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Headscratchers: The Breakfast Club
  • While I and quite a lot of people were bugged by Ally Sheedy's Unnecessary Makeover in The Breakfast Club for obvious reasons, there is another reason to be bugged by that pink blouse. What on earth is the Molly Ringwald character doing with a spare pink blouse in her backpack, anyway? I know she's The Princess and all, but why would even the girliest of characters carry around spare pink clothing?
    • I carry around spare clothing all the time. And I'm a guy. I imagine that for girls, an extra bit of clothing (at least once a month) is a safety measure.
      • An extra blouse once a month? But I always figured it was Claire's; she seemed like the type who'd carry an extra blouse just in case. In HS, I knew a girl so into giving makeovers that she carried extra hairbrushes, scarves and hair ties, and a makeup-kit that took up half her back-pack.
      • Apparently Claire also packs shampoo and a blow-dryer, and is capable of giving somebody a high-speed salon treatment in the girls' restroom sink.
      • Liquid hand-soap and an electric dryer is more likely; Allison's hair didn't need a thorough wash, just a styling. She also says she never throws anything away, so she could've had just about anything in her purse.
    • I always just figured it was what Allison had on under her oversized sweatshirt. I hate the makeover (up until that part Allison was my hero) but the pink blouse was the only part of it that never bothered me.
    • Does anyone else think that she actually looked WORSE after the makeover? 'Cos to be honest I think she looked way better before.
    • I always looked over the makeover part, and thought the scene was sweet because the girls were bonding. She gave the makeover because that's the way The Princess knew how to show her friendship.
    • She may have looked "better" before from the point of view of those viewers who identified with her character as a loon on the fringe of high school society, but the poor girl wasn't happy. Claire's makeover offered her acceptance more than anything else, and made her actually smile. Plus she looked fresh-faced and sweet, whereas before she looked scruffy and slightly mental. It's all a matter of opinion and how you identify with the character...
      • Except for the jock guy only found her desirable and appealing once she got the makeover. And all the characters seem to universally act like it's an improvement on her.
      • Really? They seemed to be bonding quite a bit before the makeover happened.
    • When Allison dumped her bag out you can see shes got some clothes in there. After all, she carries all that shit around so she can run away anytime (or make people think so).

  • If they're "bad kids" anyway, why bother going to detention in the first place?
    • Let's look at the five of them by stereotypes (which some of them followed pre-movie just because):
      • Princess: She's a good girl, she wouldn't skip detention, it might hurt her image and her parents would get mad at her.
      • Jock: Ditto.
      • Brain: Ditto.
      • Basket Case/Kook: Remember? She had nothing better to do. She wanted to be there.
      • Criminal: He doesn't care and it gets him out of his abusive household.
    • The only bad kid is Bender and he doesn't seem to care at all about spending his Saturday at school away from his house. The others were driven there by their parents anyway.
      • Also, the penalty for skipping detention, IIRC (high school was a very long time ago!), is more serious punishment, including suspension. With the exception of Bender (and possibly Allison), these kids are college-bound and a suspension is a permanent mark, or so they're led to believe.

  • The last five minutes. Ugh. Except for the jump on the football field, none of it made any damn sense whatsoever. Especially the kissing.
    • I got the idea that that was to show them trusting each other and the fact that everybody loves everybody and just watch the damn movie and the ending makes sense.
    • It's pretty obvious there is sexual tension between John and Claire through out the whole movie. The ending kiss isn't that strange if you were paying attention.
    • You lock five hormonal teenagers in a room with each other for nine hours and don't expect a few of them to hook up?
      • That's exactly what I wouldn't expect. Seriously, how often do two people have their First Kiss on the very same day that they meet for the very first time? Especially when they start the day hating each other. (And let's note that, although they were high for awhile, nobody seemed high when the First Kiss stuff rolled around.)
      • How many people spend nine hours with someone the first day they meet them? And how many of those people spend those nine hours almost alone in a fairly private place?

