SXSW Film: ‘Breakfast Club’ turns 30, gets much love

Ally Sheedy, center, and Molly Ringwald, right, discuss "The Breakfast Club."
Ally Sheedy, center, and Molly Ringwald, right, discuss “The Breakfast Club.”

Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, who starred in John Hughes’ touching “The Breakfast Club” 30 years ago, attended a screening Monday of a restored version and talked about the classic teen film from the 1980s.

In a conversation preceding a packed screening at the Paramount, Ringwald noted that most of the cast members were now old enough to be parents, and that presented unusual notions about the movie, which skewered parents for not understanding their kids.

Ringwald knows what’s she talking about, since she has an 11-year-old daughter, and she recently showed “The Breakfast Club” to the kid for the first time.

She still thinks it has a message to impart: “That we are all outsiders… that everyone feels alone. … But people find out in the end that they’re not alone.”

Gallery: "The Breakfast Club" 30th Anniversary Restoration World Premiere at SXSW Film.
Gallery: “The Breakfast Club” 30th Anniversary Restoration World Premiere at SXSW Film.

The movie, of course, deals with a group of high school students who spend a Saturday morning in detention at a Chicago high school library. The characters are somewhat stereotypes, but Hughes was obviously trying to reach a wide range of kids with the movie.

There’s Claire, the high school’s popular princess. And we have the token nerd, Brian (Anthony Michael Hall.) Emilio Estevez plays Andy, the jock wrestler, while Judd Nelson plays Bender, the resident bad boy. And Ally Sheedy plays the goth basket case, Allison.

As you might expect, they all discover — and reveal — their private fears as they start to get to know each other. And their defenses are significantly lowered after smoking pot.

Ringwald said she recently asked her daughter which character she thought she might be, and the daughter said “Brian.” As fans know, Brian is the brain, the one who’s under a lot of parental pressure to do well in school. And Ringwald said her daughter’s identification with Brian made her wonder whether she was putting too much pressure on her daughter.

Ringwald joked, however, that “if you’re going to the parents of any of the kids, then I think Brian has to be the best one.”

Then she added: “I’m going to throw down the gauntlet. I think there needs to be another movie from the parents’ point of view.”

While many in Monday’s screening probably are parents by now, it was clear that everyone was on the teenagers’ side.

Before the movie began, young members of the Barton Hills Choir serenaded the crowd with “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, the film’s anthem.

Author: Charles Ealy

Charles Ealy edits and writes about books and movies for the Ausstin American-Statesman.

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