a short review of the Breakfast Club and some takeaways

I recently watched The Breakfast Club for the first time, after years of hype and exclamations of it being peoples’ favorite movie. While I can see and understand the ways that the movie is moving, I didn’t really like it. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I had an idea in my mind of what it was going to be like, and it veered away from that vision considerably, but mostly, I didn’t get the turn around. A group of incredibly different high schoolers get thrown into a room and they hate each other. Then they run around a bit, and suddenly they consider each other to be friends, or even lovers at the end. While the movie was much closer than most at reproducing actual human interaction and connecting to those different from you, you know that one Saturday they spend together probably won’t change them.

The good thing about the movie, however, is that you don’t see Monday at school. It leaves open the possibility that the Breakfast Club stays friends somehow. That’s the inspiring part of the movie, the fact that it could be the start or the end and you’ll never know. While I dislike parts of the movie, I do think that there can always be a takeaway, and that is, don’t give yourself an ending just yet.

We can probably predict relatively well what path we’ll take within the next day, week, year. Sometimes it can seem like we can predict years and years into the future. However, you don’t know. You aren’t kept to being the same person. If you want, you can make a difference in your own life. The problem, the hard bit, is what they don’t know in the movie. If you want to make a difference in yourself, you have to be different every day. You can’t just air fist one day and be a victor, you have to work every day at being kinder, more understanding, more outgoing, whoever you want to be. It’s challenging, and the challenge rarely lets up, but it’s doable. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie or like the movie, you can make a difference in your own life. You are not alone, and you can get through whatever obstacle is set before you.

the flavor of cheesy life

As much disdain and gruesome sneers result from the phrase, “Hallmark Movies”, there’s a distinct flavor to them. Along with cheesy phrases, cliques, and even cheesier movies, there is a part of us that loves all the hackneyed things of this world. Humans like to feel good. It’s why we eat lots of junk food and ignore our obligations! Because it’s nice to not feel uncomfortable! Cheesy movies make us feel good because they tend to wrap things up well. Instead of having to deal with the awkward, hard realities of relationships, we get to experience a story where there is most definitely a message, point, and happy ending.

There’s a temptation to think we somehow deserve a Hallmark movie life. Or rather, that we deserve some story with a nice character arc and, though there is conflict and adventure, there is faith that the ending is going to come safely and with a beautiful reward. Instead, there are ugly things around us. There is unkindness and gross behaviors and things show up. Not only is the storyline ambiguous, but the characters usually aren’t inspirational, and the words stumble around a lot more. Things don’t end neatly, and sometimes the growth we expect doesn’t happen like we want it to.

It’s good to enjoy good things! Sometimes we need dramatic, over-emotional, neat little stories to entertain us! It’s a nice treat and helps us focus on brighter thoughts. It can help hone us on an end goal and encourage us that our conflicts can be overcome! However, we shouldn’t dwell too much on perfect little worlds, because it’ll just make us all the more sad when we re-realize how unperfected our own is. The point is, we need to be active players in our own book. If we grow in expected ways, it’s not really growth, just an exercise in will.  It’s easy to say conflict is necessary, but it’s much harder to believe it. So don’t try to force yourself into being some positive train, pummeling through life with all the answers! It’s okay that things are hard. It’s okay if things aren’t good right now. Just keep going anyways.

act like James Bond

I was just watching Sean Connery in one of those old James Bond movies, and frankly, his character seems like a psychopath. Of course he is suave and cool under pressure, but it’s legitimately frightening once you start seriously considering how many people have died around him and his constant “cool”. He shows affection towards his coworkers, but it’s more respect than genuine connection. He almost dies and is surrounded by danger all day, every day, and yet he doesn’t show severe psychological trauma as a result.

But even so, there is something intangibly fascinating with his character. His intellect, cunning, charisma, the gadgets, the fact his efforts make a difference– James Bond is cool because he seems to be the version of ourselves we want to be: exciting yet put-together. In most instances, we have to choose if we want to be responsible or want to have fun, and neither will make a difference like busting a diamond-smuggling ring. Compared to that mirage of 007, our lives seem to pale in comparison.

The key then, is to stop comparing. While there are definitely key aspects of the James Bond myth that are unreasonable and lacking, one of powers Bond seems to have is the power to act. Being a psychopath should absolutely not be our goal because it doesn’t make us cool, it makes us lonely. However, he thinks on his feet and goes with it. He gets things done. People are flawed, even fictional characters are flawed, but if we learn anything from a flawed James Bond, it’s that we can always do more than we think if we just go after it.

what do you do if you try and you totally suck?

The Room produced, directed, and starred by Tommy Wisseau, is a masterpiece film that is known as the greatest worst movie ever. The Room has absolutely horrid dialouge, random charcaters with no established relationship, entire plot points that don’t become resolved, and the acting is obscenely stiff yet over the top. As in, it is so horrible, it has its own cult that has lasted 15 years. I recently watched the Disaster Artist,  which is a liberal sort of reinactment of the making of The Room with James Franco. Something that really sticks out about the story they tell in The Disaster Artist, and which is amazing in the reflection upon history, is how our hopes can go completely in the opposite direction in real life.

No one sets out to make a horrible movie. No one wakes up and says to themselves, “Today, I’m going to get an F!” It doesn’t seem right. Theoretically we understand that some people are going to be at the top, most are going to be in the middle, and some are going to be in the bottom; it’s basic statistics, the standard bell curve has a bottom 10%. But we don’t like thinking about that. No one wants to be in the bottom. Most people don’t even want to he in the middle. The fact that we can really care and be in such a horrible state compared to others’ expectations is terrifying. 

The Room, however, offers an alternative. You might try really hard and end up in the bottom. You might fail miserably, but you will only fail miserably by that one standard. As a drama, The Room is a failure. As a cult comedy? Gold. We might never become the shiny dream we want to be, but what we can become is our own best self. Even if everyone was as talented as Albert Einstein, the world would be lacking the individuals who aren’t him, who can offer their own unique perspectives and life stories. You aren’t your heroes, but you can still become one yourself.