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YMMV / The Breakfast Club

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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Grab some wood there, bub."
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Some consider the actual moral to be "no one actually learned anything".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: By the bucketload.
    • Was Vernon actually going to beat Bender down? Or was it all an act to prove that Bender isn't as tough as he says he is? Is Vernon a jerkass authority figure that uses his authority to bully the students or is he the designated villain of the movie?
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    • Did Bender really back down because he was afraid of Vernon or did he do it because he knew that if he'd struck Vernon then he'd get kicked out of school and choose not to fall for Vernon's trap?
    • Does the gang really care about each other? Sure they formed some kind of bond during detention but exactly how close that bond is is up for debate. Some feel that the day was spent finding new ways to take advantage of each other.
    • A case could be made for Brian's parents being Well Intentioned Extremists who were totally in the dark about his suicidal tendencies. But from the brief time we see his mother, she at least is clearly very hard.
    • Older viewers are more likely to sympathise with Vernon and Carl, viewing the teens as overly angsty and unlikeable.
    • Is Carl a Knight In Sour Armor or just as self-centered as the rest of the adults?
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    • In regards to Alison's infamous Unnecessary Makeover, it looks much worse in hindsight as Claire seems to be doing it not out of any genuine feelings of "friendship" or consideration, but so she'll fit in better with the in crowd and essentially turn the poor girl into a clone of her.note 
  • Anvilicious: Growing Up Sucks and Adults Are Useless. The movie pulls no punches in shoving it in your face.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Don't You (Forget About Me)", the theme song performed by Simple Minds.
    • The closing credits music too, which was a song — no, an anthemic powerhouse of a funk/rock dancer — called "Heart Too Hot to Hold" by Jesse Johnson and Stephanie Spruill.
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    • "Fire in the Twilight" by Wang Chung, which is heard during the "running from Vernon" scene, is also delightfully catchy.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Bender. You either love him for being a sympathetic, flawed jerk, or think he's an insufferable prick who got with Claire, despite previously harassing her.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The dance montage late in the film. Nothing sets it up, it doesn't advance the plot and is never mentioned again. One could see it as the moment where most of the group finally loosened up and became capable of opening up to/with each other.
    • When the gang smokes Bender's weed, Andy gets super enthusiastic and dances around the library, complete with gymnastic moves like back-flips. If that wasn't odd enough, he then slams a door and breaks all the glass in it. This is never brought up again nor does anyone show any concern about a bunch of broken glass.
  • Broken Base:
    • The makeover that Alison got from Claire, while it is a known complaint of the movie in which some even accuse it of being a rather anti-individual Family-Unfriendly Aesop there are also those who will defend it (see Unnecessary Makeover and Misaimed Fandom below).
    • The pairings at the end with Bender & Claire and Andrew & Alison. While there are plenty of viewers who find them to be classic examples of cinematic romance, there are also plenty of those who find one or both of them to be blatant cases of Designated Love Interest that would never last. Those who go for the latter often either prefer alternate pairings or believe they all were just too horrible to each other (specifically Bender & Claire) for any romance to reasonably last. Or on a slightly more positive note, some may find the debates silly by stating that High-School romances normally don't last at all anyways.
    • Related to the complaint about the pair-ups for the film consisting of Bender & Claire and Andrew & Alison, a number of fans are upset that this meant Brian was left alone at the end of the film. Many fans defend the decision, debating that Brian didn't "need" a relationship the same way some of the other members of the group got or that because of how he was raised his emotional maturity still needed work (John Hughes himself said Brian wasn't socially mature enough to be in a relationship). Other fans are still angry, pointing out that Brian's maturity level was no less than the other members of the group, such as Alison or Bender, and the other reasons come off more like excuses. The fact that Brian is a nerd, and thus the uncool one of the group, is left alone to write a paper while the other four kids all go make-out clashes with the theme of the movie to some.
  • "Common Knowledge": Everyone knows that Bender crawls through an airshaft to get back to the library. Except he doesn't. As this clip shows, he crawls through the ceiling, not an airshaft.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The Breakfast Club is to Sixteen Candles what Neon Genesis Evangelion is to The Simpsons. A common complaint some viewers have about the film is that, in spite of its moments of levity, the film is too bleak and cynical to get emotionally invested in. In addition, there are virtually zero characters that aren't damaged or have some sort of agenda, and a popular interpretation of the ending is that the kids didn't really learn anything, and will most likely become just as bad as their parents, if not worse.
  • Ear Worm:
    • Don't you... Forget about me...
    • We are not alone! You'll find out when your cover's blown..
