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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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The Breakfast Club 
Brat Pack at it's best!!
3.5/4 stars

The way I judge the true quality and greatness of a movie is if I still find it as or more enjoyable today as I did when I first saw it. The Breakfast Club falls into that category. There's a reason that Entertainment Weekly listed this as the NUMBER ONE teenage movie of all time. I just saw this movie again a week ago, and was just as into it as I was in 1985. While it obviously has the dated 80s look in some of the characters (that's the way they looked back then; they can't help it) and music, the core theme of the film still resonates today.

It's about a group of disjointed, confused, and outcast youths who, in one way or another, are trapped by the circumstances of their schoolhouse cliques, family lives, and by themselves. But on one Saturday morning and afternoon while they are all in detention, all of their fears, secrets, and inner demons are revealed to each other, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Andy, John, Claire, Brian, and Allison all come reluctantly together and find they are not as different as they all thought on this Saturday, which represents a turning point in all their lives.

The cast is perfection. Five actors who were members of 'The Brat Pack' star in this movie: Emilio Estevez (Andy), Judd Nelson (John), Molly Ringwald (Claire), Anthony Michael Hall (Brian), and Ally Sheedy (Allison). Their various interactions are completely realistic, powerful, and poignant. And the two couples that pair off near the end are perfectly chosen. Of course there has to be an odd man out (and we all know who that is). What's amazing is that although some of these actors had worked together before and they were all friends in real life, they completely pull it off that their characters are essentially complete strangers (except for Andy and Claire, who travel in some of the same popular circles). All the performances still hold up today. That's a big reason the movie is still very good.

Additionally, Paul Gleason (as Principal Vernon), who has to oversee the 5 misfits' detention and John Kapelos (as Carl the Janitor) are perfectly cast. The scene where Nelson's rebellious John Bender and Gleason's authoritarian Vernon go back and forth may be the best scene in the movie. And Carl the Janitor's 'big' scene where he speechifies about knowing all their secrets is hilarious.

Make no mistake, even though this is easily classified as a 'teen' movie, there are some real powerful moments in it: the Bender-Vernon face-off, Andy's speech about what he did to get in detention and how remorseful he was about it (the long, tracking shot of just seeing Andy and no one else for a while added power to this moment), and Brian's all-too-real admission of why he got sent to detention (a real scary moment, this one hit me the hardest b/c I can relate to how he felt).

All in all, an extremely well done film that still holds up amazingly well today.



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