The Breakfast Club ★★★★½

A seventeen-year-old African American kid named John Singleton, in his capacity as his paper’s film critic at Blair High School in Pasadena, California, caught a preview screening early in 1985 and was bowled over. “What I liked most about the picture was that the various characters were teenage stereotypes, but they were rooted in genuine problems,” he says. “I didn’t feel alienated by the fact that they were white kids — they were just teens finding their way into adulthood — like I was.” It may not be immediately evident, but Boyz n the Hood, Singleton’s 1991 directorial debut, set in peak-gangsta-era South Central Los Angeles, has more than a Hughes DNA in its varied array of teen characters. “He gave me a template.

- David Kamp (2018)

I propose that this beloved movie lives or dies on Ally Sheedy’s quirky performance as Allison.

Of course, there’s the perennial question: does she sell out at the end?  (Perhaps we should base that judgment less upon Emilio Estevez’s reaction and more upon the dialogue between the women.)

And then there’s Allison’s line near the end about how adults “lose their hearts” as they grow up (juxtaposed against an observation that they’re destined to become their parents).  Is it groan-inducing?  Maybe.  That said, although viewing deleted scenes usually ends up being a lesson in the importance of editing, there’s an extended version of the introduction of Carl the janitor where he delivers a shockingly articulate and acerbic monologue — summarizing his own journey to the “custodial arts” and predicting where each kid will end up — that would have imbued Allison’s line with the gravity is deserves.  That is to say, Carl is the probably not far from the truth, but neither is Allison.