Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club

I read this morning that this year marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most important movies of my life: The Breakfast Club. It turns out the film was actually released last month (plus thirty years) on February 15, 1985. In honor of the anniversary there will be a special Blu-Ray edition, and the movie will even be screened in a handful of much cooler places than the one where I currently live.

Why is this movie so important to me? For one, the me who lived in February of 1985 had just turned thirteen. Seventh grade...and boy does life suck. This girl hasn’t discovered contact lenses yet and her glasses are pretty grim. We’re talking oversized, round, with the lenses tinted brown. So that happened.

Though, come to think of it, 7th-grade me had to wait for this movie to come out on HBO…so we’re probably talking about 8th-grade me, who’s sadly not any cooler, and now staring down her first year of high school.  She’s got no idea how she’s going to play it. Could she reinvent herself in high school?

One fun game to play with this movie is to identify which character you are. It’s a pretty easy quiz:

Popular girl? =Claire
Popular jock boy?=Andrew
Nerd (either gender)?=Brian
Rule breaker/bad ass?=Bender
Weird outcast?=Allison
#@$%ing elephant was destroyed.
As much as I leaned nerd later in life, I have to say it was outcast-Allison that I always identified with. Probably because her story turned into a high school fairytale at the end when she hooked up with the cute jock.

Because that actually happens in real life.

But unrealistic endings aside, this movie’s awesome because it pulls five people out of their usual clique and forces them to interact. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was halfway tempted to blow up their shop project on the off chance they’d get assigned to Saturday detention with a cool bunch of folks. We’d dance and run through the halls and bond and make the one nerdy kid write our essay at the end of the day.

It’s a romantic view of high school, in a film made by adults who understood that you leave high school but it never completely leaves you. That’s why it’s so ironic when Allison announces “When you grow up, your heart dies.” At fourteen, I believed her—I thought I’d be all grown up someday, with a shiny Teflon skin that nothing could break through. That’s an even bigger lie than the idea that different social types  can genuinely get along (a notion later disproven by another important film of my life, Heathers).

But in the end it doesn’t matter if it’s true. I’ve never been to Saturday detention or given my earrings to a cute bad boy, but no one can ever take away my memories of the hours spent with my friends quoting this movie.