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BATTLE ROUND 5: March Movie Madness

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Well well well HERE WE ARE AT ROUND 5.

We’re gettin’ close to the semi finals and IT’S INTENSE. It’s about to get even more so.

Because we’re making you choose between THE BREAKFAST CLUB and…THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

BattleRound5

 

Repping The Breakfast Club is…Peter Bognanni!

 

“Don’t you forget about me!”  The cheesy 1980s synth-ballad says it all, guys.

 

The Breakfast Club might have come out way back in a neon era of spandex and aerosol hairspray, and it may have some…um…problematic elements in it, but where would young adult film be without it? It set the gold standard for the band of high school misfits story. And I dare you to watch it and not feel all of the feelings when our heroes go their separate ways at the end.

 

What amazes me about it when I watch it today is that it’s essentially 90 minutes of talking. Just a “brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal” in a library for a day. No epic love stories. No revolutions. Just some memorable dialogue. (“Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?” “Excuse me for being a virgin,” “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.”) But what sticks with me is how genuinely moving it is.

 

Each character gets a turn to upend their own stereotype. The jock tells us about his own toxic masculinity. The stoner about his terrible home life. The geek about his punishing grade obsession. The goth girl about being ignored. And the princess about her parents’ divorce.

 

They listen to each other. They accept each other’s flaws. And in between these confessions, they have an awkward dance party in the library, sneak through the halls of the school, and smoke a joint. So, by the time Brian, the charming dork, asks the all-important question at the end, “What’s going to happen on Monday?” I’m always in tears. He voices a truth that cuts deep. When you’re young, it’s so easy to find your people sometimes. But it’s harder to keep them.

 

And defending The Fault in Our Stars is…Lori Goldstein!

 

The Fault in Our Stars is a classic romance where two people fall in love because and in spite of their hamartias (fatal flaws . . . spoiler alert: emphasis there on fatal).

 

We’ve got our oopsy! meet-cute where our beautiful, smirking boy with the smoldering eyes bumps into the beautiful-but-thinks-she’s-not snarky girl with a brain that tries to block her heart. We’ve got flirty banter. We’ve got obstacles with a capital “C.” We’ve got a magical journey through Amsterdam and a night of drinking the stars. But these stars are crossed.

 

You know what’s coming. And yet the sense of returning home that fills every lean of Hazel’s head on Augustus’s shoulder, the adoration that shines in his eyes each time he brushes a finger underneath her chin, the realness of their first time together, it all makes you believe that maybe you don’t know the ending. But you do, because even if you haven’t read the book . . .

 

(Wait, you haven’t? Seriously? Stop reading this and go read it right now, and then come back to me. Okay? Okay.)

 

Where was I? Right . . . you know what’s coming. You were warned by Hazel herself at the very start: this isn’t the type of story where nothing’s too messed up that can’t be fixed by an apology and a Peter Gabriel song. This story, this ending, is that flawless mix of surprising but inevitable, one that claws out your heart and buries you under a mountain of tissues.

 

But you wouldn’t have it any other way. Because the perfection that is The Fault in Our Stars lies not in its power to make us cry but in its ability to make us hope. May we all be so lucky as to have our own little infinities.

 

 

 

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