"The Breakfast Club": era-defining excellence, or utter crap. Discuss.
Yes, the ultimate Brat Pack flick, which writer-director Hughes apparently took less than a week to write, has inspired praise and venom in equal measure - whether it's those who consider it self-important, whining tripe or the loyal multitudes of fans who think it sums up youth and has cooler characters than any other movie in history.
Strange then, that it stirs such extreme responses considering the slightness of the story, which is this: five pupils, Bender the dude (Nelson), Andrew the jock (Estevez), Claire the prom queen (Ringwald), Allison the weirdo (Sheedy), and Brian the geek (Hall), all find themselves with a day-long Saturday detention.
Situated in the school's library and watched over by their anally-retentive teacher (Paul Gleason), they begin the day as strangers and soon find themselves united by a common affliction: youth.
Shot in sequence during 1984, "The Breakfast Club" became a benchmark for all that followed in the genre. And if the tone is sometimes sanctimonious, then the characterisation more than makes up for it. Every boy wanted to be like rebel John Bender (okay, unfortunate name); and in "The Breakfast Club", the blatant stereotypes merely add weight to the argument that adults lump kids into distinct and frequently damaging categories.
The performances by the young cast, culminating in an exuberant pot-smoking session, followed by a genuinely touching denouement, is classic stuff. And such lines as: "The chick can't hold her smoke!" and "You wouldn't know her, she lives in Canada," are still spouted today.
"The Breakfast Club" is on BBC2 at 10.25pm on Saturday, 17 February 2001.