Pat Clark

Back for another helping of ‘Breakfast’

You might say I have an obsessive personality.

You might even say it’s clinical. That’s fine, say what you will. But I don’t get sick quite as often as a lot of people, I will know if my iron is unplugged no matter how many times I have to go back home to check, and I am a major factor in keeping the hand sanitizer industry afloat.

I also will watch a TV show or film or listen to a song repeatedly to the point of insanity if I really, really, really like it.

Just ask my former roommate, circa the 1980s.

She knows how obsessed I can become with, oh, say, a popular coming-of-age film starring Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and a few other Brat Packers of note. She knows how confounding it can be to walk into her apartment and find the same movie playing on the VCR (remember, this was the 1980s, people) day after day, week after week, month after month.

OK, so I didn’t watch “The Breakfast Club” every day for weeks or months on end. But I’m pretty sure it seemed like that to my roommate.

“What a shock, you rented ‘The Breakfast Club.’ I’m going to my room.”

On some level, I’m sure she saw humor in my fascination with the movie. Well, at least she does now. Actually, she also really liked the film – the first 250 times it played in our living room, anyway.

The 1985 John Hughes film is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and bringing back all sorts of memories.

I’m not sure what it was about “The Breakfast Club” that resonated with me. I was a recent college graduate, not a high school student like the characters in the film. I hadn’t been pegged as any one of the five stereotypical teenagers depicted – princess, criminal, brain, athlete or basket case.

Well, basket case is up for debate, but not to the degree of Ally Sheedy’s character. (Remember how she delighted in making “snow” fall on her drawing by scratching dandruff out of her hair? Ack!)

Maybe it was Nelson’s character, Bender. Like many other red-blooded American young women, I was completely enamored with the whole bad-boy thing. Blame it on rock ’n’ roll.

But “The Breakfast Club” was more than just Judd Nelson’s pretty face. Or Emilio Estevez’s, for that matter. It delved into teen angst, identity issues, parental issues and more, and has become an iconic piece of American filmmaking.

As Hollywood celebrates the movie’s anniversary, it’s getting a fresh dose of media attention. It also will get some Modesto attention: “The Breakfast Club” will screen at 7 p.m. March 26 at the State Theatre.

Honestly, I don’t think I ever saw it on the big screen, just off a cheap VHS player I bought with a new line of credit from Montgomery Ward.

Pinch me, because I can’t believe three decades have passed. Or that VHS players and Montgomery Ward have gone the way of the dodo bird.

Turns out it all has and, yes, the film is duly dated. Some of the vernacular, the rules, the punishments, they’re all relics of the era. Consider the infraction that sent Estevez’s character to a weekend day of detention: taping a commonly picked-on boy’s “buns” together in the locker room. Or that of Michael Anthony Hall’s character: hiding a flare gun in his locker.

Those are not simple detention offenses in today’s high school world. They’re potential crimes.

Some of the “teen talk” is embarrassingly ridiculous. Even at the time, Bender’s “neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie” retort was cringe-worthy. Was that ever a slang? Pretty sure they were tossing that one out there and hoping it would stick.

It didn’t.

Nevertheless, my son thoroughly enjoyed “The Breakfast Club” when we watched it several months ago (and, no, I have not continued to watch it obsessively for the past 30 years. It was on TV and my husband recorded it on a whim. It had been many, many years since I’d last seen it. I swear).

My teenager embraced the semi-recent historical nature of the film – you know, kind of like how people of my generation appreciated hieroglyphics on cave walls when we were his age.

Thankfully, he assured us that he’s never felt pressured or alienated like the teens in the movie, but he recognized some of the issues and angst among a few of his peers.

Yet when Sheedy’s character proclaims in one of the most heartbreaking moments of the film that, “When you grow up, your heart dies,” I wanted to cover his ears and shield him from that notion, or at least to promise him it doesn’t have to happen that way if you don’t let it.

The prospect of growing up and losing our youthful idealism and hope is not dated, not 30 years later and likely won’t be 60 years later, either. Some things still resonate year to year, decade to decade, generation to generation.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at pclark@modbee.com.

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