  • I know that there's only two girls and three guys in the movie, but it still bothers me that Brian is the only one who isn't paired up at the end.
    • But the actor who played him got to date Molly Ringwald in real life (and met her via this film). Also, apparently Molly was rooting for their characters to end up together in the film.
    • The writers supposedly thought he was too young to believably date. Yes, that is stupid.
      • He's old enough to smoke pot, but he's too young to date?!
    • Maybe this is just a more modern take, but is it necessary for everyone to be wrapped up in a cute little heterosexual couple at the end? Having him be a singleton at least adds a bit of realism.
      • That's how I felt. And from what I could tell, it really wasn't like he was looking to date anyone there.
      • It's not so much that someone wasn't paired up, it's that, of all the people, the geek was the one that no one wanted. It's like, no matter what we learn and discover about ourselves, some things never change. The geek will stay home and do our homework while we go and have rampant teen sex.
      • I love this movie, and that's the only detail that I really hate. Because it's spot on... and because I was him. Everyone else goes on to be in love, Brian goes home alone. Again. Reminds me of freshman dance! He doesn't seem remotely upset that everyone but him is hooking up, though, which to me was incredibly unrealistic.
      • Or possibly it just continued the overall theme of high school (and on a larger scale, society (and on an even larger scale, life)) not being fair and sometimes the "pretty people" end up making out in the closet while you're stuck writing the damn essay.
      • It being a John Hughes movie in the 80's, homosexual pairings would not have been acceptable, so there aren't that many combinations of boy/girl that could be made. However, if the point of the story was to break down stereotypes, then perhaps it would have been better for the geek to date one of the girls, and the jock to stay single. In my experience at least, it is geek and the crazy girl are the least likely to have dates in highschool, whereas the jock, the princess and to a lesser extent, the hood, that can get dates easily.
      • I disagree. In order for the stereotypes to be properly broken, the relationships must cause shake-ups, not just at school, but on the home front as well. Brian cannot effectively do this because he would only startle one or the other, but not both. If Brian had wound up with Claire, he'd only cause a shake-up at school, but if he were to wind up with Allison, he's only shake things up on the home-front. Andy and Bender, however, can shake things up both at school and on the home front.
      • In other words, nothing ever changes. Except, it does for most of them. Just not for Brian. (And Dick, I suppose.)
      • Bender and Claire got together at the end and I got that. They had a decent amount of sexual tension throughout the movie and I expected it to happen. But Andy and Allison just seemed a lot more tacked on, and I always thought it would have made more sense for her to end up with Brian. They're already the two social outcast type characters anyway (Bender's a special case, kind of toeing the line between popular and outcast) and as has already been mentioned, Andy not being with anyone would fit in more with the breaking down of stereotypes. Really, it would have been better even if Claire and Bender were the only ones who ended up hooking up and the others just stayed friends.
      • To be fair, Andy and Allison probably gets more direct build-up throughout the film than Claire and Bender do. Andy keeps on talking to her after their initial walk to get some drinks, and he's clearly the one who cares the most about her when she talks about running away and how her parents ignore her. To me, it's Claire and Bender who get tacked on, since before their kissing scene when she comes to get him from the room Vernon locks him in, they're practically at each others throats.
    • If the students were a Venn Diagram, Bender would be the one in the overlapping section (both cool and an outcast at the same time). He should've been the one to stay single.
      • Makes sense, but Bender needs a positive influence in his life, something to show that there's something out there for him. He doesn't have to settle for another few years of abuse, getting arrested for fighting back, or running away and never finishing high school.
    • There were only five kids, and I did rather enjoy the two couples that came out of it (Andy and Alison in particular). But I personally don't like this choice as the poor guy was not only left alone and single to do his paper, but the cool kids actually got him to do their homework for them, both of which reinforce the fact that geeks are unpopular losers. John Hugehs' reasoning on why Brian was single is that he was too socially immature for a relationship, but that doesn't really work when Claire seems to want to date John because it'll piss off her parents.
