I loved that movie then and I love it now. Its flaws certainly more obvious now, the stereotypes so exaggerated that they are not as interesting as I remembered them to be way back when. I came away from it and remembered wanting so much to identify with the Judd Nelson character. The rebel. With his long hair and I-don't-care-that-you-don't-care-about-me attitude.
The truth is that I really identified with the Anthony-Michael Hall character. Yes, the nerd was my part to play in school. The geek, except without the good grades. Getting picked on from time to time and just taking it. Not good at sports and not good at being cool. My glasses were big and my haircut was all wrong. Shy to a fault, I just took my time finding my place. I finally did, but when The Breakfast Club came out, I was still Anthony-Michael Hall.
Thankfully, as is often the case, I turned out pretty well. The people who struggle with high school tend to turn out to be pretty cool adults. I made good friends and found my groove. And so, while waiting for my son and watching all of these high schoolers making their way out of the building, I was at peace. Most of these kids are going to become pretty awesome adults. Their parents are prouder of them than they know. They are struggling now, but things are going to work out just fine.
And then it occurred to me. Life had snuck up on me again. As I had finally found peace with being nerdy Anthony-Michael Hall and not cool Judd Nelson, I realized that twenty-one years had passed and I was not even as cool as nerdy Anthony-Michael Hall. I was waiting in my Honda station wagon for my son. I was Anthony-Michael Hall's dad picking him up after school.
How many of us first watched The Breakfast Club wanting to be Judd Nelson? How many of us wanted to be Anthony-Michael Hall? How many of us wanted to be Emilo Estevez? And lastly, how many of us wanted to be The Dad? That's what I thought. Ouch.
(The thing is, I'm proud to be The Dad. My son's one of those people who will be a very awesome adult. He shows every sign of that. I just hate that I am nearing the age where I can identify with movie characters who struggle not with high school but with prostate cancer. Time keeps on ticking...)