You see us as you want to see us … in the simplest terms and 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? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
The classic line from 1985’s The Breakfast Club. A movie which seems to be a coming-of-age story at first glance, but is quite more than that. It revolves around five high school students, each with a completely different personality, who meet in detention, and somehow find things that are common to them despite the innumerable differences in their lives. The movie is pretty much set entirely in that detention room, but it hardly has a dull moment, as the five keep us thoroughly entertained with their thoughts, dialogues and antics. The Breakfast Club was made on a production budget of just a million dollars and went on to earn more than fifty times that figure at the box-office. As time has passed, it has developed a cult following, and even now, thirty years since its release, it remains as entertaining and even relevant as it was back in 1985. Interestingly though, the five school students in that movie did not really manage to shape their Hollywood careers into something bigger after The Breakfast Club. Let’s look at how things fared for them since the success of that classic movie of 1985.
Andrew Clarke, as he was known in The Breakfast Club – the athlete who was living his father’s dream – was played by Emilio Estevez who was 22 years old at the time of the movie’s release. Of the entire cast, his name would seem to be the most familiar, partly because he is the son of Martin Sheen and the older brother of Charlie Sheen, and partly since he did manage to stretch his career with some amount of success. 1985 in itself was a high point in Estevez’s career as St. Elmo’s Fire and That Was Then… This Is Now released after The Breakfast Club, though the latter remained the most popular of the lot. By late 1986, Estevez had made his directorial debut too with Wisdom though it did not do too well. Estevez never managed to jump into the next league of actors, the kind who drive big blockbusters on the might of their name, but he continued to enjoy modest success with Stakeout, the western film Young Guns, and then in 1992, the popular hockey movie The Mighty Ducks which turned into a franchise. By the late 90s, we were seeing little of Emilio Estevez, though credit to him, he kept pushing himself as a director and came up with probably his most interesting piece of work in 2006 titled Bobby which is a fictionalized account of the hours leading up to the shooting of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 (nominated for Golden Globe). In 2010, Estevez directed and starred in another drama movie called The Way, and that’s the last we have heard of him.
Claire, the princess, the prom queen. Molly Ringwald was a few days away from turning eighteen when The Breakfast Club released. Two years back though she had already been nominated for a Golden Globe in the “New Star of the Year” category for her performance in Tempest. With the success of The Breakfast Club and then Pretty in Pink, Ringwald took little time to be termed as a teen icon of the 1980s. More roles in romantic-comedy movies followed such as in The Pick-Up Artist along side Robert Downey, Jr. and the 1988 movie For Keeps. In the 1990s, Ringwald moved for a little while to France and became part of the French movie industry. She also sought to move to more mature roles but did not find much success as she grew older. Since the mid-90s there has not been anything of comparable quality in Ringwald’s career to her performances seen in the ’80s. She was even relegated to side roles in most films. Her latest on-screen appearance was in this year’s Jem and the Holograms which had a disastrous opening. Ringwald though has been a part of the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager and will be seen in another TV series titled The Wonderful Wayneys soon.
Judd Nelson played John Bender, the notorious face of The Breakfast Club, the criminal, the rebel. He was 25 years old at that time, but this was only his third movie. He starred along with Emilio Estevez in St. Elmo’s Fire in the same year, and these two movies made Nelson an instant popular figure in Hollywood. Nelson appeared in a lot of drama and crime movies in the late ’80s and early ’90s, featuring as the lead protagonist in flicks such as Blue City and Relentless. He was part of the more successful New Jack City which had Wesley Snipes in the lead role. Somewhere around the mid-90s, Nelson started finding the opportunities to play lead roles of any meaningful nature slip away. In 1997, he starred in a more juicy role in Steel starring the popular NBA star Shaquille O’Neal; but the movie bombed terribly at the box-office. With the turn of the century, Nelson found himself featuring more in movies made directly for television. Work for Nelson may not have dried up, but it is a distant shout from the good old ’80s. More recently, he has featured in the popular TV show Empire which ain’t a bad thing after all.
The basket case, Allison Reynolds, played by Ally Sheedy won many hearts in The Breakfast Club. She then featured again in the year in St. Elmo’s Fire. But as quickly as Ally Sheedy rose to prominence (she was 22 at time of release of The Breakfast Club), equally quick seemed to be her decline. She was nominated for three Golden Raspberry awards in a span of five years for her roles in Blue City (paired with Judd Nelson who also got a nomination for Raspberry award), Heart of Dixie and Betsy’s Wedding. She moved towards indie movies for most part of her career with mixed results. The 1998 movie High Art, where Sheedy plays a renowned photographer, however got her recognition from a host of award shows including the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. Since then it has been more or less of average roles in average movies for Sheedy, mainly indie movies and in supporting roles. Her last role was in 2014’s Fugly! which holds a 4.1 rating on Imdb at the time of writing.
Anthony Michael Hall
Brian Johsnon, the nerd, the brain of The Breakfast Club, was played by Anhtony Michael Hall who has been in the field of acting since age seven. At the age of 17, he was already part of The Breakfast Club, and then another hit movie Weird Science which too released in 1985. Hall became part of Saturday Night Live around the same time, probably to break away from the geeky roles he had been taking. Unlike his other cast members of The Breakfast Club, Hall did not feature a lot in movies in the late ’80s (apparently due to drinking problems). He then featured notably in 1990′s Edward Scissorhands renowned for Johnny Depp’s amazing performance. He was also part of the fantastic cast in 1993’s Six Degrees of Separation. Much of the ’90s for Anthony Michael Hall though brought him roles in indie movies or as part of supporting cast. In 1999 he was back in the news for the acclaimed TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley in which he played Bill Gates. In 2002, Hall got the lead role in the sci-fi TV series The Dead Zone which ran for six seasons. After the series was not renewed due to fall in ratings, Hall has been seen in small movie roles or in other TV shows; one such role was in The Dark Knight where he played the journalist whom The Joker kidnaps. He is now associated with the comedy movie War Machine starring Brad Pitt.