    • When this troper's LA taecher was MS Ting the movie for the class, he said that each kid ended up in a couple; Claire and Bender, Allison and Andrew, and Brian and... the essay.
    Teacher: "Look! he even kisses it!"
    • I think Andrew has a lot more potential than Brian to be a healthy influence for Allison. Remember how Brian is in all the clubs and has attentive parents and teachers and and Allison doesn't have any friends or anything to do with her day? She's the one in need of something to change her life and the one we should have sympathy for, in my opinion, and having her first boyfriend be an equally inexperienced and similarly socially confused awkward mess is likely to make her life more difficult than it needs to be. It may be tough for Brian, but I think he will be fine. Like if we measure their general wellbeing, happiness and future prospects I'd put Andrew, Allison and Brian at 75%, 5% and 60% respectively at the start of the day, 85%, 80% and 80% at the end, but if Brian and Allison got together instead then 80%, 45% and 85% - the nerd suffers a little bit for a greater good.
    • Okay, we've all made some good points here. Basically what this argument comes down to is whether the nerd should be shunted a relationship so the abused boy can get a support system. My thinking is this: Bender doesn't need a girlfriend, he just needs a friend. What little development that his relationship with Claire had should have been spent bonding with Andrew as friends. Bender could help Andrew to be his own man and move out of his dad's shadow (the parental abuse Andrew suffers appears to be entirely psychological, not physical like Bender's), and Andrew could extend a hand to Bender and be a friend. Bender's a smart guy, very perceptive and has a sharp tongue. He's also pretty well built. Can anyone else see him taking Andrew's place on the wrestling team? He'd have a safe, acceptable outlet for his frustration with a whole team of peers. Creating a budding Bromance between Bender and Andrew results in Claire being free to date Brian, and Andrew still ends up with Allison. The Brian/Claire relationship similarly works for the both of them; Claire gets Brian a social life away from his parents overbearing, Brian helps pull Claire closer to Earth and become less of an Alpha Bitch. Being with a bookish buy might inspire her to pursue an interest other than popularity (I haven't seen the movie in a while, do they mention her academic/extracurricular life?). As mentioned by many people, the Claire/Bender ending not only prevents Brian's link to a social life (relationship wise at least), but it also comes off as the start of an abusive relationship. How many Lifetime channel movies have to back story be the vapid popular girl hooks up with an abused, dangerous guy that she thinks she can fix, with the added benefit off pissing off her dad? I think the people who want to see the "bad kids" hook up (Bender/Allison or Allison/Brian) are aiming for a kind of cynical-sweet outcome; their world still sucks, but they become each other's one bright spot. It's kinda sweet, but hardly the "everybody helps everybody" outcome John Hughes was going for (just my opinion).
    • Who says Brian even wanted to hook up with anybody in the group? For all we know, he already has a relationship (or a heavy crush) with someone who wasn't in detention that day, or is simply more concerned with his studies than with having a non-stop social life.
    • He has that girlfriend from Niagara Falls. On Monday, Claire's going to be hanging around Bender's locker again trying to get his attention [which we can assume she'll get.] Allison needed someone to show her some affection. Claire did this, having fun showing someone how to be girly. Andy tried to do this in being a young man, confronting her about her problems, but he's also an athlete. A victory is a victory, and making out with a girl who's just learning to be desirable counts. If he and Allison run into each other the following week, he'll probably talk to her, but if he sees her in the hallways, he'll point out to his buddies that he made out with her during that detention. High fives all around. Brian, by contrast, was treated with respect for his intellect. Sure, he was manipulated into it by Claire, but she spoke for all of them that they trusted him to be the best. He doesn't get that kind of validation at home. When he saw Allison, newly-made, he was stunned by her beauty. She'd never experienced such a look before, and it took her a few seconds to understand and whisper "thank you." I won't say I identify with Brian, but I'm certainly much closer to him in spirit than the other characters in the movie [except maybe Carl.] Brian will go on to be successful in life. Claire has money, Andy will become Al Bundy, Bender will probably be a failure, Allison could go anywhere, but just on this one Saturday in high school detention, you can understand the arc of his life. Decades from now [well, 1985] he'll be looking back on this day as another day in high school that he didn't score with the chicks, but he's become much wiser since. Don't weep for Brian because of a dramatic presentation of nine hours in his life where the other guys hooked up with chicks.

