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The Breakfast Club

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Image credit: The Breakfast Club, 1985

I’m halfway through my journey through late-20th century pivotal movie years, and after falling in love with the 1960s, then being terrified by the 1970s, it’s now time to turn my focus to the 1980s. Was it all greedy capitalists and neon clothes like nostalgia projects like Stranger Things and The Wedding Singer would have us believe? Was there an element of rebellion against the dark grittiness that preceded the era? Let’s turn to 1985 for answers, beginning with the maestro of teen angst, John Hughes.

For anyone who has ever spent a summer in Texas, The Breakfast Club (Disc/Download) will feel extremely familiar. Sitting in the air conditioning, fearful of being burned alive by stepping outside, you start to believe you’re one of these bored kids in high school detention all day. Although I can empathize with them, I’ve still never been blown away by the film as a whole. I understand it’s trying to be one of those movies where character development is more important than plot (the kind of film Richard Linklater makes so well), but I walk away from this feeling like the five main characters never really developed or changed. It’s fun to see Judd Nelson take on the authoritative Vice Principal, less fun to see him bully his classmates. Relationships and alliances are formed almost on a whim, and I frankly don’t buy that any of these people will speak to each other again when detention ends. But they had one unusual day together, and I guess that’s enough sometimes.

Speaking of unusual, Ally Sheedy makes a pretty weird cereal sandwich during the course of detention, so this week, let’s have a brunch drink fit for a teenager with terrible dietary habits. While watching The Breakfast Club, I recommend drinking this Captain Crunch Milk Punch.

Captain Crunch Milk Punch

1 1/4 oz Bourbon

1/2 oz Dark Rum

2 oz Milk

1/8 oz Vanilla Extract

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Captain Crunch Cereal (for garnish)

Combine bourbon, rum, milk, vanilla extract, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice, and garnish with Captain Crunch cereal.

It’s extremely tempting to watch this movie and then ask the question, “Which one was I?” I suppose I was half-Princess / half-Brain, but maybe there was a dose of Basket Case in there too. The Breakfast Club is a movie I revisit every few years to see if it appeals to me more as I get older, and at this point the answer is still no. However, I like it enough to keep trying. On that note, save me a spot in Detention 2025, kids. Cheers!

The Outsiders

Image credit: The Outsiders, 1983

Image credit: The Outsiders, 1983

I was shocked to learn recently that The Outsiders is STILL being taught in middle school classrooms. With the intense boom of YA literature over the last decade, I would have thought that S.E. Hinton’s classic tale of greasers and soc’s had since been edged out by John Green or Stephen Chbosky- but no. Apparently Ponyboy lives on. Part of what made reading The Outsiders so great back in middle school was the inevitable arrival of the clunky TV cart hauled in on a rainy day, long after we’d finished our discussion of what the heck Robert Frost meant with that poem. The lights would dim, as 25 seventh graders focused their attention on Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film adaptation of the novel. Even now, the opening notes of the theme song conjure up sensory memories of dry air, mildewed backpacks, and the smell of sharpened pencils. Ah youth.

The Outsiders (DVD/Download) is actually a fairly accurate adaptation of the book.  We still get the same retro S.E. Hinton dialogue, the same wacky character names, and the same great lines like “Do it for Johnny!” and “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”. The casting is pretty perfect, featuring a who’s who of 80’s stars like C Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise (pre-dental work), Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Leif Garrett, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and the late great Patrick Swayze (rocking his signature too tight black t-shirt). Let me say, as a 14 year old girl watching this for the first time, I finally understood where all the cute boys were. Certainly, not at my school.

How fortunate we all are that Hinton gave her characters such unusual names. Cherry, Sodapop- I can do a lot with those beverage-wise. If you’re watching this with an actual middle schooler, you can just serve up an ice cold Cherry Coke. But if you’re of legal drinking age, desperate to enhance your teenage memories, I recommend drinking a Spiked Cherry Soda.

Spiked Cherry Soda

1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

1.5 oz white rum

8 oz Cherry Coca-Cola

1 maraschino cherry

Build drink over ice in a tumbler. Top with maraschino cherries.  Bonus points for a gold rimmed glass!

spiked cherry coke

After enough cocktails, you may find yourself giggling hysterically at Matt Damon’s big crescendo, “DO IT FOR JOHNNY!” Or maybe weeping when Ponyboy leaves his copy of Gone With the Wind for a bandaged and burnt Ralph Macchio. Robert Frost says nothing gold can stay, but the fact that we’re still reading this book and enjoying the movie so many years later is proof otherwise. Cheers!