In 1985, John Hughes wrote and directed The Breakfast Club. It helped push the careers of five rising stars to achieve relative success. These members of The Brat Pack were quoted, emulated, and launched into the yearly playing schedule on TBS 24 years after the film was made.
In this era of unoriginality in Hollywood, they really should considered making a new version that takes everything about the movie a little closer to the edge. Why?
Claire Standish – The Princess
While Molly Ringwald did a fine job playing the spoiled but sensitive popular girl in the original, her problems were just too minimal. The teenage angst she portrayed was so… 80s.
You didn’t really feel that she was that snobbish, that pressured, or even that popular. She also didn’t quite fit the bill to truly pull off the lipstick trick.
For the updated version, plug in Lindsay Lohan and make her a real bitch. In other words, plug in Lindsay Lohan.
First, you have to make her more evil. Moviegoers love a pretty girl they hate (though the “pretty” part is arguable these days for LinLo).
It isn’t that we have anything against pretty girls, but the ones who start off mean, learn their lesson, then befriend a geek or two are the ones who make today’s movies more enjoyable. It’s corny but true.
The new version of Claire made it to Saturday detention because she spread photoshopped images of her ex-boyfriend and her ex-best friend engaging in Paris Hilton style activities.
Brian Ralph Johnson – The Brain
He was troubled by getting a B, so he decided to try to kill himself with a flare gun. Sadly, comically, it went off in his locker.
Anthony Michael Hall played this role as perfectly as anyone could have. He had the credentials through nerd role after nerd role before buffing up and turning psychic around the turn of the century. It will be hard to beat his performance, but we have someone in mind who should give him a run for his money.
Insert Michael Cera and you have a new age of nerd. Today’s nerds aren’t socially clueless like they once were. The Internet itself gives them resources for being semi-cool that they never had before as well as the communities and methods of communication to “practice” their social skills.
Now, at least, they can turn “hip” into a research project and have all the answers they need.
With Cera, the I-got-a-B-so-now-I-must-die argument doesn’t play. No, it needs to have more substance, more reality, more 21st century teen turmoil. Our nerd is a hack. He did get a B, but instead of ending his promising future with Apple, he created a worm that hacked Twitter accounts and posted Tweets about fake celebrity deaths. Not sure where the idea came from, but it seems to fit.
Andrew Clark – The Jock
Yes, wrestling is a sport, and wrestlers are jocks. Yes, Emilio Estevez could have been a wrestler. Still, it’s just hard to imagine calling Emilio Estevez a jock.
But, throw in a sporty tank top in the 80’s and you’re a jock, so we went with it. This version of Andy picked on a younger member of his wrestling squad and duct taped his ass cheeks together. Funny, mean, but it just wouldn’t fit in today’s world.
In 1985, it was a prank. In 2009, it would be a sexual assault and Andy would have spent detention in jail getting his pretty-boyness hit on rather than in a school library picking up weird chicks.
No, our choice for jock will be more focused on the end goal. He wants to make it to college sports and on to professional football or basketball or whatever (no wrestling), so, in keeping with the news of the era, our jock gets caught with performance enhancing drugs.
Tom Welling played a jock in Cheaper by the Dozen and a super jock in Smallville. Why not be a Breakfast Club jock as well. As a taller, more muscular actor than Estevez, it will be more believable coming from him when he says, “Two hits. I hit you, you hit the floor.”
Of course, he could also add the line, “I can burn you to death with my frickin’ heat vision coming from my frickin’ eyes.”
Allison Reynolds – The Basketcase
Here is a big challenge. Where else can you find an actress who can shake her dandruff onto her paper so convincingly? Ally Sheedy played the role in a way that left you wondering, “Was she acting or is that how she really is?”
This character was different from the beginning. Once we find out the reason she was in detention (she had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon), we started thinking that there was some kind of mental issue here. She ended up pretty normal by the end of the movie even though her parents still ignored her and she most likely reverted to her black mascara.
The new version needs more issues. Getting ignored is normal for teens in the 21st century. We need something juicy. A drug addiction makes the most sense here. Our reinvented Allison is a meth-head. Basketcase means something totally different, but at least we won’t be whining about where this character fits into this group.
Now, the actress: Julia Stiles. I know — too clean cut, too well spoken, too old, too… whatever. My only reply is: exactly. She needs a role that takes her to the edge. There is talent there, we just haven’t pushed her yet. This role will. It could easily be the central role in the whole movie.
John Bender – The Criminal
This one is the most important roles in the new film, just as it was in the old film. It represented the real issues of the 80’s. It wasn’t the most common person from the perspective of teens being able to relate to him, but John Bender was the guy we rooted for.
He was the jerk, but with a good heart.
We liked it when he was right and the jock was wrong. We loved him when he then took the heat for it to allow the others to escape. Self-sacrifice. John Bender, the Judd Nelson version, was the first teen anti-hero (arguably). He delivered the best lines in the movie and wore combat boots like an absolute champ.
Today, it doesn’t necessarily take a tough guy to be tough, a hard guy to be hard. Today, the loose cannons in school are the ones that you see and say “he could be normal”, but there’s just something not clicking for him.
In what is bound to get the most “I hate that actor and he doesn’t belong in Breakfast Club or anywhere in Hollywood” responses, we select Shia Labeouf as our 21st century anti-hero. Remove your natural bias for someone who starred in mega-disappointment blockbusters like “Transformers II” and “Indiana Jones and the Bad Script”. Open your mind, give him a clean slate, and listen:
Don’t think he could do it? Read about him. You’ll soon see that, if it wasn’t for his break in Hollywood, he may have become the character we are describing. One difference in the Labeouf version versus the original — this one headbutts the principal when he gets in his face.
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Should “The Breakfast Club” be remade? Probably not. In fact, 99% of the movies that are remade shouldn’t have been. Still it would be interesting to introduce a new generation to that wacky Saturday in some random high school when coming of age happened for 5 unlikely friends.
Or something like that. In homage, here’s the original trailer:
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This isn’t a blog about movies. Still, it has a movie section, so it’s okay to check it out every now and then.