  • I always wondered why they all assumed that handing in one (ridiculously short) essay for all 5 of them would be acceptable to Principal Assmunch.
    • It's Saturday afternoon, he's not getting paid by the hour, he wants to go home too.
    • The movie makes it clear that he's as trapped in and frustrated by the system as the students. Remember the coffee cup balancing on pencils, the deconstructive chat with the janitor?
      Vernon: These kids turned on me...they think I'm a big fuckin' joke.
      Carl: Come on...listen Vern, if you were sixteen, what would you think of you, huh?
      Vernon: Hey...Carl, you think I give one rat's ass what these kids think of me?
      Carl: Yes I do.
    • The essay itself gets into this, but they've learned not to care what other people think. It's a stupid assignment, done solely for the sake of busywork.
    • They don't. It's an act of rebellion borne of their coming of age, or whatever it is they got from this experience.

  • And how the hell did Emilio break a window by yelling at it?
    • A trained singer can break glass by hitting the right frequency. Alternatively, he has sonic superpowers.
    • That can be done by standing very close to the a (small) piece of glass and singing at exactly the right pitch—but a piece of metal is usually needed to transfer the sound wave into the glass. It's not that you need to sing high, just at a right pitch and tone.
    • I had always just assumed he only thought he did because he was high.
    • Windowpanes are next to impossible to shatter with your voice (the glass is too soft to resonate properly), especially by yelling at it like a gorilla. Crystal is much easier to break, but since they typically don't make high school windows out of crystal, I'd go with the "only thought he broke it because he was high" theory.
    • "It was the 80s". That's my theory. Same reason we heard guitar music after Bender's colossal "Fuck You" when Vernon was walking out of the room.

  • The one thing I've wondered since I first saw the movie and still wonder to this day.... WHY THE HELL IS IT CALLED THE BREAKFAST CLUB? IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BREAKFAST!
    • They meet in the morning, so the student body as a whole has named it breakfast detention or the breakfast club or somesuch.
    • Hughes asked a friend's son what their nickname was for detention. Since it was held on Saturday morning, they called it... well, you know.
    • There's a scene earlier in the film where they talk about the different social/academic clubs they're in and use those clubs to classify each other. By the end of the movie they're all friends and want to hang out together. That's a problem because Bender's not about to join the student council, and the popular girls aren't going to accept Allison, so they form a new club to show that people can be friends without having to be exactly the same.
      • Just because they might want to, doesn't mean they will. Brian suspects this, and Claire pointedly admits this. I'd also go so far as to say that now that Allison is dating a jock, Brian's probably going to lose her as a friend now that she's gotten to the Quirky Female Escape Route. And Brian and Bender never make any kind of connection.

  • In the scene where they're running around the school and they keep coming across Vernon, how the hell does he not hear five people running? Or the music? Or the glass breaking?
    • No real explanation for him not hearing the running, but after locking Bender in the storeroom he goes down into the basement and ends up drinking with Carl while hes down there. Presumably he didn't smell the pot or hear all the noises because he was still in the basement.

  • On a more trivial note, what the fuck did Allison put on her sandwich?
    • Sugar/pixie sticks and Captain Crunch cereal.
      • Yummy!
      • I always thought that she also dribbled a bit of her soda on it from the straw, to make it less crunchy.
      • I thought she put the straws in her soda to give it a more pixie stick taste.
    • Captain Crunch? I thought it was Corn Pops.

  • Apparently, a lot of scenes were cut from the movie, including Brian's own little sarcastic quips about his homelife to John (during John's snarky little simulation of it) and Allison writing with her toes, which was filmed but never made the cut. Apparently, those and more were on some video tape that the director kept until his dying day, never revealing where he hid it or something....what a dick.
    • Well, think about it, does The Breakfast Club really need to be 2 and a half hours long?
      • Yes.
      • Seconded.
      • Thirded, with a side of wanting to read John Hughes' unpublished stories about the rest of Shermer.
      • No, it did not need to be two and a half hours long. The movie works just fine as it is. For that matter, the scenes described by the OP probably would have detracted from the movie. First, Brian is not the type to throw around sarcastic barbs at other people. That's Bender's shtick. Having Brian do the same thing makes his character way too antagonistic towards the others, and completely contradicts everything we've seen of the character up to that point. Second, Allison writing with her toes did not need to be seen. There was no point to seeing it. In fact, the whole point of the writing with her toes line was that it was so randomly funny. Actually seeing her do it would have ruined the joke. Okay, she can write with her toes. And the purpose of an extra 5-10 minutes of watching her write with her toes would be...?
      • Quick question; why exactly are you lumping the characters into the stereotypes that the film spent so much time deconstructing and showing they are not? It would've been refreshing to see Brian actually do something to break his stereotype other than get high and dance. And "5-10 minutes of watching her write with her toes"? As opposed to the one minute that it's more likely to be?
    • It's also the fact that most of the scenes that were cut were ad libbed, which is always good to see in a film.

