Not many movies take fifty times their production budget at the box office, but that statistic alone certainly helps to demonstrate the endearing popularity of this mid-1980’s teen comedy classic. Even though is an oddball comedy that harks back to perhaps more innocent times, in 2016 the U.S National Film Registry selected it for long term historical preservation. One can only wonder what coming generations will make of it, but as a movie of its kind, many people consider as one of the era defining 80’s flicks.
Synopsis Without Spoilers!
What would you do if stuck in a room all day, not permitted to leave and with nobody who in any way you have a single thing in common with? The 21st-century answer would course be to join Royal Vegas and play free video slots. Unfortunately, this is a Saturday detention and under the watchful – and increasingly antagonized – supervision of deputy principal Vernon.
Without spoiling some classic one liners and an increasingly far-out plot (quite literally when the marijuana is sparked up), let’s just say that it is difficult not to feel slightly sorry for Vernon as the day rolls by. The teen cast – all, of course, represent one cliche of 80’s high school subculture. We have the beautiful blonde, the jock, the resident crazy dude, the geek, and the near speechless introvert girl. All slowly start to realize they have common reasons for why they ended up losing their Saturday to detention duty, which involves writing a thousand word essay on ‘who do you think you are’.
Director & Casting
Not many people predicted The Breakfast Club becoming such a runaway success, and even though the young actors all went on to have careers that varied in success, the idea that the movie could have featured an alternative ensemble is near classic comedy heresy. Emilio Estevez, for instance, was penciled in for the role of the crazy Bender before Judd Nelson was appointed to the role (Estevez being recast as Andy Clark the jock). Even more bizarre, Nick Cage and John Cusack were also seriously considered as options for playing Bender before director John Hughes changed his mind at the last moment.
Hughes was, of course, one of the masters of teen comedy especially over the last couple of decades of the century, following the success of The Breakfast Club with similar classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off a year later, as well as the likes of Uncle Buck, Home Alone and Beethoven in subsequent years. The stars became fully ‘signed-up’ members of the brat-pack, joining a number of other talent teenage actors who again went on to have wildly varying careers.
Interesting Trivia About The Breakfast Club
* Allison’s dress had to be hand-made because no matter how far the costume team looked, they couldn’t find a suitably dull outfit. As she was the loner, it had to black or gray – two colors that were barely available in the bright and brash 1980’s!
* Estevez was originally going to be a Gridiron star. Hughes decided that Estevez simply didn’t have the right look for that sport, but being lean and wiry his character was instead changed to being the school wrestling champion.
* A surprising amount of dialogue including the iconic ‘stories scene’ when the kids discuss why they are in detention were completely or partially improvised. Hughes realized that he had a talented yet unpredictable cast – especially in the case of Nelson who stayed in combative character during the whole shooting of the movie. In fact, he was threatened with being cut for his aggression to other actors!
* We almost had ‘The Lunch Bunch’ instead. The name change only came about in passing when Hughes was having a casual reminisce of school detentions with a friend. His buddy – who was obviously a bit of a tear-away kid – said he was a fully signed up member of his school’s Breakfast Club, and so movie history was made.