Twenty five years ago, "a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, and a recluse" spent a day together in high school detention-- and revolutionized the youth film genre. Sure, before John Hughes's The Breakfast Club there had been other teen flicks, but never before had that strange combination of humiliation, melodrama, and hope that is the adolescent experience been so powerfully captured on celluloid. And now, virtually all of the youth entertainment made today-- from the rapturous intensity of the Twilight films to the urgent confessions of Gossip Girl, has been influenced in some way by what those five kids did on that fateful day in detention.
In my new book, You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, And Their Impact on a Generation (Crown), I explored the history behind the making of the seminal 1980s youth movies The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, St. Elmo's Fire, Some Kind of Wonderful and Say Anything, while also examining their lasting pop-cultural impact. Through my interviews with the actors, filmmakers, and other insiders from that time, I saw a picture emerge-- a picture of a group of people who loved their craft, their movies, and each other. They had no idea they were making the films that would comprise the golden age of American youth cinema.
Rather than being seen as relics from the "totally awesome '80s," the films have now become timeless modern classics, gaining greater pop-cultural resonance with each passing year as they continue to influence the way many people think about everything from love and sex to class distinction, fashion, friendship, and music.
Totally awesome, indeed.