B is for The Breakfast Club

Day 2 of the A to Z Challenge and we’re (obviously) on B.

B is for The Breakfast Club.

It gets a very creditable 7.9 stars on IMDb and, at 97 minutes, almost the perfect length for a movie.

This is one of those films that I never tire of watching. I’m a huge fan of John Hughes’ movies anyway (keep an eye out for Ferris Bueller later!). He had a real ear for dialogue and helped inspire the ‘Brat Pack’ movement in the eighties. Hugely influential.

Five students meet in detention one saturday morning and over the course of the day, learn more about each other and themselves.

It is now 7:06. You have exactly 8 hours and 54 minutes to think about why you are here – to ponder the error of your ways. You will not talk… you will not move… from these seats.
~ Mr Vernon

I remember being horrified and fascinated that these kids were in detention at 7am on a Saturday morning. Saturday! 7am! Two things which, at that time in the mid-eighties, were largely unknown to me.

But at school they were. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. The Breakfast Club. Each a stereotype of a clique in the school. Each in detention for a different reason.

It’s one of those eminently quotable films – find a fellow fan and you’ll inevitably start riffing on the dialogue. We’ve all got our favourites, but Judd Nelson’s John Bender gets the lion’s share of the best lines. From his “Eat… my… shorts”, the deadpan “Impossible, sir. It’s in Johnson’s underwear.” to his curtailed joke about the naked blonde who walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other…

By the way, if you know the punchline to that joke, I’d love to hear it. I’ve spent nearly 30 years wondering what it is.

Damn. The Breakfast Club will be thirty years old next year. Man, I feel old.

Speaking of old, most of the cast were much older than the characters they played. Judd Nelson was the oldest of the ‘kids’, at 26. Ally Sheedy and Emilio Estevez 23, and Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall at 17 were closest to being high school students.

Did you know that Bender’s character was nearly played by Nicolas Cage (too expensive) and John Cusack, before Judd Nelson was cast?

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a *huge* crush on Ally Sheedy in this movie, and much preferred her before Claire (Molly Ringwald) got to work on ‘all that black shit under your eyes.’

Over the course of the day the students are asked to each complete a thousand word essay on who they think they are. They spend the day talking instead, and find out they have a lot more in common than they originally thought. They ask Brian (the brain) to write the essay for them  – instead we get the classic letter to the assistant principal.

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
Andrew: …and an athlete…
Allison: …and a basket case…
Claire: …a princess…
Bender: …and a criminal…
Brian: Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

Utterly wonderful.

That’s my ‘B’ movie. Tune in tomorrow for C!

previously, on The A-Z Challenge
A is for Alien

Banished – Liz de Jager

Banished (The Blackhart Legacy, #1)Banished by Liz de Jager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolute, unashamed gloriously good fun.

Fabulous characters and a non-stop roller-coaster of a plot. Liz manages to deftly turn scenes on their head, shifting effortlessly from action to humour and back again, with Fae princes, werewolves and assorted other beasties and creatures (not to mention the odd Elder God), all of which are there to help (or mostly hinder) our heroine Kit Blackhart along the way. Oh, and a dragon. 🙂

Classic girl-meets-boy-who-turns-out-to-be-a-Fae-prince. Cross Buffy with Harry Dresden, add a touch of Lovecraftian elder gods and simmer gently for 400 pages. Serve hot.

And this is just book one! Book two please, Liz. Quick as you like. 🙂

View all my reviews

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Red Rising | Pierce Brown

I first heard of Red Rising through Twitter. Various people I follow were waxing lyrical about this new book. Then Liz from Liz Loves Books put it at the top of her books of 2013 and I knew that I had to add it to my list. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from Hodder & Stoughton and dived right in.

Nearly everyone will compare this book with The Hunger Games and there are echoes of that here, along with shades of Ender’s Game, but laced with the outright brutality and deviousness of Game of Thrones.

It’s hard to talk too much about the story without giving away too many twists and turns, but suffice it to say that it’s brilliant. It’s a veritable rollercoaster of a book – the first third is one of the best openings for a book I’ve read for a long, long time. Then it kicks up a notch and you’re swept along.

Is it a YA novel? Much like in the Hunger Games, the main characters are quite definitely young adult, but this is quite definitely much darker and far nastier than that. The huge cast of characters are beautifully realised and well-rounded, and the world-building is absolutely top-notch.

It’s one of those books that you just lose yourself in, and emerge blinking into the daylight at the far end. I devoured it over the course of a couple of days, staying up entirely too late (and getting up entirely too early) to read just one more chapter.

Fair warning though, it’s the first in a trilogy and whilst Red Rising wraps up nicely, you’re definitely left wanting more.

More now. I want book 2, now.


Surgeon General’s warning

Just finished watching The Bourne Legacy. Whilst the movie itself was fine (more on that later), I noticed this warning in the credits:

“The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promoted tobacco consumption. The surgeon general has determined that there are serious health risks associated with smoking and secondhand smoke.”

Made me laugh. Seriously, the cigarette smoking is the bit you’re worried about?

Nothing about the guns, shooting people with nails out of fire extinguishers, chasing across rooftops, sliding motorcycles down stairways…

Review: My Criminal World

My Criminal World
My Criminal World by Henry Sutton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this – interesting idea too, a struggling crime writer getting caught up in his work a little too much. I liked the way you got snippets of the fictional author’s book throughout the main story, and got to experience some of the frustrations of being a writer, seeing how it all pans out. Great fun.

View all my reviews

books in 2013: progress report

A short catch-up of the plan to read the Great Unread Book Pile. I’m eight books into 2013, and there have been some cracking reads in there. I’ve still got to write up full reviews for each, but Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (@Harkaway) and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (@Beukes) in particular were absolutely brilliant.

I’ve kind of wavered from the TBR pile a little – I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Shining Girls from the lovely Hannah and Kate at HarperCollins (@KillerReads) which promptly bustled all other books out of the way and was devoured over the course of a weekend. Glorious stuff, time travelling serial killers and a girl who didn’t die. It’s out soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Angelmaker has also gone and won The Red Tentacle Award for best novel at The Kitschies. Congratulations to Nick on both the award, and his epic suit.

Similarly ARCs of The Teleportation Accident, London Falling and Fade to Black also appeared. The first was so-so, with some lovely characters (well, brilliantly described and written characters), but doing… well, nothing that I could work out. Meh.

London Falling, on the other hand, was superb. A darker, nastier take on the magical London scene, kind of a grittier Whispers of London. Can’t wait for the sequel.

I finished Fade to Black yesterday. It was pretty good – interesting characters doing interesting things in a world that I’d not come across before. Again, there’s a sequel on the way and I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve had a couple of other recommendations to investigate, but am (at the moment) being good and attacking the TBR pile once more.

Read so far in 2013:
The Right Way to Do Wrong, by Harry Houdini
The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
The Teleportation Accident, by Ned Beauman
Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar, by David Millar
Railsea, by China Mieville
London Falling, by Paul Cornell
Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway
Fade to Black (Rojan Dizon Novels), by Francis Knight
Currently reading:
From Russia with Love, by Ian Fleming (part of my eternally late BlogalongaBondathon)


So, dear reader. What books have you read and enjoyed lately?