By Mario Ricciardi
The camera dollies out, the director yells cut, credits roll. That’s a wrap. Another school year has gone by, filed to the backs of our minds, reduced to a piquing highlight reel the fractured impression of a time that has come and gone to make room for more experiences. For you dedicated readers out there, not only has it been another year of highs and lows, but also another year of films and ideas. From flops like “Justice League” to indie-hits like “Lady Bird,” it has been a journey full of surprises. That being said, I’m sure you can imagine the quiet pressure I faced picking the right film to close this first year of reviews.
Most of you will be back next semester and some of you will be graduating, but we’re all going somewhere, constantly moving forward while looking back at the same time. I was initially going to review a new film in theaters, then I thought maybe it would be right to revisit a film of the past. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that life’s segue to the unknown needs a theme. Much like “Pomp and Circumstance” or Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” I needed something to come back to every year that spoke familiarity and change all in the same volume.
I decided to dedicate each year’s final edition of Mario’s Movies to a different film by a man I have highest regards for in terms of personality and filmmaking: John Hughes. Hughes was a unique man in both his work, and in his personal life. A staunch Republican, he had as much disdain for the culture of Hollywood as he did love for his craft. Leaving the world of advertising in Chicago with his family for the even more unstable world of filmmaking in Hollywood, Hughes took the risk, worked hard and left an impression that the world will never be able to shake.
Balancing convention with personal preference, I felt it would be fitting to discuss Hughes’ most popular film: “The Breakfast Club” is a film that gives us a look inside the personalities of young America and slyly passes itself off to us as entertainment, a film that takes a day in the life of and turns it into a life in the day of (something like that). “The Breakfast Club” had its humor, its upbeat Brit-pop soundtrack, its moments of excess, but most of that is forgotten because what the film truly leaves with us is its honesty.
The epitome of that honesty comes in the form of Brian’s letter at the end of the film. I think it’s a very appropriate message worth sharing as we all move on to our next chapters.
“… You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.”
I always heard this quote as a voice of rebellion, a young kid formulating the perfect voice of reason and really sticking it to the man. During my last viewing, though, instead of hearing an agenda, I heard an insight. When you’re younger (say that mess of a time called high school) it was hard to not label others into these “Breakfast Club” categories. But as we get older, and are left to our own devices, I see less and less of one character and more of them all combined.
When Bender talks about his home life, when Andy talks about the pressures of competition, when Claire talks about what it takes to keep up appearances, when Brian shares his aspirations for greatness, when Allison just kind of loses it, I can’t help but see a piece of each of them in every one of us. Even when Hughes introduces Principal Vernon or Carl the janitor I see versions of what we could become once we finally grow up. As much as we can choose who we become we are all, to some degree, fundamentally made up of “The Breakfast Club.”
In closing, I’d like to leave you with the reminder that no matter who you think you are, or who you think someone else is, we are as much the same as we are different. As we leave the joviality and safety of youth, be prepared for the challenges and pressures of adulthood to be a reminder that each and every one of us is part brain, part athlete, part basket case, part princess and part criminal. No matter how loud that single-serving past calls out, we will only have this truth to move forward to (until Elon Musk invents time travel).
Until next semester, YSU!
The Breakfast Club: ???? (4/5 Penguins) ????