The Breakfast Club (30th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray Review
Every couple of years or so, a movie comes along that critics call “a movie for a generation” and although I’m not sure what that means, whenever I hear that, I think of John Hughes’s THE BREAKFAST CLUB. But THE BREAKFAST CLUB doesn’t just speak to the generation that were teenagers in 1985, it actually speaks to every generation. Because if you’ve been to high school, you can relate to the kids in the film, whether you went to school in the 50’s, 80’s or are currently in school. The cliques really don’t change that much, but what definitely doesn’t change is the fact that every kid is scared of the future, regardless of how much money they have, where they come from or how good they are at sports.
The premise is simple enough; five kids from extremely different backgrounds are serving detention on a Saturday morning. Andrew (Estevez) is the jock, Brian (Hall) is the nerd, Claire (Ringwald) is the rich kid, Allison (Sheedy) is the goth kid and John (Nelson) is the rebel loaner. They’re serving detention for a variety of reasons, but they’re united in their dislike of Principal Vernon (Gleason). John is the instigator, insistent on challenging Vernon at every turn and inadvertently uniting the group.
But THE BREAKFAST CLUB really isn’t about five kids serving a detention, or even about them facing off against Principal Vernon. The beauty if the film is the way in which director John Hughes slowly unravels the fact that each kid shares several things in common; they all have problems at home and they’re all scared of what the future might hold. The point being that kids are often times defined by what clique they gravitate towards, but the truth is that once you get past those ridiculous cliques, every teenager is pretty much the same. THE BREAKFAST CLUB is about as deep as Hughes gets and even in this, he has to smother the deeper themes with the comically villainous Principal, but the message is still there.
Of course, it helps that he cast five immensely talented actors to pull off the different characters, none more so than Anthony Michael Hall, who was in the middle of an impressive streak of movies. Molly Ringwald was fresh off of SIXTEEN CANDLES and once again managed to portray a girl that was both vulnerable and confident at the same time. The only complaint I still have with the casting is Judd Nelson, who does a fine job, but he was a good three years older than Sheedy and Estevez (both were 23 when the movie was released) and he looked it. It’s common for older actors to portray teenagers in movies, but they were probably stretching it with Nelson.
Everyone has their favorite John Hughes movie and although I’m partial to Ferris Bueller, THE BREAKFAST CLUB is a very close second. I was only seven years-old when the movie came out and I didn’t see it until I was in my teens, but even as a teenager in the 90’s, THE BREAKFAST CLUB was a film I related to. I imagine that kids today will get just as much out of it and that speaks volumes to the brilliance of John Hughes.
Video: I was a little skeptical about this “newly restored” transfer, but I have to admit that it’s a decent upgrade over the previous Blu-ray edition. It’s not night and day different, but the detail is sharper and the colors are more vibrant.
Audio: I didn’t notice much different about the audio, which still sounds fine.
Accepting the Facts: The Breakfast Club trivia track: This is actually the only new feature on the “40th Anniversary” edition. It’s a decent feature with standard trivia, but the only reason to upgrade to this edition is for the video transfer.
Commentary with Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall: This is a surprisingly good commentary from two members of the famed Brat Pack. They discuss that, along with specifics on filming the classic movie and their experiences working with Hughes and other crew members.
Sincerely Yours (51:11): This is an extensive 12 part documentary covering everything you want to know about THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
The Most Convenient Definitions (5:39): The term “the Brat Pack” came from a New York Times article and this featurette talks with the actors about the article and the famous term, which they apparently did not like.