One of the things I love the most about Criterion putting out more contemporary releases is that it gives me the opportunity to revisit some of my absolute favorite films that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing for years and years.
The last time I watched the John Hughes classic The Breakfast Club was probably when it aired on cable in some pan-and-scan format edited for content and time. Now, this 1985 story of adolescence has been given the Blu-ray treatment it deserves, and Criterion hasn’t skimped on the bevy of features packed into this release.
Everyone knows what it means when someone says “it’s like a John Hughes movie,” when referencing something about teenage life, and it’s easy to see why after watching any of his early films, including The Breakfast Club. He had an uncanny ability to tap into experiences in his own youth and seamlessly transcribe them into not only ’80s culture, but also to cause them to transcend time and remain relevant even today, making many of his films into undisputed classics.
While I hope the bulk of his filmography makes its way onto Criterion, a great place to start is with The Breakfast Club, one of his most influential and successful films. Shot in sequence in an abandoned high school, the concept of the film is deceptively simple: five kids, fitting high-school student stereotypes, have to sit in the library all day for Saturday detention, but their complexities start to show within the opening sequence, showing each child being dropped off by their parents, or, in the case of Judd Nelson’s character of John Bender, arrogantly walking in.
As the kids spend more time together, they realize they’re not so different from one another and begin opening up in ways none of them ever expected. Relationships are made; bonds are formed; and everyone comes out of it learning something.
Or maybe not, which is one of the most endearing qualities about the film – by Monday it’s possible that everything goes back to the way it was before detention. It’s an incredible film that easily holds up three decades later.
The Blu-ray contains a new 4K restoration of the film, which, as one might expect, looks gorgeous without any noticeable flaws. The disc is also packed with supplements, including new interviews from Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, a new and wonderfully produced video essay featuring John Hughes’ production notes read by Judd Nelson, nearly an hour of never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes, a 50-minute making-of featurette from 2008, and a metric ton of other interviews and supplements. This contains more than anyone could want in a Blu-ray release, and it’s impressive even for The Criterion Collection.
If you haven’t seen The Breakfast Club, or if you just haven’t had the pleasure of viewing it for years, this one is definitely worth picking up and gets my highest recommendation.