  • Fan Fic Fuel: The rather open-ended ending on how it wasn't answered whether if the 5 actually stayed friends or not by Monday in which of course does rely on your stance in the idealism vs cynicism debate. While there are viewers who went for the flat out Idealistic belief that all 5 of them stayed friends and the Official Couples (Bender X Claire and Andy X Allison) did truly last while others believed that they all went their separate ways by Monday. However, there are plenty who Took a Third Option and go with a bit of both. Either on how they all still stay to be friends but the Official Couples didn't last. Or some of them still stay friends while some of them don't (usually it's either Claire and/or Andy that ditches them to stay with their cliques and it's Bender, Allison and Brian that are still friends. However, those who do this option are normally those who ship Bender with Allison). Or maybe those who had already admitted to or exhibited their own coldness drop most of the others (Bender and Claire), while those who said they wouldn't don't (Andy, Brian, and Allison). Also the suggestion/Word of God tidbit that there were several planned sequels, five years apart, revisiting the characters.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Believe it or not, it's not all that uncommon for fans to ship Bender and Allison.
  • Foe Yay: Bender and Claire. They Do.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Considering the rise of the Education Mama nowadays, watching Brian's subplot with his family may have this effect.
    • The story of Brian bringing a gun to school, regardless of the fact that it's a flare gun, wouldn't sound funny considering the recent school shootings and suicides, if the implication of him killing himself is true, that have been occurring.
      • There is also the fact that Brian would have faced a harsher punishment by today's standers had he brought a gun to school. Flare gun or otherwise.
      • More broadly, the idea that he was going to bring a gun and only shoot himself has dated the movie. This was lampshaded by an episode of X Play where a parody version of this scene had the character reveal he was planning on killing everyone else, but had decided to spare the rest of the club now.
    • Threatening someone with a knife, like Bender did, would be grounds of expulsion and even arrest charges in this day and age, even if he didn't use it.
    • The pot smoking scene, while perhaps funny in 1985, doesn't age well after the "Just Say No!" campaign of the mid-late 1980s put a major damper on the social acceptance of marijuana use among most teenagers, although recent political changes have swung this back in the other direction.
    • Bender's advances on Claire would land him with a sexual harassment charge, or worse.
    • As mentioned under Values Dissonance, Bender and Andy using the word "Faggot" so casually makes both characters look quite a bit nastier today than it did in 1985. Especially in the case of Andy, as he's not supposed to have the same level of Jerkass exterior that Bender does.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: As a Casting Gag in X-Men: Apocalypse, Ally Sheedy plays a high school teacher in 1983 who sends Scott Summers (a.k.a. Cyclops) to the principal's office.
  • Ho Yay: One moment, when Bender tries to psyche out Andy.
    Bender: You know, you're kinda sexy when you're angry.
    • Claire and Allison also have their moments, particularly on Allison's end.
  • Hype Backlash: Somewhat inevitable, considering the film's damn-near universal acclaim.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Of all the five kids who have a troublesome background right behind their behavior, Bender in particular counts as such, big time. Andy to a lesser extent, as he's never portrayed as a jerk in the film, but rather hearkens back to something he did.
    • Depending on the interpretation, Vernon could be considered this to older viewers. Taking into account the kind of teens he has to put up with it's no wonder he turned into such a cynical individual.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Allison is admired by some fans for her proto-goth style and unabashedly quirky behavior, and her makeover near the end of the film is often considered an Unnecessary Makeover which replaces the uniqueness of her look with a more conventional, less interesting style. This overlooks the film's depiction of Allison as lonely and unhappy with her status on the fringe of school society, and desperate for attention and friends: in context, the makeover is a welcome gesture of friendship on Claire's part and a visual indication that Allison is reaching out to her peers, rather than the denial of her individuality that it's often taken to be.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Or at the very least, a major Kick the Dog. Threatening an abused kid in a closed room with a physical beating and using your respective reputations to get away with it in case he tried to tell, really? Then going off to sneak peeks at confidential psychological files — and is caught by Carl, who promptly blackmails him.
  • Older Than They Think: Bart Simpson's famous Catchphrase, "Eat my shorts!", was originally a Shout-Out to one of Bender's lines in this film. Now, it's commonly believed to have originated on The Simpsons. note 
  • Rewatch Bonus: You can see Brian's flare-damaged locker in the opening montage.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Some tend to look at the teenagers a little too cynically, viewing them all as dysfunctional monsters. This is forgetting the fact that they are teenagers - and it is universally agreed that life pretty much tends to suck at that age and they have plenty of time to mature and grow as people.