  • What's with Emilio Estevez dancing while baked? Who in the hell is that active while high?
    • Some people like to move while high; it's not just a mental buzz, you know. And the character was a very physical person anyway who had been more or less forced to sit still for the previous four hours getting more frustrated and twitchy.
    • Yeah, but is anybody really that coordinated while they're high? I kept expecting him to trip or fall over, or whatever.
      • It takes more than a small joint to turn a physically adept athlete into a bumbling idiot. That only happens in bad PS As.

  • Bender is a bully. He humiliates Claire, subjects her to sexual taunting, and makes her cry. Am I supposed to be happy that they end up together? We heard all about his home life and saw firsthand how he treats a girl he eventually decides he likes. The kid clearly needs some reprogramming in that department before he starts dating.
    • I thought a lot of things about the movie were believable, but not something to be happy about. And I thought that was more or less the point. For example, Emilio Estevez only likes weird girl after she gets a makeover - indicating, first, that he's too shallow to care about anything besides looks, and second, he's willing to ignore her extremely bizarre behaviors (which would signal, to most people, some major mental instability, which is generally a turnoff) just because she suddenly looks nice. Is that relationship going anywhere good? Presumably she's still just as batshit crazy. And as for Bender...again, emotionally vulnerable girls hooking up with emotionally abusive, but attractively cool, guys is old news. Again, maybe the audience was supposed to find it a feel-good ending, but I saw it as a dark and very believable conclusion, at least the John and Claire thing.
      • I agree on one, disagree on the other. Andy clearly likes Allison from the get-go. It's not uncommon for jocks or the popular kids to be attracted to the quirky girl but are afraid to say anything because they think their friends will laugh (remember that bit in Juno?). He often smiles at what she does, goes out of his way to speak to her, and is definitely the nicest to her over anyone else. He's the first (and, really, only) person to show an interest in her personal life. I think that's why Allison likes him: because he didn't ignore her. As for why he likes her, I assume it's because she seems to think for herself, something he's well aware he can't do. I always assumed Allison's way of dressing was about hiding while simultaneously drawing attention to herself, and not so much to do with it being a statement. His comment about her looks is that he can see her face—you know, she's not hiding. I think what Allison was wearing was the shirt she had beneath her jacket. All she did was take off her many layers, pull her hair back, and allow make-up to be put on. Still, I don't think he would have pursued her if she didn't look acceptable as a date to his father and friends. I do agree this movie doesn't have a feel-good, happily-ever-after ending, even if it thinks it does. Which becomes especially apparent with Claire and Bender (splitting this long-winded lecture):
      • >>> Yes, some people are hell-bent to see Slap-Slap-Kiss anywhere, but he was nothing but cruel to her and she was nothing but condescending to him. Her "nice" moments to him weren't anything better than anything between the Brain, the Jock, or the Basket-Case. The fact that they ended up together seemed trite, if you're going for the normal moral-of-the-day. If you're going for the "They didn't learn anything" one, it makes sense: she's using the bad boy to get back at her parents, just as Bender suggests. He might honestly like her, but I don't see her really liking him. Even if they do, I only see it being an abusive and miserable relationship.
    • Reminds me of this Cracked article. And yes, this is a link to a Cracked article on a TV Tropes page... you're not getting any work done today.
    • The reasons for Bender's cruelty to Claire were likely bitterness (hes pissed that she has everything and he has nothing), ignorance (shes the popular one and popular people are by default assholes) and to a lesser extent boredom (well how else is he supposed to spend a whole Saturday at school?). Once those issues cleared up and they had bonded they were able to comprehend their mutual attraction. Would it last? Depends on your perspective. Do the kids come out of the library changed or do they leave the exact same and follow in their parents' footsteps? If its the latter than Bender would be an abusive prick just like his old man and Claire would be his petty wife. Made for each other...
    • The problem is that they never really forge a connection. They don't ease up on each other towards the end of the movie, even once Bender starts being a bit decent to everyone else. Their last conversation is just a vitriolic as their first. The new information changes nothing about the way they interact with each other at all. That's the issue. We have no indication he'll be any less abrasive and abusive to her in a relationship than he was when he barely knew her.
    • The OP isn't alone in this feeling. John Hughes nearly fired Judd Nelson because he insisted on staying in character both on and off camera, continuously bullying Molly Ringwald the entire time.

