The Breakfast Club (1985)

(On TV, February 2002) This renowned teen-anthem movie isn’t terribly compelling when watched a decade too late, but it’s still an intriguing portrait, and a much better teen-film than some of its late-nineties contemporaries. This surprisingly theatrical narrative -limited spatial location, successive soliloquies- follows a group of obvious genre clichés (the princess, the nerd, the jock, the rebel and the antisocial) as they’re stuck together in weekend detention. The featured adult also represents a full blown cliché, that of the ridiculously bitter principal. Don’t be so quick to dismiss this as paint-by-number screenwriting, though; while the film is quick to feature the staple sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, it manages to extract a surprising level of truth and emotion out of stock elements. Oh, when John Hughes was good…

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