April 11, 2018

BLESS HER HEART: Molly Ringwald Tries to Make The Breakfast Club a MeToo Moment.

Ringwald’s essay is suffused with a sense of sorrow and rebuke, competing with a sheepish suspicion that she is being a tad ungrateful for what Hughes did for her. The National Lampoon writer-turned-filmmaker, who died in 2009 and can no more defend himself than Pope Formosus can, plucked her headshot out of a stack of photos and began inventing scenarios for the girl he imagined her to be. Without Hughes, there would be no Ringwald. Ringwald’s scolding of him is a bit hard to justify: She explains how she feared it would cause distress to her daughter, with whom she viewed The Breakfast Club recently, to watch the scene in which Bender (Judd Nelson) crawls under the desk and peeks up the skirt of Ringwald’s character, Claire. It is implied that he touches her inappropriately. This scene didn’t involve any exploitation of Ringwald, because an adult body double filmed it. Ringwald’s daughter isn’t bothered by it. It’s the sort of thing directors have randy teens do in larkish high-school comedies because kids watching know they can’t actually get away with it in school. Yet Ringwald is determined to make a thing of it.

Of course she is. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “But if the revisionist attacks on Hughes go much beyond what Ringwald has done here, I will be putting a knife in my teeth and flinging myself over the trenches and leading the charge in the culture war. Hughes simply must be defended, both because he was a singular talent and because he could be considered the most overtly America-loving filmmaker since Frank Capra. In this respect, an unstated issue here explains why Ringwald might be looking back and seeing herself in these films at the center of a worldview she doesn’t like. Hughes was allegedly a Republican, but as anyone familiar with the personalities coming out of National Lampoon in the 1970s knows, he most likely had a very libertarian perspective that was really a counterculture to counterculture.”

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