loving that scene as a child, but it was for the music, and I didn't even know who the Beatles were at the time - A Hard Day's Night made a convert out of me years later.

dda1996a
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#28 Post by dda1996a » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:19 pm

Which is the point of The Graduate. I still do think that film gets under the characters skin. Sure it isn't the film about sleeping with a milf people always make it up to be.
I think it's a different thing though. But anyway, I find the criticisms against films that revolve around rich white people.
Art is and should be about everything, and in the same way I would watch a film about low earning latinos/African Americans I would also watch Baumbach and Allen, no matter what my own social hierarchy is.

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Dead or Deader
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#29 Post by Dead or Deader » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:43 pm

This issue of class depiction in the films of John Hughes makes me think about the privilege of many acclaimed filmmakers in America. What modern American filmmakers could say they grew up with a working class/lower background?

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371229
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#30 Post by 371229 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:34 pm

Hmmmm, interesting all this dissing of Hughes among the Criterion intellectual elite here. I think many may be missing the point about Hughes as a director. Was he a great director, no. But was he a cheap "teenage-comedy" director either, no. The point about Hughes that I think many miss who dislike his cannon of work, was his consistency. Aside for the flop of "Curly Sue" (which has really no redeeming value whatsoever), I think most can agree that the films he directed attempted to achieve an authentic portrayal of teenage angst within the very superficial world of Hollywood film making. Did he ever make a perfect movie? No. Did he come close? Yes, a few times with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and Sixteen Candles. Are there things wrong with all three of those movies?... Of course. But I think these three movies left an impact on most teenagers at the time because they attempted to express ideas/feelings in an authentic way that most "teenage comedies" coming out of Hollywood could (or would) not.

I remember I watched The breakfast Club when I was a Junior in H.S. and walked away thinking some adult (the director) "gets" and "understands" me as a teenager. I had never seen an authentic feeling movie like that about my life before. Were there things wrong with the portrayal of the main characters in the movie? Of course. But the message I remember getting from the movie at the time was that you may feel all alone as a teenager (not even your closest friends understand the problems you may be dealing with), yet everyone deals with their own struggles and problems, which was very relatable. You weren't alone, even though you may feel like you are.

I went to a Catholic all boys H.S. and remember around this time going on a weekend retreat with our sister Catholic all girls H.S. across town. Over the course of the 3-4 day retreat, everyone dropped their masks and began to see each other as other people struggling with very similar teenage related problems (some worst than others). Life presents everyone with own personal problems (which you don't realize while interacting with most people during your day to day activities). Rich or poor... everyone has problems. Poor people may have worst problems than the wealthy... but no one escapes. As an adult now, this seems kind of like a rather trifling and obvious observation... but it wasn't to me at the time. It's tough being a teenager because you are forced to realize and deal with many things for the first time in life that you didn't have to as a child.

I think the brilliance of Hughes was that he "tried" to portray human beings with all their insecurities and imperfections within a comedic backdrop. And his attempt at doing so felt very authentic and different at the time. So he should be remembered and praised for this. Have you guys seen the crappy teenage comedies that have come out of Hollywood since the 1950s? Of course most of us have and realize that most (not all) portray teen age life in a cheap and inauthentic light. Hughes attempted to do something different. Do his movies belong in the Criterion Collection? I think most do... except for Curly Sue (the bane of my existence).

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#31 Post by John Shade » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:48 pm

Dead or Deader wrote:This issue of class depiction in the films of John Hughes makes me think about the privilege of many acclaimed filmmakers in America. What modern American filmmakers could say they grew up with a working class/lower background?
Chaplin and Capra immediately come to mind, but as for contemporary filmmakers...

This conversation reminds me of some Joyce anecdote which I will likely butcher (my teacher told me this years ago). It was something like a communist asking Joyce why his writing was only aesthetic and didn't deal with economic issues, and Joyce replied by saying he hadn't written about a character who had a stable bank account.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#32 Post by CSM126 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:03 pm

John Shade wrote:
Dead or Deader wrote:This issue of class depiction in the films of John Hughes makes me think about the privilege of many acclaimed filmmakers in America. What modern American filmmakers could say they grew up with a working class/lower background?
Chaplin and Capra immediately come to mind, but as for contemporary filmmakers...
British and Italian.

