#1. The Breakfast Club
I sure am stickin' it to John Hughes this week.
In The Breakfast Club, a brain, a basket case, a jock, a criminal, and a princess all end up in detention one Saturday. This group of people who would otherwise never hang out in high school are forced to spend an entire day in a confined space. They play truth or dare, avoid their grumpy principal, argue, cry, laugh, smoke some weed, and do the things that John Hughes assumes high people do (choreographed dances?). They get real. They learn. They grow. Some even find love.
(Well, the pretty people find love. The socially awkward brain does everyone's homework and goes home. Alone. As he lived and will eventually die.)
Although the chance to narrate a film's closing voice-over may well be worth death and despair.
The Missing Epilogue
Did they remain friends when they went back to school on Monday? Or did they immediately return to their respective social circles and continue ignoring each other? The brain character, Brian, actually raises this point in the movie when he accosts the rest of the group because he assumes they'll go back to ignoring him when school starts up on Monday. Was he right, or did everyone change? This is important to me, because it can turn The Breakfast Club into either an amazing movie or a shitty movie.
If the kids show up to school on Monday and form a new clique that breaks down social barriers and challenges conventional high school's idea of archetypes and popularity hierarchies, that makes The Breakfast Club a piece of shit movie. If the jock and the brain become best friends and the criminal and princess start a relationship and have a family and a million babies, we'd lose the realism and honesty that was present throughout all of The Breakfast Club's non-weed-related moments. The Breakfast Club was great because it was just a slightly heightened version of reality. Throwing in a big huge happy ending makes The Breakfast Club a cartoon.
Probably a Saturday morning musical spinoff.
The right ending would have the kids all going back to their own cliques, because that's how you survive high school. The criminal goes back to being high and making fun of the brain, the princess goes back to ignoring everyone, and the jock continues doing whatever popular jocks do in high school (probably some cool, outside-the-box sex act that I still know nothing about). That ending makes The Breakfast Club heartbreaking and real and kind of a perfect movie.
"Happily ever after" kills this movie, "tragically ever after" saves it, and "super ambiguous ending" gives us nothing.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked's Head Writer and Creative Director of Video. He is the pop culture expert for History Channel's Your Bleeped Up Brain, and if you hate TV and the Internet, you can watch him do stand-up live this Tuesday in Santa Monica.