The Breakfast Club at 30

emilio-estevez-1128823463What The Breakfast Club meant and still means, to not only me, but a whole generation of  Gen-Xers, is not just a movie, or a fun romp (I say that) movie starring the main members of the Brat Pack. It was the first, and perhaps the best, movie that spoke directly to us. Whether you were an athlete, brain, princess, criminal, a basket case, or like me, some combination of them. For most of us, there was a character in this film that was us, or enough like us to be our window into this experience. We didn’t know or care that Shermer, Illinois doesn’t really exist, or while we were watching and sucked into this film, we were in detention.

What this movie was really about was acceptance, something there was very little of at the time. Everyone had to fit into a certain group, or they would not be accepted by anyone and be a social outcast. This film, amazingly written by John Hughes, showed us that even the people who had managed to fit into a group, still felt like the rest of us who hadn’t, and also struggled with the same problems that we did.

The Breakfast Club taught Generation-X about understanding and tolerance. If it were made today, or a rebooted as is the trend in Hollywood at the moment, there would be a larger or at least a different mix of people. There would be someone to represent the LGBTQI community, the African American and Asian as well. How would this differ from The Breakfast we know and love? Look no further than today’s hit television show Glee.

Glee has picked up the baton and ran with it. It is a High School drama musical that has expanded the five types to an infinite amount of types. Like the transgendered Unique, the gay and lesbian characters like Kurt and Blaine (Klaine) or Brittany S. Pierce and Santana. There is even Coach Beist, going through a female to male gender reassignment.

My personal experience with The Breakfast Club was a fun one. I was about 13. It was summer, and for the first time I was old enough to stay home while my parents went on vacation.  I rented a VHS copy of the movie, along with a few others, to watch while I had my weekend alone. I don’t remember the other movies at all. When I watched The Breakfast Club for the first time, I was sucked in to the TV and magically transported to this world.  Like a good book, when it was finished, I didn’t want it to end, so taking advantage of my VCR’s newest feature, auto repeat, and my propensity for obsessing over entertainment, I embarked on a 50 hour no sleep, only stopping to run to the local convenience store for Jolt Cola and Pixie Stix, Breakfast Club marathon.   Watching the film about 50 times in those two days, it became ingrained in my brain, and it’s difficult for me to differentiate the memories of the world in that film and my own. So I suspect like a lot of us, it was, and is a part of our lives.

The Breakfast Club is more than a movie, It is the definition of my generation.


“Dear Mr Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But 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. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.”