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.