  • What bugs me is the fact that the people who hate Allison's Unnecessary Makeover think that Andy only likes her because she gets one. It's evident in the movie that he was attracted to her way before that happened. The makeover may have not suited Allison, but it showed her face more. Andy probably thought she was cute, but couldn't really her face properly because she was hiding under big bangs, but this makeover made Andy see her face a lot clearer and it's implied that he's amazed by what he saw. He even said, "I can see your face," and that it's a "good thing." The fans of this movie miss the point of that scene.
    • Agreed. It is supremely ironic that the fans who criticize that scene are apparently unable to see past appearances...
    • The thing is that they could have done the makeover without erasing completely her personality away. I, for one, appreciate that they remove her makeup instead of adding more (I like make up BTW; but I like the metaphor of leaving her face clean). And it's the same thing with the hair (showing her face up instead of hiding it), but the pink shirt, I didn't like. Again, I don't mind the color per se, just the meaning behind it. Every character in the movie has colors that represent them and hers is black. They gave her a pink shirt (Claire's color) and with that, they transform her into a princess. That ruined the "don't hide yourself" meaning for me and changed it into "if you want to get a jock, you have to become a princess". If they have give her a white shirt, the metaphor would have worked better, for me at least.
    • The above statement is pretty much the main problem. It's not so much that Andy only liked her after the make over, it's that she felt she had to completely change herself in order to attract him. Agreed, that is properly a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, but still.
      • Am I the only one who's remembering the fact that Allison was wearing a white dress by the end of the film?
      • Yes, it's just you. The sleeveless blouse she's wearing is light pink, so it looks white (thank you, Netflix). She is wearing it while Claire is putting her "new" makeup on her, so it's a fair assumption she was wearing the blouse under her black clothes.
      • But that isn't the case, nor has it ever been. Andy did show a lot of interest in Allison. He was the only one who did, actually. It's quite possible that he would never have worked up the courage to talk to be seen with her if she didn't make herself presentable by his friends' standards, but he clearly liked her before. As mentioned in the main article, Allison is a closet Attention Whore. She doesn't dress like that because it helps her identify with other people, the way most loner cliques work, she dresses like that because she wants people to notice her, but not approach. Her dressing in white and tucking back her hair is her acknowledging that she does crave human interaction. It's entirely possible Andy recognized that, since he was fairly astute about other things in her life.
    • Agreed with this. When they go to get drinks for the class, Andy has already shown an interest in Allison.

