John Hughes’ classic “The Breakfast Club” turned 30 this year. To put this in perspective, we are as far removed now from “The Breakfast Club” as the “The Breakfast Club” was from James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” (let that one sink-in, GenXers).
Daniel Drezner asks in The Washington Post how “The Breakfast Club” has held up after three decades. Drezner says that he watched “Rebel Without a Cause” in 1985 and found it completely outdated and unrelatable as a teen-angst drama. He wondered if that’s how teens would view “The Breakfast Club” now. So he decided to watch “The Breakfast Club” with his 14-year old son to gauge whether the movie still communicates now as it did back then.
What happened? His son was genuinely engaged in the story and with the characters, and he watched right through to the end. But his son also thought much of it to be laugh-out-loud corny. Some of it has aged well, and some of it… not so much. You can read the rest of it here.
Over the years, my wife and I have re-watched some of the iconic films from our teen years—”The Breakfast Club” among them. What always strikes us is not so much how dated the movies are but how much we have changed since the time when we were originally engrossed by such films. The big drivers of so-called “teen angst” don’t seem so big 30 years on. Also, after you get some years under your belt, you find that the easy immorality and self-regard endemic to the whole genre doesn’t wear well in real life. You’ve seen too many friends and loved ones wrecked by those things to be enthralled by them like you were 30 years ago.
In short, as you grow up, so do your tastes. Yes, there are still some things to appreciate. But it is impossible to watch these films with the same eyes that you had 30 years previous. What once put stars in your eyes now often leaves a tear. And that is a good thing.