I saw this movie again about two days ago, which is what spurred this post.
The Breakfast Club is regarded as the quintessential '80s movie by the quintessential '80s director, but it's not that great. John Hughes was onto something when he wrote and directed this movie. It's a great idea, and I really like movies that run as if they were plays. This one is enterttaining because you can imagine yourself sitting in an auditorium watching this story that takes place in basically one room. (side note: another movie that runs like a play is "Two Girls And A Guy" with Robert Downey, Jr. and Heather Graham and someone else I forget who plays the second girl. I enjoyed that film, too.)
The basic idea is that he gets together 5 kids who have nothing in common on the surface, but come to realize that they actually have more in common than they would have thought. I think this is an really deep idea that should be mined for as much as it's worth. There's a lot of material here to mine out. The probalem I have with this movie is that it's just really disjointed and it's not executed as well as it should be. It's good, but it could be much better. So the reason it's underrated is that the potential for a classic movie is really there, but instead it's sortof a pedestrian affair.
The main problem I have with the movie is that the kids just go back and forth between liking and hating each other without any real reason. Judd Nelson is very good in the role, but his character just jumps between having sympathy for the others and then outright hating them within seconds. And then in the end, he's basically just like "I was just kidding, Molly Ringwald, I liked you all along." And then Emilio Estevez is like, "Gee, Ally Sheedy, you're pretty cute, lets make out for a minute or two." And Ally Sheedy is like, "Well, I've developed this image as an outsider and even though I'm pretty I'm gonna wear black eye makeup and not wash my hair so that I have copious amounts of dandruff, but since Molly Ringwald wants to put eye liner on me, I guess I'll abandon everything I've got going here and make out with Emilio Estevez for a minute or two."
Basically, the ending is kindof hollow for me because we really didn't get deep enough into the characters. Also there isn't really a moment when any of these relationships really form. Again, the groundwork is there. And the idea of the things they have in common slowly coming out through the course of the day is interesting. The little speech that each of them makes about how they really view themselves is pretty good. I can buy that all of them are friendly afterward, and the best part of the movie is when Molly Ringwald says that she probably wouldn't be friends with any of them on Monday. There just isn't enough there for these relationships to have formed at the end. Also the indecision through the course of in terms of liking and hating each other really bothers me.
The iMDB page for the movie says that the original cut was about 150 minutes and was trimmed down to an '80s style 97 minutes for theatrical release. So I'm guessing...I'm hoping, that the original cut wasn't quite so abrupt in dealing with these kids feelings, but the existing fils leaves me just a little bit hollow.
For the record, I do enjoy the movie and there are certain parts that are really powerful, but I felt like the whole thing could have been that powerful, rather than just a certain few minutes.