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John Hughes
Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Paul Gleason
Writing Credits:
John Hughes

They only met once, but it changed their lives forever.

The Breakfast Club, an iconic portrait of 1980s American high school life, is now available in an all-new digitally remastered Flashback Edition with never-before-seen bonus features! When Saturday detention started, they were simply the Jock, the Princess, the Brain, the Criminal and the Basket Case, but by that afternoon they had become closer than any of them could have imagined. Featuring an all-star ’80s cast including Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, this warm-hearted coming-of-age comedy from writer/director John Hughes helped define an entire generation!

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$45.875 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/16/2008

• Audio Commentary with Actors Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson
• “Sincerely Yours” 12-Part Documentary
• “The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack” Featurette
• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Breakfast Club: Flashback Edition (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 4, 2008)

For me, 1985’s The Breakfast Club remains a little special due to one reason: it was the last of John Hughes’ teen movies that came out while I still attended high school. It hit theaters a brief time before I graduated in June 1985, so it provided the final flick to which I could theoretically relate. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and the like all came into existence when I was a college man, so it wasn’t quite the same for me.

Club offers one other less personal difference from its brethren: it gives us the only Hughes high school movie with an “R” rating. I remembered the flick as being more serious than its siblings, but I’d not seen it… cripes, I don’t think I’d watched the flick since it came out in 1985. This new “Flashback Edition” of the film felt like a good time to revisit my high school days.

Set during Saturday detention at Shermer High in suburban Chicago, Club introduces us to the five students under punishment. All of them come with stereotypes attached. We meet Andrew “The Jock” Clark (Emilio Estevez), Brian “The Brain” Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), John “The Criminal” Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire “The Princess” Standish (Molly Ringwald) and Allison “The Basket Case” Reynolds (Ally Sheedy). Stuck in school with hard-edged teacher Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason), the students get to know each other through the course of the day.

Not much of a plot, is it? During college, I once went to a party and had a very drunken bonding session with a burly wrestler. He bemoaned that everyone viewed him as a dumb jock, and I complained that people just saw me as a tubby dork. (Not the case anymore - I’m no longer tubby! Dork? Jury’s still out.)

Take that whiny bout of bonding, remove the booze but add some pot and make it five high school students instead of two college guys and you have Breakfast Club. Don’t take that as an attack on the flick, for I don’t mean to connote that it’s a drag. While I can’t call Club a classic – at least not for anyone over the age of 17 – I think it entertains well enough.

As a 41-year-old, I obviously bring a rather different perspective to the flick than I did when I was 18. Some art stays with us as we age; heck, I’ll defend the hit parade of 1985 until the day I die. Movies like Club don’t stay relevant to us as we get older, however. We might maintain some nostalgic affection for them, but we can’t really identify with the teen-centric ruminations.

This does mean, however, that Club will stay timeless for kids of a certain age. I don’t know how current teens will deal with the movie's dated music and fashions, but I’m sure they’ll still relate to its themes and characters. As 2008’s documentary American Teen shows, the archetypes viewed in Club never change, so the film will always have a punch for its intended audience.

Will Club actually work for anyone above the age of 17? Yeah, to a moderate degree. The movie combines moments of melodramatic character revelations with light comedy. It’s not the cleanest combination of tones, as Hughes shifts among them without much clarity. The funny bits work the best, as they don’t require us to put up with teen self-pity. Hall gets some of the movie’s most amusing bits, though all the actors manage to deliver a few laughs.

Although I know the dramatic moments will give Club its relevance for teens, those are the parts that become the most difficult to endure for adults. Seriously – don’t any of these kids have decent home lives? The bonding/revelations get tedious.

Despite those moments, Club keeps our attention most of the time. A good cast helps. Nelson’s Bender is nothing more than an Eighties iteration of the Angry Young Man, another rebel without a clue, but I think he does well with the part. Bender is a smug prick, and Nelson delivers that personality in a convincing manner.

Ringwald surprises just because she looks pretty good. When the movie first came out, I assumed that Sheedy – so cute in WarGames – would play The Princess, while gawky Ringwald would be The Basket Case. The role-reversal took me off-guard, but it works. Ringwald seems more attractive than ever, and Sheedy delivers a quirky, offbeat turn as Allison. Maybe a little too quirky, I must admit, but she still does effective work.

