Vice Principal Vernon and Carl the Janitor, the sixth and seventh members of “The Breakfast Club”


Watching the new Criterion Collection edition of John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club,” I was struck by something I had never noticed before. The opening credits list all the main actors in the film in alphabetical order, starting with Emilio Estevez as jock Andrew and ending with Ally Sheedy as “weird” kid Allison.

But there are seven names listed, not five. In between are Paul Gleason, who plays vice principal Richard Vernon, and John Kapelos, who played Carl the janitor. That seemed weird to me – “The Breakfast Club” is those five young actors, made iconic as the avatars of ‘80s teens. You don’t see Vernon or Carl peeking in on the movie posters – why would they be billed at the same level as Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson or Anthony Michael Hall?

Rewatching the film as a middle-aged man, it’s perhaps natural that I saw those two adult characters differently – or, indeed, I saw them at all. When I saw the film in 1985, the two adults just seemed to hover in the background, indistinct. Now I see their importance to “The Breakfast Club.”

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Instant Gratification: “Arbitrage” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix right now


Pick of the week: “Arbitrage”My full review is here. Richard Gere gives one of the best performances of his career as a crooked hedge fund manager trying to stay one step ahead of his creditors, the police and his own family after scandal threatens his empire.

Totally ’80s film of the week: “The Breakfast Club” — The John Hughes classic puts five high school types in daylong detention to find out they have more in common than they think.

Family movie of the week: “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” — Scripted by Ian Fleming, this is basically the James Bond version of a kids’ movie, as an Englishman travels the globe with the help of his amazing gadgets, beautiful girl on his arm, one step ahead of some grotesque villains. Just more singing in this one.

Drama of the week: “Do the Right Thing” — On public radio last week I listed this Spike Lee film as an unlikely candidate for best “summer movie,” as the sweltering heat of a New York summer causes racial tensions on a city block to come to a boil.

007 movie of the week: “DIamonds are Forever” — Since “The Wolverine” cribbed the “I didn’t know there was a pool down there” line from this 1971 film, it’s fitting to go back to Sean Connery’s last outing as Bond (not counting the near-parody “Never Say Never Again.”) He’s bulkier and less graceful than in the early Bonds, but has the grace of an seasoned pro.