  • Principal Asswipe. Who the hell gives a kid TWO MONTHS of detention just for talking back, bullies him to tears, and then threatens to BEAT HIM? How does this guy still have a job? At this point the principal is just punishing Bender for existing, as nothing he does(as far as the principal sees)is bad enough to justify being locked in a closet and threatened with physical violence. I get that he's fed up with Bender's constant misbehavior, but aren't teachers supposed to help kids? I suppose discipline is easier than therapy (especially in the 80's), but Bender obviously needs help, not constant punishment.
    • Speaking as a teacher myself, I can definitely understand why the teacher in the movie was so harsh on Bender, even if I was appalled by it. Bender is a troublemaker, and sometimes it's really damn hard not to lay into the troublemakers and get really vindictive with them. He was unquestionably wrong to threaten a student, but I can sympathize with his desire to pop Bender in the mouth after he disrespects the teacher right to his face. Now granted he definitely took it way too far and I'm not defending what he did, but you need to look at it from the teacher's perspective. He (probably) doesn't know about Bender's home life. He doesn't know that Bender is being abused at home and he's just acting up to vent his frustrations against his abusive father. Since he doesn't know all those things, to the teacher Bender seems like some stupid punk who disrespects people just because he can. The kind of person who really does deserve a punch in the mouth once in a while. If the teacher knew what Bender was really going through, he might have done something besides act like a hard-nosed disciplinarian. In fact, the teacher's attitude is arguably the point. He's just as much a prisoner of his stereotypical "role" in life as the kids are.
      • Pre-service teacher here. Surely SOMEONE in the entire teaching faculty would have figured it out, or at least suspected it. Once you know that he's being abused, all his behaviour makes ridiculous amounts of sense; I find it difficult to believe that not one of the teachers in the entire school has even considered the possibility. I know it's difficult to pick up on subtle things like that when you're trying to keep a whole (probably large) class on topic and under control, and if anyone's going to pick up on it, it wouldn't be the principal, but come on guys! Just look at his face whenever someone tells him he's worthless. And it's not like they're very strict about the "don't touch the students EVER" thing either. Nobody's realized that he flinches away from physical contact with authority figures? HOW DO YOU MISS THAT, THAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU LOOK FOR! Maybe they didn't know about that stuff in the 80's...?
      • To the contrary, the 80's was when they really started emphasizing that stuff.
      • That, and it's just a sad fact of life that some teachers just don't care enough about their students to work more than they have to for them. You'll never get a raise for getting nosy about some delinquent kid no one expects anything from.
      • It might not be that they don't care. It may just be that Bender's case slipped through the cracks. It happens sometimes. Child abuse wouldn't happen if the abusers weren't any good at hiding their tracks or discrediting the victim.
      • I don't mean to disrespect the Teacher's assessment on Vernon, but there are a few holes in that assessment. Speaking as both a former high school student and a fan of the film, I was shocked that Vernon threatened to beat him senseless. However he implied that no one would believe Bender except maybe the rest of the kids. Though his threats were wrong like you said, there were some truth to them. That was the first hole. The second hole is that he is perfectly aware that Bender has a screwy home life, otherwise his "What if your home what if your Family.....what if your dope was on fire?" He just either doesn't care or is sick and tired of Bender after probably years of him being a jerk in school. Finally the reason why he even threatened Bender at the end was, that Bender running around the hallways singing was the last straw for him. What he didn't know was that Bender was distracting him so the other kids could get back to the library and off Scott free. Had he known that Bender did something for someone else other than just himself; he wouldn't condone it but would respect him a lot more for his selflessness.
      • Of course you were shocked when Vernon threatened to beat Bender senseless. It was supposed to shock you. The whole point of that scene is that Vernon has skedaddled over the thin line between "disciplinarian" and "sadistic bastard". And I don't see how anything you listed is a "hole" in my assessment. Yes, it's completely true that Bender would have a hard time getting anyone to believe that Vernon threatened to hurt him. That's the point. Bender's built himself a reputation as a trouble maker, a criminal, and a drug user. You think the cops would believe a teenage druggy who complained that his principal, an upstanding pillar of the community no doubt, threatened him with physical harm? The only way they'd believe him is if Vernon himself had a bad reputation, but we have no reason to believe he isn't very well respected by the rest of the teachers at the school. Believe me when I say that every school has at least one Designated Disciplinarian that students get sent to if they decide to clown around, and they've usually been working there longer than anyone else. Hell, I guarantee your own school had one as well. As for the "what if your dope was on fire?" line, that doesn't indicate that Vernon knows about Bender's home life. It only indicates that Vernon thinks Bender is such a worthless criminal that the only thing he cares about is his weed. It's also Vernon's way of letting Bender know that he knows about Bender's past drug use. He's saying "I know you're a filthy druggy so if you know what's good for you you'd better quit now before I catch you in the act." As for your last point, never in a million years would Vernon respect Bender more if he knew Bender was acting as a distraction so the other kids wouldn't get in trouble. That's like a cop respecting the "selflessness" of a lookout who creates a distraction so the police won't know a bank is being robbed. Vernon wouldn't respect Bender for that. If anything it would make him more angry. Not only did Bender break the rules, he aided and abetted other student's rule breaking. In retrospect Bender's probably lucky Vernon never found out the real reason he was running through the halls. That might have pushed Vernon over the edge and caused him to actually hit Bender.
      • These days, though, you're likely to get a mouthful of "HOW DARE YOU TELL ME HOW TO RAISE MY CHILD".

