The Breakfast Club

by Duck

One evening at the end of January, leaving the movie theater, (that was showing films exclusively in second viewing, already "vintage" at the time), I decided that my new look had to be the one worn by John, the "criminal", one of the five teenagers who, as a punishment, spend Saturdays locked in their high school in the film I had just seen: "The Breakfast Club".

But let's take a step or two back.

In the early ‘80s groups of Italian teenagers started hanging out in fast food restaurants that for the first time appeared in Italy and began to wear clothes that visibly appear as American. To the great happiness of the shopkeepers, these young people stock up on very expensive Levi's jeans, Timberland boots or Burlington socks and on many other clothes that were American, or sounded as American (like Best Company, El Charro etc.). These young people were called "paninari", "sandwich eaters"... The same brands, however, were unknown in the US or they were just as appealing as any other brand. Nevertheless, American teenagers also had their own tribes, with well-defined clothing, behavioral and aesthetic codes.

Thanks to countless US TV series and movies, these tribes have become familiar to all teenagers in the world. The film that first, or certainly in the best way, encodes and exports these models is "The Breakfast Club", shot in 1985 by John Hughes.

So here we are at the screening (in second viewing) which I attend with an older schoolmate of mine. When I leave the theater I am excited, even if very far from me those five boys immediately become my friends, because they represent the doubts, insecurities, curiosity and fears that all teenagers in the world have in common, myself included.

"The Breakfast Club" is one of those films that mark an era, and not only that, it is a film that never gets old over time. In the following decades, fashions have changed, ways of communicating have changed, internet and social networks have upset everything, but that restlessness that every teenager lives in the passage of the shadow line between childhood and adulthood, so well told in the film, never went away.

John, Andy, Brian, Claire and Allison, the five protagonists of the film, represent every teenager of every era. The director manages to transform these five masks, these five characters into five real people.

There's John the criminal, Claire the princess the most popular girl in high school, Andrew the athlete, Brian the nerd, and finally Allison, the weird misfit. After all, each of them inside is a mix of these five characters, but they are cataloged for simplicity with that mask, framed into that role. Under the uniforms they wear, they are much more complex people, who struggle to grow and become, unfortunately for them, adults.

As the ultimate form of rebellion, the five will decide to write a collective letter to answer the question of the theme that they should have written individually: "Who am I?".

You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal. Does that answer your question?
The Breakfast Club

Obviously when I see the film I don't understand all these things, I simply fall in love with John's look: his Levi's denim jacket, his jeans (obviously always Levi's) worn over untied combat boots. Of his Soviet dissident coat (yes, we are in the mid-1980s, before the fall of the wall) and his lumberjack's checkered shirt, worn with the sleeves cut off.

And that's how I dress until summer comes to make me change my mind. Actually, even Andrew, the athlete, had a pretty good look, with that "varsity" jacket that I basically envy. 

Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, go to the cinema closest to you that is showing it. Sorry, times have changed, I withdraw everything, just search for it online.

And there is no need to thank for this advice.