Classic High School Movie

The Breakfast Club

Year: 1985
Directed By: John Hughes
Written By: John Hughes

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie is out of order in the blog because Amber just bought it the other day.  I was really pleased and surprised when she brought it home because I think it is a terrific movie.  I haven’t seen this movie all the way through since I was in high school, so I have really enjoyed revisiting it. I have never really connected with this film on a personal level and I think that’s why we haven’t owned it before.  It is an undeniable classic though and I always love adding classics into the collection.

Like when we have reviewed certain other classics, like Caddyshack or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I don’t think you need me to vouch for this film. Most people know how great this movie is because it’s the kind of movie nearly everyone has seen. If somehow you haven’t seen this movie there is really just one thing I think you should know before going in…it has nothing to do with breakfast.  I think the title The Breakfast Club is awesome but it is an unusual name for the movie. Early in the film the characters discuss the clubs that they are part of. Brian mentions that he is a member of a few math clubs and it is he that coins the title later in the film. Bender also asks the question “what club do you belong to?” Maybe after the time they have spent together and the things they shared with one another they belong to each other in some way, they are their own club at the end of the day.

John Hughes made many great and iconic movies but this one is near the top of his all-time greats.  We will have several opportunities to discuss John Hughes though, we own many of his films. His regulars Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were both at their best in this movie.  Emilio Estevez is good as the straight-laced jock.  Judd Nelson is incredible as John Bender, it is his role that makes the movie so great.  They are all great and bring something good to the film but I think Nelson set himself apart with his role. Paul Gleason always has been the guy he played in this movie when I see him, so I have never been a big fan.

This movie was the main reference point for the pilot episode of my current favorite tv show.  The first episode of NBC’S Community made several references to this film and it was actually dedicated to the memory of John Hughes, who had died recently.  It was a great tribute to a man who left a big mark on the industry, he was legendary and Community has continued to reference his films throughout the series.  Community is one of the most creative and intelligent shows I have ever seen and it is actually in danger of being cancelled now.  This is a show that thinks outside of the box, it’s clever and special, but it will be a casualty due to lack of ratings unless we all support the show. I implore anyone who reads this to watch Community when it returns to the NBC line-up. Watch the earlier seasons of the show online or on DVD and get ready for new episodes.  This is one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I really hope NBC decides to keep it going.

In closing I will simply say that it has been a lot of fun to see this movie again.  The soundtrack is worth mentioning before I wrap this up too, it’s a great contemplation of 80’s songs.  I love the Simple Minds song that serves as the theme for the movie, but doesn’t everybody? This movie is great and I think it is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ah. The Breakfast Club. We didn’t own this movie, that’s why it wasn’t reviewed with the “B’s.” When Ryan has a bad day at work or a bad in general, I know that I can go and get him a movie and the world is right again. Well, such a day happened last week and as I was going to the dreaded Wal-Mart anyway…I decided to peruse the movie section when I came across this movie for a completely reasonable price. I know some people who absolutely live and die by this movie. I really enjoy it. It is one of those movies that we can all relate to in one way or another. There is probably a good chance that we are all like one if the teenagers in the film. We probably had the same upbringing and feelings that these kids had.

If you haven’t seen this movie before, it is surprising. I honestly think everyone should see this movie. It is a classic and often a go-to for parodies. Definitely check this film out if you have never seen it before.

Dazed and Confused

Year: 1993
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was a movie I once immortalized, and I still enjoy quite a bit. Ten years ago it taught me something about the repetitive nature of generations in high school. We all go through this stage of life.  The style and sound changes with every generation but the activities and personalities are practically universal.  This was a movie I related to as a teen but as a parent I see the obvious problems.  This movie totally idolizes the kinds of things I loved but really don’t want my kids getting into.  I think the high school hazing is a bit much in this movie, there was a lot of emphasis put on it and I never understood that.  Maybe that was something that had phased out of the high school world by the time I was going through nearly twenty-five years later.  Hazing went on when I was in high school, but it was nothing like it is in this movie. I’ve always thought that what we see going on in this movie must be a Texas thing if it was ever like that at all.

