The Breakfast Club With 2020 Eyes

“Eat my shorts!” Iconic Bart Simpson? Or iconic Bender? The Breakfast Club is probably one of the most popular 80’s films to hit pop culture. The movie directed by John Hughes produced some of Hollywood’s biggest stars: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and Paul Gleason. YouTubers The Beat Goes On, Caleb Watches Movies, Carpool Critics and Cinematic Venom give their retrospective reviews on the film and decide if it is still relevant in today’s society.

Few films before The Breakfast Club so earnestly show what it truly meant to feel the angst of a teenager … previous teen films often felt like 40-year-old’s writing about the teenage perspective but this film felt like actual teenagers wrote it.

One of the main reasons why this film became so iconic was its ability to resonate with the teen audience and actually feel raw and relatable to their lives, according to The Beat Goes On. The film centers around five students, each with their own distinct personalities belonging to a different high school archetype: the jock, the princess, the rebel, the brain, and the outcast. And as the characters are all stuck in detention together, they begin to realize they all have much more in common with each other than they had initially expected leading to the classic theme of self-discovery, which continues to be relevant with teenagers today:

This film is so intelligent with its use of conversation and debating back and forth between these characters

One side note made by YouTuber Cinematic Venom, was the thought of an eight hour detention on a Saturday being highly inaccurate and probably would never actually happen in the real world. He compared this dramatization to the film Matilda: “eight hours…are you the Trunchbull’s brother?...does this really happen?”

YouTuber Caleb Watches Movies found the characters, especially Brian, to be so relatable to his real life and applauded director John Hughes for being able to accurately portray and showcase the minds of teenagers. He was also baffled by the one million dollar budget of the film that ultimately gross almost 52 million in theaters:

One million dollars for this movie, and it’s one of the greatest teenage comedies, dramedies of all time and it's all due to the fantastic characters we have here.

Cinematic Venom agreed that the performances of the actors and the scripts ability to really get into the minds of these characters created a true representation of teenagers feeling like freaks, wanting to rebel, wanting to be respected and wanting to be understood:

The characters are all interesting and memorable…the performances are great and the script is brilliant … Hughes understood teenagers and how they act and think and this movie shows that, it breaks down the teenage mind and really hammers on some powerful messages.

He noted that the film, being just over an hour and a half, was able to focus on each character, all of their backstories, all of their motivations and really dive into their character development all as they were interacting with each other in one day.

There were some aspects of the film that did not sit well with critics such as YouTubers Carpool Critics. The group of friends all noted one big issue with the film: the fact that there was no clear plot and that it mirrored every teen movie portraying the same exact characters,

I think it definitely suffers from that watching it here in 2020 … literally every teen relatable movie I’ve seen in my life has had this archetype setup where there’s a jock, there’s a brain, there’s a princess girl, there’s a criminal, they all have this.

They also recognized that though they were trying to analyze this film in a different decade perspective of the 80’s, there were some moments that would be very problematic in 2020. One example is of Bender’s toxic masculinity nature towards Claire when he is shown to supposedly sexually harass Claire while hiding under her desk. They go on to say that though, at the end of the film, when Bender and Claire end up kissing, they find this unrealistic that a girl would fall for a man who clearly has no respect for her:

That’s actually one of the worst parts … Bender acts like a dick and does this stuff, like sexually harasses her underneath the table and then he gets the girl … it’s not a good message.

Carpool Critics also felt the marijuana scene was oddly placed and random. They felt the movie could have done without it and because of that questioned who the movie was really geared towards. Who was the audience? Was this movie really for teens?

The ending of the film seemed to be the group's biggest gripe. The fact that it was left up in the air of whether or not the newly formed relationships between the diverse group would remain after their Saturday detention was over and they went back to their prospective lives, really bothered two of the group members. However, one member believed that this aspect is what gave the movie its strength in portraying the reality that no one really knows what will happen:

I think that the ambiguous nature of that discussion is one of the strengths where in a more classic movie they would close it out and at the end they would be like see ya Monday … and it would have a definite answer, but this movie is more grounded in being like maybe we won’t and then they discuss it and then they actually have a breakthrough.

Overall, the YouTubers generally agreed that this film was enjoyable and for the most part still holds up to today’s standards of realistic depictions of teenagers and has definitely influenced and set standards for much of today’s films in the same genre:

Virtually all of the teen movies afterwards can credit The Breakfast Club as at least a partial influence

YouTubers The Beat Goes On, Caleb Watches Movies, Carpool Critics and Cinematic Venom review and discuss movies on their channels weekly.