Is Back to the Future the best film of the 80s? Well probably not, but at the end of the day, who cares? Released in 1985 the film featured one of the 3 versions of “The Power of Love”. No prizes are on offer for remembering the other two acts who had songs with the same title, but our hero was of course, Huey Lewis (and the News).
I think that Back to the Future grabbed me because of the irresistible hook of time travel. What would it be like to go back and see how our parents met? What would it be like to go forward into the future and see what becomes of us and / or our children? Perhaps the only slightly disconcerting aspect of the film is that fact that Marty is able to have such an impact on his father that there is the dramatic role reversal with him (George McFly) and Biff Tannen at the end of the film. But then of course, George was only standing up to (and beating) the bully, so perhaps it’s not so bad eh?
I can never remember, but it was either this or Ghostbusters that was the first film I was allowed to go to the pictures and watch on my own (well at least without me mum!). Ultimately B2F is a feelgood movie and along with the rest of the trilogy, good always seems to win out over narrow mindedness or meanness, anti-social-ism, call it what you will.
Is seminal an overused word? Possibly. However, in the case of The Breakfast Club I think that it can safely be employed. There is no other film which quite captures the zeitgeist of being a teenager (OK, an American teenager) like this one does – if there are they probably took their lead from John Hughes’ classic. In fact, please disregard my somewhat unnecessary comment about the fact that they are American teenagers. The roles that they portray are universal and I can certainly identify with one of the characters very closely – hint it’s not a female, and neither is it played by Emilio Estevez or Judd Nelson. I was certainly nerdy like Brian Johnson even if my attitude to work didn’t quite keep the analogy going.
The film is about the relationships between the five teens who seemingly have little in common than their dislike of the pompous, preening, borderline-psychotic Richard Vernon played so memorably by Paul Gleason. As they start to talk to each other, fuelled by a few ounces of dope they begin to see things from each others’ perspectives. As they reveal why they are in detention on this nondescript Saturday the barriers between them fall and they begin to like each other for what they are and not for how well (or not) they fit their previously narrow and blinkered views on the world.
I love The Breakfast Club and although I didn’t see the film when it was released in 1985 (remember this was in the days before multiplex cinemas, plus I had no money to go and watch every single film which caught my fancy) I was a big, sorry huge, fan of the film’s signature tune as played by Simple Minds – a seminal 80s track from a seminal 80s band (there I used it again, twice). So, naturally I did the next best thing and bought that instead.