This movie is more or less based off of the real life high school experiences of director Richard Linklater.  Universal Studios was actually sued by three of his high school classmates in 2004 because their real last names were used in the film.  It was Floyd, Slater, and Wooderson, still living in their hometown in Texas, who filed the suit.  The case was dismissed because more than 10 years had passed since the film’s release and certain statutes of limitations had passed. This was one of the high points of Linklater’s career though, so good for him for making the most of his high school glory days.  This isn’t so much a movie about high school as it is a movie about partying and having a good time. There is always that one giant party among many during any given high school year and many high school movies choose to center around this event.

There are several things that make this movie significant.  Number one being the soundtrack because it is one of a kind.  1/6th of the film’s budget was actually spent putting it together and it was worth it. This film also launched the career of Matthew McConaughey, who really made the Wooderson character memorable.  McConaughey is super cool and I like several of his films. This was one of the first roles for Milla Jovovich, who enjoys a huge fan base today.  I have never been a fan of her Resident Evil movies, but I think she was awesome as Leeloo in one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies ever, The Fifth Element. I think Ben Affleck is appropriately cast in this movie, as a douche bag. The part just seems to come so naturally to him, it’s like he isn’t even acting at all.

Bottom line, this movie is significant because it is cool and it captures an era that we all want to remember fondly.  Looking back I can see really clearly right now that this movie was a horrible influence on me as a teen and honestly, no teen has any business seeing this film.  Enjoy it yourself and keep it away from your kids! I had a hell of a time in high school but I did all these things we see in the film.  Everything from getting high to keg parties to bashing mailboxes to getting into fights and I can see now where I was lucky to relatively stay out of trouble when so many kids are not.  I don’t think it was because of this movie that I did those things, but it certainly didn’t help.

AMBER’S REVIEW 

Ah, Dazed and Confused. I remember really liking this movie in college; I can’t imagine why that was. I still really enjoy this movie even though those days are long gone. This movie is set during a time when I wasn’t even born. I didn’t come along until 1984 and this movie takes place in the mid-seventies. For me, it is interesting to see the dynamic of high school life in a time that I was not a part of. Even though everything happens in a different time, the things that take place are normal, everyday high school plot lines. We continue to have the same things happen in high school no matter what time period it is. This is pretty much how high school went for all of us whether we were in high school in the 60s, 70s, 80s or for me the 90s/00s. We can all relate to this movie because we all had to go through high school. It was a pain in the ass, but we did it and then we moved on. I think I can safely say that I think all high school students are Dazed and Confused. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch this movie, it is one you should definitely see.

NEXT MOVIE: Dead Poets Society (1989)

American Pie

Year: 1999
Directed By: Paul Weitz
Written By: Adam Herz

RYAN’S REVIEW

Every generation has that classic high school movie they really identify with. I think the best high school films are timeless, but the one that identifies your generation is always a little more special.  This movie is my generation’s great high school movie and there were several that came out while I was in high school.  So many that the parody Not Another Teen Movie was made while I was still there.  None of them could stand up next to this one though, it was bold, daring, immature, funny, and we got to see a great set of boobs on Shannon Elizabeth. When this movie came out the word M.I.L.F. became a household term that is still going strong eleven years later.  Stifler was such a great character that there are a ton of low-budget straight to video movies made about his siblings, and Seann William Scott has been able to carry that exact same character into several other films with great success.  I have never seen any of the spin-off Stifler movies but there are many of them and I think Eugene Levy has reprised his role in many or all of them.  The Seann William Scott movies I’ve seen Stifler in were Road Trip, Role Models, Old School, and probably several others that I am forgetting.

I love this movie, I thought it was funny eleven years ago and I still think it’s funny today. I think it is a classic, if I remember correctly it was hailed as the Porkys of the 90s.  As a high school movie it is right up there with the other timeless greats like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  These movies take us back to a time when we were young, when we faced complicated problems that meant something at the time but didn’t really matter, a time when life was more simple. American Pie was smart and clever and really funny, it has its place next to those other classics, and I will always love this movie.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie’s intro says it all. How crazy embarrassing would that situation be? You should have already seen this movie, If you are reading this and haven’t seen the movie, where the hell have you been for the past 10 years or so? The intro sets up the entire franchise. It is the classic teenage, high school movie that focuses around what most teenagers focus on, sex. The movie in its entirety is hilarious. It captures all of the things about high school that are embarrassing, funny and true. I think that even today it can still hold a light to what goes on in high schools. To this day, if anyone around me says, “This one time….” I think we all know how to finish the sentence.” I will always have a special place in my heart for this hilarious comedy.

NEXT MOVIE: American Pie 2