4 Reasons Why “The Breakfast Club” Kind of Sucks

1. The nerd does everyone’s work by writing the essay, and is the only one who doesn’t get the girl.

Sure I'll write your essay. Wait...what? Why am I the only guy who doesn't get boob?!

Sure I’ll write your essay. Wait…what? Why am I the only guy who doesn’t get to touch boob?!

Now for those of you who are quick to reply: “But that’s just realistic. That’s the way things happen, in real life,” I ask: “Do we really watch John Hughes movies because we want realism?”

2. The “bad boy” actually… shows up? To detention?

Oh, yeah. Why did I do that?

Oh, yeah. Why did I do that?

For a second, I was like, “Maybe he has nothing better to do?” Yet he is amongst the people giggling hysterically because Ally Sheedy’s character admits to the same thing. Basically, if we’re going for any realism (and if we’re not, why can’t the nerd have a kiss?), there should be no movie, because Judd Nelson should be in an abandoned building/alley/parent-less house/etc., drinking away his problems.

3. Girls, you are only unhappy because you are ugly and don’t have a boyfriend.

I'm so happy, I'm writing in ALL CAPS, like North's dad, yo.

I’m so happy, I’m writing in ALL CAPS, like North’s dad, yo.

The image pretty much says it all, but watching this movie, the message being portrayed definitely seems to be: “Hey chick! Stop being such a downer. Pretty yourself up a bit and get yourself a guy! Then, you’ll feel better.” Even ignoring the misogynist sensibilities of the eighties – Ally Sheedy was much prettier before Molly Ringwald slathered make-up all over her face.

4. You probably don’t really understand that this movie is secretly all about Judd Nelson losing his virginity.

Look at how excited he is - not the reaction of a guy who gets laid all the time.

Look at how excited he is – not the reaction of a guy who gets laid all the time.

We could pretend this movie is all deep, and that these kids really learned something about themselves, but let’s face it, it’s not, and they didn’t.

So in case any of you missed the fact that: 1) the “bad boy” is really a virgin, & 2) he & Ringwald totally hook up before the movie ends, let me point out:

  • he showed up for detention
  • he’s an abusive jerk towards this girl he likes – & I realize that this is partially due to a cycle of abuse from his relationship with his father, and partially due to the fact that he’s never grown out of utilizing the social skills of a kindergartener – but when you’re always pushing people away, that doesn’t tend to bode well for your sex life
  • There are so many references to Ringwald’s sexual experience (or lack thereof). This girl who’s attracted to an abusive asshat is probably going to respond to these references by thinking, Hey, maybe it’s time I lost my v-card. There’s a jackass right here to do the deed. He’s been a jerk the whole time, but it’s only because his dad is a jerk. Hey, maybe sexy times will help me change him!
  • Sure, all we see is a kiss. But Ringwald & Nelson are in that closet for quite awhile whilst the aforementioned nerd is being taken advantage of and writing everyone’s essay. Certainly long enough for a guy who’s never had sex before to “do the deed.”
  • he decides to keep a trophy from the encounter. Would he really need a trophy for a deep, meaningful conversation? Doubtful.
  • he is way, way too excited near the end of the movie. Fist pumping? Really? You realize this man is providing inspiration for the dance moves of the future Jersey Shore cast, right? Not normal!

Anyway, these are only 4 reasons that I am not a super huge fan of “The Breakfast Club,” but of course there are more. Feel free to share your own problems with this movie, or defend it, if you think it is totally awesome! You are free to disagree with me, but unlikely to change my mind (I’m pretty stubborn).

What do you think? Am I completely wrong?

What do you think? Am I completely wrong?

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Short Story Stimulus: Mythology, Reworked

I recently wrote a book review about a novel that re-tells the Trojan War myths for a middle school audience. I was not a fan of the novel, but mentioned that I like re-worked myths. Myths began as oral stories, and are consequently malleable. They are supposed to be altered, be added to, subtracted from, and become the marked product of their current narrator.

Due to my love of mythology, and the fact that there are so many interesting things a writer can do with them, this week’s writing prompt is: Homage to a Myth. Poem, Short Story, Play, Novel – whatever form you choose, base it on a well-known myth.

