30 years of The Breakfast Club

I find myself wondering why after 30 years this remains my favorite movie. After all, at 44 it’s kind of embarrassing that it is the first movie that pops into my head when I am asked the favorite movie question. Over the years others have come very close, but nothing has touched me like this.

I think part of it is the social commentary of the class system in a country without a class system. How those classes are forced to coexist, moving through an educational system like sheep, designed to prepare us for the industrialism of times now gone by. Who stays in a job from start to retirement anymore? Most corporations wouldn’t even allow that; too expensive for the bottom line.

Part of it is where the interiors and exteriors blend and what happens when we’re forced to come face-to-face with our Truth. Jud Nelson’s performance as the “hood” or tough guy all the while his eye betray him, giving a glimpse to the little boy who hurts and just wants to fit in, be safe, and loved, something he doesn’t get from his family (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN64ta25VBA). His anger about that and his willingness to sacrifice himself for the group (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpriWNBHCVk). I always wondered how he knew all the words to that song as it certainly was not popular in 1985.

Or take the “jock” who is strong and confident but bows to peer pressure, trying to be gallant and protect the “princess”, who just wants to be loved and feels all alone when surrounded in popularity. The “weirdo” who is resourceful and, though neurotic (who isn’t), probably had one of the brightest futures ahead of her. And finally, the “geek.” You know, the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerburg. The dude so smart and pliable, he’d make millions without going to college and could probably get into any college, but has the social skills of a slug. Okay, they are better than that, but definitely stunted.

Everything changes with a little medicinal herb and the walls are scaled to reveal what’s really on the inside. But the high wears off, the day ends, people part ways, and we hear the voice of the “geek” reading the essay, “we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions”.

The bottom line is it matters most for us to know ourselves, we rarely ever reveal who we truly are unless we’re forced- by detention or the safety of a relationship. We wear the mask to feel safe, accepted, and loved.  As the Breakfast Club teaches us, it’s in the moments of truthful introspection and revelation that we know safety, acceptance, and love. Those moments change everything, including ourselves.

Happy 30th Birthday Breakfast Club!