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oldsheperd
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#33 Post by oldsheperd » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:10 pm

371229 wrote:Hmmmm, interesting all this dissing of Hughes among the Criterion intellectual elite here. I think many may be missing the point about Hughes as a director. Was he a great director, no. But was he a cheap "teenage-comedy" director either, no. The point about Hughes that I think many miss who dislike his cannon of work, was his consistency. Aside for the flop of "Curly Sue" (which has really no redeeming value whatsoever), I think most can agree that the films he directed attempted to achieve an authentic portrayal of teenage angst within the very superficial world of Hollywood film making. Did he ever make a perfect movie? No. Did he come close? Yes, a few times with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and Sixteen Candles. Are there things wrong with all three of those movies?... Of course. But I think these three movies left an impact on most teenagers at the time because they attempted to express ideas/feelings in an authentic way that most "teenage comedies" coming out of Hollywood could (or would) not.

I remember I watched The breakfast Club when I was a Junior in H.S. and walked away thinking some adult (the director) "gets" and "understands" me as a teenager. I had never seen an authentic feeling movie like that about my life before. Were there things wrong with the portrayal of the main characters in the movie? Of course. But the message I remember getting from the movie at the time was that you may feel all alone as a teenager (not even your closest friends understand the problems you may be dealing with), yet everyone deals with their own struggles and problems, which was very relatable. You weren't alone, even though you may feel like you are.

I went to a Catholic all boys H.S. and remember around this time going on a weekend retreat with our sister Catholic all girls H.S. across town. Over the course of the 3-4 day retreat, everyone dropped their masks and began to see each other as other people struggling with very similar teenage related problems (some worst than others). Life presents everyone with own personal problems (which you don't realize while interacting with most people during your day to day activities). Rich or poor... everyone has problems. Poor people may have worst problems than the wealthy... but no one escapes. As an adult now, this seems kind of like a rather trifling and obvious observation... but it wasn't to me at the time. It's tough being a teenager because you are forced to realize and deal with many things for the first time in life that you didn't have to as a child.

I think the brilliance of Hughes was that he "tried" to portray human beings with all their insecurities and imperfections within a comedic backdrop. And his attempt at doing so felt very authentic and different at the time. So he should be remembered and praised for this. Have you guys seen the crappy teenage comedies that have come out of Hollywood since the 1950s? Of course most of us have and realize that most (not all) portray teen age life in a cheap and inauthentic light. Hughes attempted to do something different. Do his movies belong in the Criterion Collection? I think most do... except for Curly Sue (the bane of my existence).
I don't think I'm dissing Hughes at all. I tend to lean more towards the idea that Hughes was a "popcorn" filmmaker than an artist with anything relevant to say. For all my criticisms of it, I do think the Breakfast Club is an important film for the fact that it's an example of the romanticized ideas of Reagan's "Morning in America." I think the same could be said of films like "Back to the Future," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many other films from that era.

As far as "The Graduate" goes, I think there is a fair degree of cynicism aimed the protagonist and the ideals of his generation. That's clearly evident in the last shot of the film where after he and Katherine Ross take off in this storybook ending they soon realize that there's no there there.

calculus entrophy
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#34 Post by calculus entrophy » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:31 pm

I think the same could be said of films like "Back to the Future," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many other films from that era.

I don't think you have a good grasp to compare those 2, or even the lesser Pretty in Pink and Weird Science. There was a clear delineation where the others were pure comedy/romance, whereas The Breakfast Club was a generation defining adolescent catharsis. It was the "Big Chill" of that era. Don't You Forget About Me was a universally beloved anthem, played literally constantly on stations ranging from alternative to pop. Maybe that's hard to believe now, and I can see that.

But no matter how far-fetched the above might seem, I'm just glad that I lived through it, or else I'd probably be thinking that all those films were in the same bucket back then. They sure weren't.

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371229
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#35 Post by 371229 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:52 pm

Very much in agreement. The Breakfast Club was clearly a product of its time. I definitely wouldn't call it a popcorn flick. Back to the Future was a popcorn flick, which came out roughly during the same time... but obviously not a Hughes film. BTTF was aimed at a much larger audience, where as TBC was definitely aimed at teenagers. I remember my parents not "getting it" when they finally saw it. So I felt redeemed at the time. But then again... maybe I'm reading too much into this discussion.

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oldsheperd
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#36 Post by oldsheperd » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:57 pm

calculus entrophy wrote:
I think the same could be said of films like "Back to the Future," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and many other films from that era.
I disagree. I think that I make a fairly cogent argument that these films reflect the attitude of the Reagan "Laissez Faire" era fairly well. Along with blockbusters and slasher films, these type of pop-bubble gum films made up a fair share of American cinema in the 80s. Compare that with the stuff from the 70s which reflected a lot of the attitude of the post-Vietnam and Watergate dread of America of the time. Films like "Breakfast Club" and "Back to the Future" are a complete reflection of the Reagan era attitude of defining yourself by what you have and your station in life comparable to the Jones'.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#37 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:49 pm

To be fair, Back To The Future II is almost entirely about the downside of that attitude.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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371229
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#38 Post by 371229 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:58 pm

oldsheperd wrote: Films like "Breakfast Club" and "Back to the Future" are a complete reflection of the Reagan era attitude of defining yourself by what you have and your station in life comparable to the Jones'.
I think that's a fair assessment... but it doesn't give a full explanation of the crux behind TBC. Maybe the special features on the disc will provide us with better insight.

mteller
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#39 Post by mteller » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:52 pm

371229 wrote:Was he a great director, no.