I’m currently working on the Daphne metamorphosis myth:

ApolloAndDaphne

What myth are you working on? Leave a comment to let me know, or link to Mr. Linky with your blogged piece!


Link-Storm

A few awesome links I thought I would share (you know, instead of doing a real post). But seriously, read these, lest your head explode from missing so much awesome-ness.

Speaking of which, has everyone written their romance and posted a link to Mr. Linky? Based on the glaring lack of links on my widget – wow, that sounded dirty – I know the answer’s “no.” So get writing, writers! & maybe share a link dripping with awesome-sauce in the comments below.

Book Review: Hit the Road, Helen!

Let me preface this review by admitting that I am biased. My undergraduate degree was in Classical Civilizations, which, for those who don’t know what that means, means that I studied history and literature, with a focus on the Greeks and Romans. Thus, I have a soft spot for Greek and Roman mythology, but I am also annoyed by poor and/or boring representations of those myths.

Having said that, today I will be discussing Kate McMullan’s Hit the Road, Helen! This book will be available in September 2013, and is a re-telling of the Trojan War, written with a younger audience in mind. I requested this book expecting to be disappointed, but hoping to find an adaptation that my son might like when he’s a bit older.

hit the road, helen

To be honest, I was disappointed.

But, I appreciate what the author is trying to do.

McMullan re-wrote the story using more modern lingo, without the lists, without the graphic description, without the poetry. She wrote it trying to appeal to kids.d maybe it will appeal to kids more than some of the translations already in existence. I’m not sure.

I am sure, as the parent of a ten-month old who will need to read aloud to her child for some time, that I feel like an idiot reading this book out loud (And I can read the Seussian Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? with no problem).

Yet I don’t have a problem with the fact that McMullan altered some of the myths, etc. For the most part, rather than alteration of the mythology, her novel really feels more like an alteration of tone. The gods may be fickle, but the classical Greeks believed in them, at least somewhat, and there is an air of respect for them that is missing from this plebeian version.

I actually kind of like, in general, however, the idea of interpreting the mythology in new ways, thereby creating new myths. After all, there is no “correct” myth. The word “mythology” refers to stories that are malleable, not stagnant. Myths have notably been borrowed from other cultures, altered as time passes, etc.

Euripides’ Medea, for example, while an excellent play, utilized a version of the Jason & Medea myth which scholars commonly believe to have been very infrequently told. It is much more likely that, after Medea killed her husband’s new wife and father, the local townspeople were so upset, they killed her children. This latter version seems particularly likely since the Corinthian citizens burnt a sacrifice to Medea’s children every year – as if they had something for which they needed to atone.

Yet Euripides’ version has withstood the test of time very well, partially because it is so dark and disturbing, and partially because the careful reader cannot help but empathize, to a degree, with Medea. She perpetrated a horrible act, but did so in the belief that it was the only way she could truly punish her husband for his complete abandonment.

The Trojan War is surrounded with mythology. Much of it is told in the Iliad and the Odyssey, of course, but you cannot get the complete story without reading the Homeric Hymns that write down what most Greek citizens knew well enough that the most famous two poems could begin in the middle of the story.

An aspect of Hit the Road, Helen! which I enjoyed is that it compiles all of the Trojan war information into a slim, handy volume.

Overall, I would recommend avoiding Hit the Road, Helen! The irreverent tone of the narrator is annoying, and the myths are dumbed down to an undesirable degree. But maybe that’s just me being a Classics snob.

Buy Me Dinner, First

Apparently, August is Read-a-Romance month. You know what they say – what you read, you tend to write. (I don’t know if the ambiguous “they” actually say anything of the sort or not, but this is my blog, and I’ll attribute whatever cliched sayings to them I wish, dammit!)

Who says "it?" "They" do.

Who says “it?” “They” do.

I’ve already done a post on romances to indulge in (when lamenting over my own lack of Valentine’s Day plans), so if you’re looking for some inspiration, that’s a good place to start.

Romance!

Romance!

Write a romance. A cute one. The one you wish you had. The one you really have. An erotic one. An impotent one. Post it & link to it here!


I’m excited! I think some very interesting pieces can result from this prompt.

Writing: Getting Organized

So, there’s a packet available as a free download that’s technically for children, but the majority can apply to all writers, of all ages. It’s on the site Teachers-pay-Teachers, but, again, is a free download.

