There are no shortage of horrors that can be witnessed on DVD, but the one that has the power to disturb me even 20 years after I first witnessed it is the brutal act Molly Ringwald commits upon Ally Sheedy at the end of The Breakfast Club.
I better give a spoiler warning for the ending of the film, even though if you haven’t seen it by now you probably aren’t very interested. Although it might make the film more enjoyable if you know the right time to look away. Anyway, in short; the grebo gets a make-over.
The Breakfast Club are the Rebel, the Jock, the Princess, the Basket Case and the Nerd. They all have their emotional journeys through their days detention and come out of it having learned something about themselves. All very life affirming and touchy feely so far. But Sheedy’s character, the Basket Case, the cute goth who quite reasonably has little interest in the rest of the lame stereotypes she’s stuck in a room with, has her emotional journey lead her within the viscious influence of Ms Ringwald, the Princess. Who then does THIS to her:
Clearly, the moral here is that all any confused, introverted, iconoclastic emo kid really wants is a makeover. This message; of conformity, superficiality, and a twisted sense of personal fulfillment, sends shivers down my spine.
Poor, poor Ally. Having had her individuality stripped, her face painted, and a stupid bow tied in her hair, she is then further humiliated with the sexual attentions of Emilio Estevez, The Jock (who only notices her for the first time once she’s dressed like bloody Barbie). Maybe it’s just me, but can you really see that relationship working? Was the sequel ever written, where we revisit Alison after the traumatic gang-rape by the rest of the football team?
I have to confess there is an utterly perverted reason I am so protective towards Ally Sheedy – WarGames. These days there’s nothing much cooler than being a hacker, coder or computer wiz. The geeks have inherited the earth now, we make all the money, so we control the world. But back in 1983, when I was a bedroom hacker, computers were deeply, deeply uncool. Matthew Broderick, as the kid hacker who accidentally starts World War III in WarGames, was the first positive role-model computer nerds ever had. And his girlfriend in that film – Ally Sheedy.
Of course this was perhaps the most unrealistic element of that fantastic film, because in the 80’s computer nerds didn’t have girlfriends. But WarGames presented the fantasy that they could nab themselves an Ally Sheedy. At least they would have, if the Ringwalds of this world hadn’t got their evil claws into them first and landed them football playing boyfriends to get beaten up by.