But was he a cheap "teenage-comedy" director either, no.

Did he ever make a perfect movie? No.

Did he come close? Yes, a few times with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and Sixteen Candles.

Are there things wrong with all three of those movies?... Of course.

Were there things wrong with the portrayal of the main characters in the movie? Of course.

Do his movies belong in the Criterion Collection? I think most do... except for Curly Sue (the bane of my existence).
Do you ask a lot of rhetorical questions? Yes you do.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#40 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:27 pm

I think I've only seen Hughes' Ferris Bueller -- which I recall very much NOT liking.....

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#41 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:01 pm

mteller wrote:
371229 wrote:Was he a great director, no.

But was he a cheap "teenage-comedy" director either, no.

Did he ever make a perfect movie? No.

Did he come close? Yes, a few times with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and Sixteen Candles.

Are there things wrong with all three of those movies?... Of course.

Were there things wrong with the portrayal of the main characters in the movie? Of course.

Do his movies belong in the Criterion Collection? I think most do... except for Curly Sue (the bane of my existence).
Do you ask a lot of rhetorical questions? Yes you do.
Was that really necessary?

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#42 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:44 pm

Was that really necessary? Maybe not.

Did it make me chortle out loud?... Of course.

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#43 Post by The Narrator Returns » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:47 pm

Did it make me laugh because it reminds me of Robert Evans? You bet your ass it did.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#44 Post by swo17 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:48 pm

Is it a rhetorical question if it is immediately followed by an answer?

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zedz
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#45 Post by zedz » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:53 pm

I thought it was a catechism.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#46 Post by beamish13 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:42 am

Dead or Deader wrote:This issue of class depiction in the films of John Hughes makes me think about the privilege of many acclaimed filmmakers in America. What modern American filmmakers could say they grew up with a working class/lower background?

Charles Burnett grew up in the most impoverished American community to be situated west of the Mississippi River.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#47 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:39 pm

I think the thing I have always most liked about The Breakfast Club was the claustrophobic, chamber piece setting of it! Its like the teen drama version of a prison drama in some ways, which is why the Principal is a rather larger than life monstrously cruel jailer figure, patrolling the halls and halting break-out attempts! (Who of course, like the majority of adults in a John Hughes film, is jealous of his own lost youth being thrown back into his face by all these young punks!) And it might just be me, but I like the idea of spending an idle Saturday locked in a private library full of books to look through! I wouldn't have been doing anything as subversive as dancing on tables, as all these young hooligan characters do! :P

Of course all the dramas are petty in the bigger scheme of things, and the cliquish divisions arbitrary and unhelpful (though methods of self-preservation in the cruel society of High School, like inevitably having to join one particular prison gang or the other! Unless you are the crazy 'lone wolf' figure, seen both as the epitome of cool and most viewed with suspicion!), but that's what makes this work so well on multiple revisits as a nostalgia piece too, dealing with simpler times and wackier fashions. All the dire threats from Parents and Principals are nothing when there's still a hope of a possibility of reinvention and renewal in the character's future adult lives.

By the way Robert Rodriguez does a fun homage to The Breakfast Club's character archetypes in his Body Snatchers-like monster movie The Faculty (A girl I knew in college took me to see it at a cinema in Sheffield and informed me about the Breakfast Club connection. I, in turn, introduced her to Sight & Sound when she asked why I was trying to cover up part of the page to take a quick look at the review of the film whilst we were waiting in the cinema lobby, and she was amazed that the whole plot synopsis got routinely spoiled in the magazine! But she was the coolest cinephile friend to have at that time - we saw Out of Sight, the South Park movie, American Psycho and Go over the course of a couple of years! Plus she was really looking forward to the Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho, but sadly I never found out what she thought of it!)

Though since The Faculty is a Dimension Films release with a brief cameo by one Harry Knowles in it, it might be awkward to watch at the moment!

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domino harvey
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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#48 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:14 pm

The Faculty is my favorite version of the omnipresent Body Snatchers story, I'll heartily second the recommendation

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#49 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:14 pm

And maybe the only chance you'll ever have of seeing Jon Stewart in a horror movie.

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Re: 905 The Breakfast Club

#50 Post by Werewolf by Night » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:55 pm

Death to Smoochy doesn't count?

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