Friday, August 28, 2009

Molly and Company...

My oldest son is starting High School in about a week. The sole purpose of middle school seemed to be preparing him for this next step; that has been accomplished. Nonetheless, I thought it might be a good time for us all to watch The Breakfast Club.

How much do I love that movie? I’ve probably seen it four times but not once in the last decade. I realize now that those kids achieved some kind of artistic perfection in that film. I can’t remember enjoying any of them as much in anything they’ve done since. Well, except for Ally Sheedy in Single White Female. Oh wait…that was Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Unlike other coming of age movies, there’s something about The Breakfast Club that makes the actors and their characters indistinguishable. Meaning, I never thought of Judd Nelson as his character, “Bender.” Or Molly Ringwald as “Claire.” The movie doesn’t really have a “Ferris Bueller.” Or a “Baby.” Or a “Spicoli.” So in my mind, The Breakfast Club actors have never really moved out of those roles from 1985.

Tonight I’m going to a reunion of sorts. I reconnected with an old friend from high school who is visiting the old neighborhood and in his honor there will be a gathering of old schoolmates. It’s different from a regular high school reunion in that most of the guests are not from my graduating class. So unlike my ex-classmates, these are not people that I’ve been in interim touch with in the last 30 years. Like the cast of The Breakfast Club, they have truly been frozen in time.

This became so clear to me last week when I had a small meltdown after reading the guest list. There was one name that made my blood boil. “Why is he invited?” I started asking anyone who would listen to me. “He was such a jerk!”

He really was a jerk, a perfect storm of every negative trait of each of my Breakfast Club buddies – pompous and cruel being the two frontrunners. But that was thirty years ago. Of course he may still be. He may be a card-carrying, BMW-driving schmuck.

Or maybe, like some of us, he’s changed.

The first time I saw The Breakfast Club, I was convinced I was Ally Sheedy. Upon later viewings, I believed I was “Ally Sheedy without the grossness.” Then, “Ally Sheedy, without the weirdness” (which, face it, leaves very little to that character at all). But when I watched it the other night, I had an epiphany. I don’t think I was ever Ally Sheedy. Sadly, I think I’ve always been Anthony Michael Hall.

As for my son – I’m not really sure where he’ll net out. He doesn’t seem like any of the Breakfast Clubbers to me. But I did have to take a deep breath the other day when he slid into the foyer, air guitar in hand, belting out the first few bars of “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

(“Joel, I don’t’ remember saying anything about a party…”)

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