Writing Tip: Movies to Study #3 — The Breakfast Club

May 26, 2024 – 04:20 am
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I recently had the honor of co-hosting a special screening of The Breakfast Club with two of my best friends from high school, one of whom is now the Executive Director of the (which you should totally [“Totally?”] check out if you’re in town). For as formative as this film was for me, and for as many times as I’ve seen it — I could do a solo shadowcast to within 95% accuracy, I’m pretty sure — I never saw it on the big screen.

Wow. What a difference. No joke.

So that’s what we’re gonna chat about today as it pertains to your fiction: Big screen vs. Little screen.

The movie was always great, no matter how small the screen I saw it on. Originally I’d intended to write this post on the film’s dialogue, which is outstanding; a moment as simple as Ally Sheedy’s Allison “speaking” for the first time in the film — a one-word bark of “Ha!” — followed by Molly Ringwald’s Claire snapping right back, “Shut up!” is priceless. It’s been like twenty minutes, Allison hasn’t said a single thing, and when she finally interacts, she’s told to be quiet by the school princess. That’s a beautiful thing.

Don't you forget about me.As it pertains to dialogue, this is a great film to study for my oft-repeated mantra: When there’s an exit or entrance, relationships change, and so must the dialogue. Take, for example, the short conversation between Emilio Estevez’s Andy, and Allison in the hall on the way to get sodas. How Andy relates to her is about a 180 turn from how they related — or didn’t — in the library with other people around. It’s one of the few moments in the film where all five stars are not together, and reveals tons (like Allison’s vodka!) about both characters.

And look at the gorgeous construction of this exchange during the confessional scene:

Claire: How are you bizarre?

Source: tomleveen.com

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