Gone to the Movies is a
monthly occasional feature that I do with Becky from A Fool’s Ingenuity. We decided to watch some old favourite romance movies (and some we’ve never seen before) together – and talk about them a bit, kind of like we would with books. You can also check out our previous chat on Romancing the Stone and When Harry Met Sally!
The movie we picked for this issue is The Breakfast Club. (IMDb) We picked it because it’s a classic, though not exactly a romance – and because I hadn’t seen it before! It’s also extremely comforting to say that this movie is older than I am. :)
Don’t forget to check out Becky’s post right here. I believe she has seen it before so you’ll get a different perspective for sure.
I liked The Breakfast Club a lot. It’s a very 80s movie, that goes without saying, and probably wouldn’t work as a blockbuster in the 21st century but I definitely see its claim to popularity. I liked the dynamics of this high school scene, it was very well done, I thought. The introduction of that horrible teacher as the authority figure that unified an otherwise incompatible group of teenagers was really good.
I have to say, though, that this kind of social segregation isn’t familiar to me. I always watch these American high school movies with some bemusement (the same goes for books) because our high schools are run in a very different manner. Of course, there are differences and cliques and all, they’re just more accidental than thematic.
Let me explain: here, you have the jock, the geek, and the beauty queen, for example. The queen would be a cheerleader these days (I don’t remember if she was actually a cheerleader then?). And it’s their extra-curricular activities that determine who they hang out with, right? Who they sit with at lunch?
In Slovenian high schools, the first thing you have is a class that stays together for the entire school day. Apart from separating girls and boys for PE classes, the entire class has the same exact schedule. So there’s no “Hey, aren’t we in English together?” going on. And if people do sports or learn other languages or belong to drama clubs, they do that in their private time after school and these activities are conducted at private establishments/clubs/whatever. So it’s very unlikely, actually, that you’d be in a football team with people from your school.
There’s usually no cafeteria, either – most people go to a nearby supermarket or sandwich shop for their snacks, and people eat lunch at home after school. So there’s no fretting over sitting positions, either. :)
Also, we don’t go to schools according to whichever is closest (we do for primary school): I picked a school in the centre of Ljubljana even though there were at least 7 high schools closer to my home. We pick them according to our grades and our interests (my high school was very, very good + offered great language courses and I went there because I had very good grades). A lot of people commuted from all over Slovenia to get there or they stayed in student housing during the week.
So what I’m trying to say is that you pick who you hang out with at school based on different criteria. My group of friends included my two closest friends from primary school (but we didn’t go to the same classes) + people with, say, a similar taste in music, some people from another school from the other side of the town and even some younger folks. I’m not even sure what kept us together.
So this detention (oh, right, there’s no detention of this kind, either!) scene is somewhat weird for me. I mean, I’ve seen them in other American high school books/movies, it’s just not something I ever went through as a teenager.
I liked how the characters’ personalities clashed and how they explored their reasons for being the way they are. How their prejudices worked against them, how they would never have even talked if it wasn’t for this Saturday of mandatory boredom.
What I didn’t like (but is probably normal considering the movie is 30 years old) is the fact that the pathological liar receives a beauty makeover and is instantly made attractive to the jock. *sigh* I also thought the plaid-shirt-wearing asshole (sorry, I’m terrible with names) was too extreme at times – I would have punched him on his crooked nose long before he had the chance to say any of those things to me. But hey, what do I know of teenage dynamics in the 80s, right?
It was a good movie to watch, I’m glad I finally decided to see it. It has definite re-watch potential, too – more on which you can find in Becky’s post, so don’t hesitate to head over there for a different point of view! :)
Have you seen The Breakfast Club? Do you consider it a classic, too?
What was your high school experience like?
I’d love to hear from you! :)