MM900041010

What I like about the packet is that it is a way to stay organized, to remember the basics of your story. Most of your stories should have a problem, a climax to the story, a resolution. Keep the exposition to a bare minimum. Flesh out your characters, understanding them well enough that you can paint their picture without a 10-page description. Not write in fragments, like I’m doing right now.

Fragments...

Fragments…

For awhile, I was trying to use flash cards to keep my writing organized. Yet that never really worked for me. I would always spill something on my flash cards, or lose them, and end up cursing at the supposed aids while discarding them in the trash. I fear worksheets might have the same result, for me, though I will give them a try.

Do you have any recommendations for organizing your writing? Keeping track of characters, settings, plot elements, etc.? I would love to learn some new tricks to try!

Book Review: eleanor & park

I literally just finished reading eleanor & park a few minutes ago. It is a book that I would recommend. It was well written, it featured two wonderful protagonists – named, fittingly, Eleanor and Park. It takes place in the eighties, a time period for which I have a soft spot.

Oh, '80s...

Oh, ’80s…

This book is a romance. High school romance, to be exact. Yet it also deals with much, much more.

First, let’s address the fact that, yes, it does deal with the “status” cliches that are abundant in John Hughes movies. Something that I loved about this book, though, is that even though it occurred in Omaha, it was still a multicultural book. It was refreshing to see black and Asian teenagers, as well as white teenagers, instead of only the rich white kid vs. poor white kid dichotomy.

Second, let’s talk about perspective. The book is told in third person, but primarily focuses on how Eleanor or Park perceives the situations occurring. While the book does frequently shift between the viewpoints of these two characters, it was very easy to follow along, and helped the novel flow well.

In particular, it helped provide breaks from some fairly bleak situations. Eleanor does not have the best living situation.

Warning: From hereon out, spoilers will ensue. Read at your own risk of finding out what happens, if you have not yet read the novel.

spoiler alert

The domestic abuse situation Eleanor and her family were in made me angry. Her stepfather is super abusive, and I understand that sometimes women don’t value themselves enough, so when he started hitting her mother, maybe her mother stayed, anyway. Because by that point, she was sucked in. And he was sweet, sometimes, etc., etc.

But when it’s affecting your kids? That’s a totally different story.

When you and your teenage daughter both feel that she needs to take a bath right after school so that she’s not in danger of doing so while your husband is home, there’s a problem. When your husband is shooting his gun to convince teenage boys to stop playing basketball, there’s a problem. When your teenage daughter can’t even talk to a boy without your husband getting weird and calling her a slut, there’s a problem.

The subtle insinuations that Eleanor is worried she will be raped, along with the obvious statements that she is worried she will be beaten or thrown out of the house, are not merely alarming. They are indicative of how much her mother is not caring enough.

As the mother of a beautiful boy who is almost one (!), this art Eleanor’s mother had perfected of pretending not to notice how inappropriate her husband is was not merely alarming, it was enraging. I was frightened for Eleanor, and I was so angry at her mother, I was almost crying tears of rage. If I even thought anyone was going to physically harm my son, that person wouldn’t see my son or I again.

This bird's got nothing on me...

This bird’s got nothing on me…

And I know that resources for mothers were not as good in the eighties. Now, we have Safehouse and ads and pamphlets that tell us repeatedly that women don’t need to live in situations like that, and that there is help. (Although the media also produces movies, songs, etc., that promote the idea that women are objects that are there to please men, insinuating just the opposite. Is it wrong to kick a chair? No. So if you promote the idea that a woman is just an object there to please men, you are promoting the idea that she is less than human, and therefore not worthy of the respect or treatment that “real people” (aka, men) deserve.  That song “Blurred Lines?” I hate that song. It actually says that “no” means “yes.” Robin Thicke & Pharrell? You are horrible, horrible people.) But it turns out, she could have called her husband and asked him to help her figure things out. Or her brother, whom Eleanor ends up turning to. Again, when it’s just you being hit, that’s one thing. But once you’re worried about your kids (assuming you don’t realize that once your spouse is hitting you, there’s a good chance he’s going to start hitting your kids at some point if you don’t leave), it’s time to talk to whoever you need to to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.