  • Am I the only one who notices this is set on some kind of Crapsack World where practically everybody is either a scumbag or a horrible asshole? I haven't seen the film in a long, long time, so my mind may be playing tricks on me.

    • Brian's consistently lovely, Alison is weird but does nothing mean or bad, Andy is extremely guilty about the bullying prank he pulled, Claire is actually nice to all of them, if shallow, Bender covers for the rest of them, Vernon is horrible but also pathetic, and the janitor is merely sardonic. The teenagers complain about their families and friends because that was the whole set-up of the movie.
      • Still doesn't take the sour taste out of my mouth. Seriously. And that still doesn't answer my question.
      • If people generally saw the movie that way, it wouldn't have been successful. The story is about the kids overcoming their differences. It requires the audience to sympathize with them.
      • How does it not answer the question? Does Claire being a little shallow automatically make her jerkass or an arsehole? The reason the film was so successful was because it portrayed High School fairly well. That despite the different groups there are, they can share some common interests and get along with each other and that they all have their faults.

  • Brian's parents. Not to be nitpicky here, but whatever plan they got up their sleeve just won't fly, especially nowadays. I'm assuming they want him to have perfect grades to get into an Ivy League college, but there's a lot of problems with their methods. They don't really seem to care if he actually does get the grades; more reason to push him harder. They seem totally indifferent to whatever emotional suffering he's probably going through, and I wouldn't be surprised their treatment of him was all For the Evulz, considering their plans have no valid basis in reality.
    • wasn't this kind of the point of the subplot about Brian's parents?
    • You think that sort of environment wasn't common? Isn't common? I saw plenty of kids have lives just like that. I almost did too, but I did get compassion too. Also, why do you say they don't really care if he gets the grades? And in the 80s (and 90s), you *could* get into college on the basis of academic excellence. (I did.)
      • Exactly. There were just way fewer young people in The Eighties. I'm a few years younger, middle of Generation X, and every classroom I was ever in from kindergarten to senior year, public schools in two different districts and catholic school in between, the last two rows were empty. Not a Dying Town either.
    • Still, mental cruelty is mental cruelty, bar none.
    • There are more than a few parents out there who see their children as lazy slackers who need to be driven- or who refuse to face a reality where their children don't succeed. If they don't get the grades, it's always their fault. If they take a minute off to relax, they're wasting time they should be using to study. The children often end up hating their parents, and the parents are often blind to how their children are feeling and dealing with the stress. It happens.
      • This troper was under the impression that Brian's parents were narcissists who were living vicariously through their sons academic success. If the illusion of perfection is cracked, they crack.
    • Another interpretation: Brian's clothes, the K-car his mother drives, the "white trash" way she sounds when she speaks, and the general shabbiness he carries with him indicate that his family doesn't have much money. I always read the pressure his parents put on him to succeed academically, while misguided, happens because they want him to go to college and have a better future. The only way he's going to be able to go to college is on an academic scholarship, because he's not athletic and his parents can't pay for it. Also, while there's some emotional abusiveness toward Brian, he puts some of the pressure on himself because he understands this, and it's his "ticket" away from his home life.

What year in school are they supposed to be in? We see 4 of the 5 (excluding Bender), being driven. This possibly implies they haven't turned 16 yet (making them most likely freshman/sophomores.) Bender takes himself, but whether that is because of neglect on his parents part, or him being older than the rest, I don't know. (considering his rebellious, slacker attitude, it is likely he failed at least one grade
  • I can't answer for Claire, but in my state anyway, a parent or guardian has to teach the kid how to drive. Allison's parents don't care enough to teach her, Brian's parents refuse because not allowing him a car limits his mobility and gives them more control over him, and Andy and Bender can't afford to buy a car/their parents can't afford to buy them cars.
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