Everything I need to know, I learned from 'The Breakfast Club'
Look, I don’t claim the ’80s. I am a ’90s kid through and through, even if I was alive for a few years in the crazy, acid-washed ’80s. My mom made us watch a lot of “classic” films when I was a kid, aka things she really loved. There’s a reason I have seen every Steve Martin movie, obviously. For some reason, I mostly missed the John Hughes era of movies—maybe my mom just wasn’t that into them? Regardless, she loved The Breakfast Club, which means she made me watch it when I was too young to even relate, but I obviously loved it anyway. And I love it now, and I can’t believe I have never written this before.
Hey kids, it’s back to school time. Try not to get detention.
EINTKILF The Breakfast Club
1. Everyone is different.
This is the first and biggest lesson of The Breakfast Club, and also the biggest DUH. Yes, we know now that everyone is different, but in high school, it can be a hard lesson to learn. Not everyone realizes that we are not all jocks, pretty girls, nerds, emo kids, or “bad boys” who have terrible parents. Okay, yes, there is a bit of problematic fave in this movie because the stereotypes are SUPER OBVIOUS, but also that was on purpose, right? Regardless, some of us were those people in high school, and that’s okay. Some of us were none of those things and just more like a well-rounded person who maybe smoked a cigarette but loved her parents or something? I didn’t smoke a cigarette in high school, but I’m basically Brian and no one else, so what do I know?
2. Labels are irrelevant.
And then of course as we get to know each character for the person they are and not for the stereotype they portray, you start to learn that you can never assume anything about anyone, right? Because everyone probably assumes that superstar Andrew has a great family life but he has to torture some kid to prove to his father that he is cool. And because everyone assumes that Claire is either a prude or a tease when in reality she is just a regular human girl trying to cope with the harsh realities of high school. All of the assumptions made about each of those students is washed away as they (and in turn, we) get to know them. Isn’t that life though? I know the assumptions people have made about me all of my life and they are almost always completely false. I hope no one is doing that to one another post-high school and if you are, please stop it.
3. Be true to yourself.
And speaking of assumptions, everyone pressures Claire to fess up to being either a prude or a tease by asking her if she’s ever slept with anyone before. She finally caves and tells the group that she is a virgin, and Allison admits that she was lying about her sexual escapades as well. Two things: a) it is absolutely, perfectly acceptable to be a virgin or to not be a virgin in high school or at any other point in your life, b) and also who cares what people think? Be true to yourself and forget about anyone that might judge you for it.
4. Detention is alright.
Okay, no, I never had detention and I’m not sure if we even had a Saturday detention like this at my high school, but if I learned anything from The Breakfast Club, it is that detention is really fun and cool and life-changing. Still, probably try not to get it, huh?
5. Dance like no one is watching.
Because every fantastic movie has a music and dancing montage!!! Or at least they should. Movies should either have a makeover montage or a dancing montage. If you can combine both, even better.
6. Being a woman is hard.
As Allison explains,
Beyond even that INCREDIBLY TRUE STILL TO THIS DAY point, Bender calls Claire a bitch, and even though she stands up for herself (“Why? Cause I’m telling the truth, that makes me a bitch?”) the fact of the matter is, it’s always easy for men to label women with derogatory terms. It was easy then and it’s easy now and being a woman means you have to have super thick-skin or the world can bring you down.
7. We will all be like our parents.
Okay, so I don’t think all of our hearts die as we get older, but I do think there is an inevitable truth to becoming like our parents. Sure, some of us may spend most of our early adult lives trying to avoid that truth, but as soon as you accept it, the better equipped you are to changing what you don’t like. I love my parents, but I don’t want to be exactly like either of them. Am I? Well, I guess time will tell…(but yes, I am my mother).
8. Teenagers should be taken seriously.
If you know any teenagers, you have probably rolled your eyes at them once or twice. Stop doing that. There is so much truth in teenagers—so much purity, so much honesty, so much open-mindedness and love. Yeah, teenagers can be dramatic, and presumptuous, and absolutely impossible to relate to—but aren’t we all? I know full-grown adults that are ridiculous. At least teenagers have a good excuse. I love teenagers, and kids for that matter. Now that my heart is dead as an adult, it is really reassuring to see teenagers learn and grow and experience. They aren’t wrong either. They are really not often wrong.
9. Anyone can fall in love with anyone.
I won’t pretend like Claire and Bender were super in love by the end of the movie or anything, but they certainly could stand each other a whole lot more, right? I never had this “bad boy / good girl” relationship in high school (or ever), but I do appreciate movies bringing opposites together. There is something about the way Claire and Bender critique each other so much throughout the film—even when it gets really harsh. It is natural that they would be attracted to one another by the end of a Saturday in detention / movie, depending on who you are in this situation.
10. Also, MOLLY RINGWALD RULES.
Sorry, but that just had to be a lesson.
Oh okay and also isn’t “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in this movie the most well-placed song in any movie ever? I mean, maybe not, but it’s top 5.