You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.

You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.

…Or, to steal a line from another John Hughes movie, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This week marked the thirtieth anniversary of this movie (talk about life moving pretty fast!).

It seems odd to celebrate its birthday by zeroing in on a quote from the shitheaded principal who pulls the five main characters of this film into school on a Saturday, but in a weird way, what he says is true. What’s more, what he says is very much on display in this image of the quietest member of the group.

When we’re in high school, every day is about being either a peacock or a peahen. We’re try so damned hard to get the attention of everybody around us. Our younger classmates, our older classmates, our parents, our teachers, the girls, and the boys. No one is immune from our preening and posturing, probably because we don’t even know who we are ourselves. So we try on various versions. We try being the jock, the brain, the princess (you know the rest), and we hustle.

The thing is, we might actually learn more about ourselves and about others by staying a little quieter, looking and listening. Maybe we should be more like Reynolds and just lean against the locker while everyone else goes flying by. It’s not like to do so would be to hide (she’s wearing black and leaning against yellow lockers, after all).  No, by leaving something in the tank while everyone else exerts every ounce of energy, we can see where they are going just as easily as we can see where they have been. With that, we can decide if we want to go where they are going, or go somewhere better.

That’s why this image sticks out for me; more than the gang dancing, more than Bender’s fist triumphantly in the air. Those shots are about being in and of that particular moment. This shot is about the moment after.

Maybe Reynolds had the right idea. Maybe it’s best to stay a little bit quieter and watch. Maybe it’s best not to blow every last ounce of energy and angst before you can legally buy your first glass of beer.

By leaning on those lockers and watching everyone else run by, you can learn a little about who they are…and use it to figure out who you’re going to be.


Three more from THE BREAKFAST CLUB for the road…





This series of posts is inspired by the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” series at The Film Experience. Do check out all of the awesome entires in their series so far