While predictable, dated and melodramatic, The Breakfast Club still musters decent entertainment value. Maybe I like it just because of nostalgia, but I don’t think so. Though the flick doesn’t excel, it usually works.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

The Breakfast Club appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie featured a pretty lackluster transfer.

Sharpness varied. The movie usually looked acceptably detailed but rarely much more than that. Not too many scenes were really ill-defined, but few came across as particularly distinctive, as most of Club was acceptably concise and no more. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and edge enhancement was absent.

Colors seemed erratic. They displayed the usual Eighties murkiness at times, but they also occasionally looked more vibrant and distinct. For the most part, the hues came across as somewhat flat. Black levels tended to appear decent – if a little inky - while shadow detail was acceptable. Neither of those elements excelled, but they weren’t bad.

A mix of source flaws interfered at times. I noticed a mix of light specks and marks. None of these seemed excessive, but they created distractions. Given the movie’s age, I thought this was good enough for a “C+”, but that was about it.

Nothing special emerged from the audio of The Breakfast Club either. The DVD featured both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. The pair seemed virtually identical – and redundant, since this wasn’t exactly a flick with a lot of sonic ambition.

A chatty movie, the soundscape didn’t open up too much. Music disappointed, as the pop/rock songs and score remained essentially monaural. They boasted a little reverb in the side and rear speakers, but that was all; there was no real stereo imaging in terms of music.

Effects broadened matters in a minor way. A few scenes made slightly more active use of the various channels, and I even heard one or two split-surround elements. Nonetheless, the flick really concentrated on dialogue, so effects didn’t have much to do. This was a track with a narrow focus.

At least audio quality seemed good. While the absence of stereo music disappointed me, I did think the songs and score sounded positive. Those elements showed good range and depth, so the tracks reproduced them well.

Effects remained a minor part of the mixes, so they didn’t stand out in any way. Those elements seemed accurate enough, but they weren’t memorable. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Not enough happened here to elevate my grade above “C+”, but other than the absence of stereo music, the audio was perfectly fine.

For this “Flashback Edition” of The Breakfast Club, we get an audio commentary with actors Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson. Along with moderator/DVD producer Jason Hillhouse, the pair sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast, rehearsals and performances, working with director John Hughes and the other filmmakers, sets and locations, and a few production stories.

Though the track starts out well, it loses steam after too long. During its early moments, the actors offer good reflections on their experiences. Unfortunately, as the commentary progresses, we hear more praise, less information, and too many dead spots. Fans will still find some good observations here, but this ends up as an inconsistent discussion.

Next comes a 12-part documentary called Sincerely Yours. In this 51-minute and nine-second piece, we get the usual mix of archival elements, movie clips and interviews. We hear from Hall, Nelson, Heathers director Michael Lehmann, Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, Washington Post writer Hank Stuever, costume designer Marilyn Vance, Pretty Persuasion director Marco Siega, Fast Times at Ridgemont High director Amy Heckerling, and actors Ally Sheedy and John Kapelos. “Yours” looks at director John Hughes and his take on teen life, musical choices, aspects of the script and story, rehearsal, characters and performances, costumes, and the film’s reception/legacy.

“Yours” mixes good facts with lots of fluff. Much of the program simply discusses the greatness of John Hughes, as well as the wonderfulness of Club itself. We do find a reasonable amount of interesting information along the way, but the package gets a bit tough to take. I think there’s enough useful material here to make it worth a look, but it’s an inconsistent program.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a featurette entitled The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack. This five-minute and 34-second short includes notes from Lehmann, Stuever, Sheedy, Hall, Nelson, Kapelos, New York Press editor-in-chief David Blum, and Tiger Beat and Bop magazines associate editor Marc Cuenco. We learn about how the “Brat Pack” moniker came into being and aspects of that term’s usage. It’s a short but interesting piece, largely because term inventor Blum appears.

While The Breakfast Club lacks the relevance it boasted for me when it hit in 1985, it still has its moments. I could live without all the melodrama, but there’s enough good material here to make it interesting. The DVD provides generally average picture and audio as well as some decent extras. This isn’t a great release, but it’s acceptable and will probably be enjoyed by the flick’s fans.

Note that you can buy The Breakfast Club either on its own or as part of a three-movie “High School Flashback Collection”. In addition to Club, this package includes Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. With a list price of $39.98, the set is a good deal for fans of the flicks; essentially, it acts as a “buy two, get one free” deal.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2941 Stars Number of Votes: 17
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