This week’s most high profile Blu-ray release (that we’re choosing to cover) is the 30th Anniversary Edition of The Breakfast Club.
What better way to kick off this article than with a wildly, unbelievably controversial opinion: The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, is… well, it’s okay. It resonates with a fair number of people, and even today its set group of stereotypical teenage characters can be found in any high school movie (and presumably in many actual high schools, given how many people swear they can identify with at least one of the characters): criminal/rebel, All-American jock, brainy nerd, mysterious freak, pretty princess, evil principal, and unseen parents who are generally lousy at parenting. The movie didn’t event these characters, but it does give them a bit more depth and relatively realistic flaws than in a lot of other films (the jock has been a bully in his past, but he’s not a wanton psychopath, for instance). So I understand why there is substantial love for this particular film. I personally find it to be merely decent. Of course, in 21st century internet parlance, saying that I think the movie is “merely decent” is tantamount to screaming that I hated it from the mountaintops. Which mountaintops? The mountaintops.
The special features in this 30th Anniversary Edition include a Digital Copy and Ultraviolet, a “Trivia Track,” “The Origins of The Brat Pack,” and commentary with Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson, the former of whom has spent the last thirty years transforming from the prototypical nerd to an amalgam of every blonde, villainous European gangster in movie history. I think he played twenty different Russians who got killed in John Wick.
As far as other releases go, here’s what caught our attention.
For Criterion Collectors: The Soft Skin
The Soft Skin is a 60’s drama from French New Wave film director Francois Truffaut. It’s centered around a successful married man’s affair with an air hostess he met while in another country. As far as extramarital dalliances abroad, I imagine getting away with this sort of thing must have been 1,000% easier in the pre-internet / pre-cellular era. Today, you could be traveling to the most remote part of the opposite hemisphere and if you respond to a text in a timely manner your spouse is going to get suspicious. But in 1964? Check once a day in the morning or evening, then be about your merry, “pretending I’m not married” way. Not advocating that sort of thing or looking back on it through rose-tinted lenses; only making an observation. So I’m guessing the drama in this film has less to do with being discovered than with the standard “do I stay or go” dilemma.
This Tuesday sees the release of German film Der Fan, listed on some areas of the web as a “cult film,” which is an increasingly common, meaningless term that can be applied to all kinds of shit you’ve never heard of before. That said, Der Fan‘s story of an obsessive teenage fan does look legitimately strange-yet-interesting enough to actually qualify for a legitimate “cult” status. Don’t believe me? Just watch the following (NSFW) trailer:
Also in the “weird” column this week is the comedy R100, a comedy that is loosely about a man who signs up for an S&M service in which he’s randomly dominated and humiliated by women in public. Unfortunately, it arrives just a hair too late to be the unofficial, outsized, bizarre Japanese counter to 50 Shades.
Sir, You’re Better Than This
Back when video stores still existed, my friends and I would sometimes walk the aisles just to laugh at the oft-awful covers and titles of whatever ridiculous straight-to-video flicks had recently come out. And sometimes you’d come across the cover for a new release featuring an actor or actress popular enough to make you stop dead and say, “What the hell are you doing here?” like you saw your doctor working as a bathroom valet.
Now, though, it feels much less surprising to see a formerly or even currently prestigious and successful actor’s face on the cover of something that didn’t even have a good On-Demand run. Somebody might win an Oscar and star in something with “Redbox Studios Presents” on the cover in the same week. In a way that makes it less indecorous to call it out. You’re not laughing at someone who’s down on their luck and desperate; just pointing out that someone who could likely do better is in the mall with house shoes on.
So here we have Robert De Niro in a “double feature” release of two films–Killing Season and Red Lights–that had a very limited run in theaters, and that you likely haven’t seen or were never interested in.
I know De Niro’s general “decline” is over a decade in motion by now, but he also starred in two Academy Award winning films in the same years that he made these two nondescript flops. De Niro looks impossibly bored in the top image for Killing Season, and looks like he’s in an interview telling a Scorcese anecdote he’s told a hundred times before in the image for Red Lights. In one movie he’s a retired military man pulled into in one last fight, in the other he’s a guy claiming to be a psychic. You can surely guess which film contains which character, but you can’t pretend it matters.
Mister De Niro, you’re better than this.