    • For some who don't see Bender in a sympathetic light tend to paint him as an even worse individual than how he's portrayed in the movie. Cracked for instance interpret that nothing good will come from Bender and Claire's relationship and the film is just the start of a tragic downward spiral for the two.
  • Sacred Cow: Go ahead. Say something negative about The Breakfast Club. It will not end well.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Bender fist-bumping towards the sky on the football field as he leaves detention at the end.
    • The dance scene in the library.
  • Squick: Bender is offhandedly shown brushing his teeth with one of Claire's makeup brushes. Claire is later seen using the brush on Allison's face. Also, when Claire takes out her diamond earring and Bender puts it in his own ear without cleaning it. Anyone who's ever had infected piercings knows what happens next.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • While sure it may come off that Claire was acting like a total bitch because of her response towards Brian's comment on if they're going to still be friends when the school week approaches, she has made a good point that given each of the group's social classes, the chances of them remaining friends Post Saturday Detention is pretty slim and pointed out the reasons why it won't be happening.
    • On the same vein, Claire is accused of being "conceited" by Brian and looked down on by Bender for pointing out that Brian's friends look up to hers and Andy's, and that him saying "hi" to them on the corridors isn't the same as the other way around. While she does come out as being vain, she's not exactly wrong: if the character' school has the stereotypical clique chain, the backlash a "nerd" would get from his own clique if he approached a "popular kid" is unlikely to be on the same level as the one Claire/Andy would receive from their friends for suddenly befriending someone their clique might perceive as of "lower rank". It's still unfair of Claire to presume Brian doesn't understand pressure, but his peer pressure seems related to keep getting straight A's (and comes mostly from his parents), having little to do with who he associates with.
    • Vernon might have overstepped his authority when he threatened to beat up Bender, but considering the crap he pulled throughout the movie (bringing weed to school, destroying school property, and threatening his classmates with bodily harm on more than one occasion), it's not hard to take his side.
  • Tough Act to Follow: It's widely accepted that The Breakfast Club set such a high standard for teen films that none of the Brat Pack actors involved went on to do anything of the same caliber.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Bender might come off as this to the modern viewers. While he was always intended to look like a jerk in the beginning, some acts of his jerkassery aged extremely bad. The fact that he got together with Claire at the end after a whole movie of harassing her also can be seen as more horrific than optimistic since their relationship comes across as an abusive relationship.
    • Taking today's social issue against sexual harassment into account the movie does provide a wrong message that if you harass someone enough times then you'll eventually get what you want.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: The current Trope Illustrator.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Both Bender and Andy use the word "fag/faggot" without being punished or reprimanded for it. Today, the word is seen as an insult almost on par with the N-word, but in The '80s, the term would essentially be seen as just another swear, and doesn't imply that either of them were gay-bashers.
    • Bender's advances on Claire could land him in hot water in today's society where there is pressure on authorities to take such offenses more seriously.
    • Brian's punishment of a Saturday detention for bringing a (flare) gun to school is shockingly laughable these days. Conversely, for someone who went to a school which never had them, the idea of spending an entire Saturday — indeed, any length of time on a non-school day — can seem like cruel and unusual punishment (obviously not for bringing a gun to school, though).
    • There is a relatively minor case regarding the fact that Claire brought sushi for lunch, which serves as a symbol of how wealthy and elitist her family is. Back in the '80s sushi was a far more exotic and expensive dish, but over the years it's become more affordable and gained more mainstream popularity. Granted, as a school lunch it's still out of the ordinary, but not quite to the extent that it was at the time the film was released.
    • An oft-posted comic using captured scene stills posits that the film wouldn't work if it was made today, as all of the children would be glued to their mobile devices and tablets during the length of detention. Even allowing for the prospect of Vernon not confiscating devices, or for him doing so and the kids sneaking some in anyway, it's a pretty tall order to think they'd all go a full nine hours without any sort of meaningful interaction.
    • Vernon's bullying of the students, especially locking Bender into a closet, is meant to show his Dean Bitterman side. Nowadays an educator doing any of this to students would be fired on the spot, no matter who the student was.
  • Values Resonance: Despite all the dissonant issues listed above, this movie still attracts a strong fanbase to this day. There are plenty of High School teens who can easily relate to the Breakfast Club even 30 years after the movie first came out. Molly Ringwald has even pointed this out as she has told stories about how teenage girls have approached her and told her about how the movie was so about their generation in which Molly was rather shocked about it and has tried to tell them that the movie was more about her generation.
  • Wangst:
    • In-Universe, Claire is very frequently accused of this but while all of the students have accused Claire of being Wangsty, Andy and Bender are the most prominent accusers.
    • Principal Vernon has also been accused of this by Carl the Janitor.


Example of: