The Breakfast Club (Movie)

Movie Info
The Breakfast Club
DVD Release Date: August 30, 2009
Universal Studios
Rated [R]
98 Minutes
ASIN: B0000A98ZP

Plot Summary
Five seemingly random high school students are forced to spend an entire Saturday Detention for their own various reasons. At 7am, they saw each other as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal with nothing in common. The vice principal, Mr. Vernon, assigns them a 1000 word essay in which they each answer the question “Who do you think you are?” Left to their own devices for 8 hours, the diverse group of teenagers wind up baring their hearts and souls to one another, only learn how similar they really are.

Reader’s Annotation
At the beginning of detention, they are just 5 teenagers with seemingly nothing in common. But by the end, they have become the Breakfast Club.

Critical Evaluation
John Hughes has been able to capture teen life in ways that no one has been able to reproduce. His movies speak to the masses with a character for everyone to relate to, and The Breakfast Club is arguably one of his finest contributions. The movie follows 5 drastically different high school students, each embodying a particular high school stereotype. This film teaches us that beyond the stereotypes, we are all complex individuals and everyone is broken in some way with their own skeletons in their closet. Over the course of their day in detention, the five students learn how very similar they really are, despite the judgments they all passed on one another earlier that morning. This movie will span the test of time and serves a great message to teens and adults alike.

Genre
Comedy
Coming of Age

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Beyond the bravado, Bender is a broken individual. How much of his behavior is a reaction to his home life?

Discuss some things you have encountered that weren’t what they initially seemed?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
15+

Challenge Issues

  • Sexuality
  • Teen Rebellion

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online reviews, and others who are familiar with the material.

Why Included?
The Breakfast Club is a timeless classic that speaks to teens across the generations. Including this was a no-brainer.

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Donnie Darko (Movie)

Movie Info
Donnie Darko
DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
20th Century Fox
Rated [R]
113 minutes
ASIN: B00005V3Z4

Plot Summary
The world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. Or so Donnie Darko is told by a human-sized, evil looking bunny named Frank as he sleepwalked one night. Donnie returned home the following morning to find that a jet engine had fallen on his house, right where his bedroom was, beginning the strangest month of his life. Donnie, who already struggled with mental and emotional issues now must come to terms with why he survived the freak accident, wondering if he didn’t somehow cheat death. With the help of his psychiatrist, his girlfriend, Gretchen, a couple of empathetic teachers and continuing appearances of Frank, he tries to sort out the pieces and understand his role in the grand scheme of things.

Reader’s Annotation
Donnie Darko is a troubled teen, but things get even weirder when he seems to manage to cheat death. A humanoid bunny also tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds; what will happen with time runs out?

Critical Evaluation
Donnie Darko is a smart and truly intense psychological thriller surrounding concepts of time travel and worm holes. After the first watch, the audience is often left wondering what just happened, but it provokes discussion and the tossing around of everyone’s own different theories. This gives the movie an interactive element, since so much is left unsaid and it is up to the audience to decipher on their own. Along with the complex story and plot elements, the movie has a meaningfully chosen soundtrack to artfully accompany the plot.

Genre
Science Fiction
Psychological Thriller

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
If Donnie was supposed to die all along, why did the movie even take place? Were the events of the movie necessary?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
16+

Challenge Issues

  • Foul Language
  • Sexuality

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online reviews, and others who are familiar with the material.

Why Included?
This is one of my personal favorite movies. It is so thought provoking and complex and I think anything that gets people using their brains is a great thing.

Glee: The Complete First Season (Television Show)

Show Info
Glee: The Complete First Season
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
20th Century Fox
Rated [not rated]
974 minutes
ASIN: B0032JTV6U

Plot Summary
The first season of the hit Fox Television show Glee introduces us to the lovable group of outcasts that make up New Directions show choir. The members of the choir are a very outwardly diverse group of students, but they are united by their love of music and performance. Each episode features a number of musical performances of both popular and classic songs, sung by the show’s actors themselves and often deals with tough, if not controversial issues such as sex, teen pregnancy, homosexuality and racism.

Reader’s Annotation
Glee has been rather accurately described as “a biting comedy for the underdog in all of us,” Join the New Directions on their journey to sectionals as they sing and dance their hearts out.

Critical Evaluation
Glee is a fantastic new show that combines hilarious comedy with musical interludes of the hits of today and yesterday. In this show, the underdogs are the heroes we fall in love with and follow as they struggle for acceptance, popularity and even fame. The Glee club, New Directions is made up of a random mix of outcasts, jocks and cheerleaders, but somehow it all works. The show has used its popularity to tackle some heavy issues such as homosexuality, teen sex, and racism, nearly always through song. I absolutely adore this show and love that with such a diverse cast, there’s at least one person for any given person to relate to. The characters are likeable and the storylines will have you laughing out loud and in tears over the course of one hour long episode.

Genre
Television Comedy
Musical Comedy

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Take any episode and discuss the major themes/issues it covers.

Interpret the lyrics to your favorite song.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues

  • Homosexuality
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Racism

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online reviews, and others who are familiar with the material.

Why Included?
Glee is sort of an updated take on the concept of The Breakfast Club, but set across the course of a television series. The show is fun and takes on relevant issues to teen life.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Movie)

Movie Info
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
Focus Features
Rated [PG-13]
101 Minutes
ASIN: B0034G4OZE

Plot Summary
After talking himself out of jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge, sixteen-year-old Craig Gilner decides to have himself admitted. At the hospital, Dr. Mahmoud agrees to admit Craig for a one week stay in the hospital’s psychiatric wing. While working through his depression and perceived shortcomings, Craig befriends an adult patient named Bobby. Through the course of the week, the two form a rather close bond and motivate each other to face the things they are nervous or afraid about. For Bobby, it’s leaving the ward to be a father to his little girl, and for Craig it’s getting the courage and self confidence to ask out the girl he likes. But will they both be changed for the better?

Reader’s Annotation
After contemplating suicide, Craig has himself admitted to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation and week-long monitoring. At first, he’s not sure what he got himself in to, but it turns out to be a life-changing experience for almost everyone involved.

Critical Evaluation
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is the film adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel of the same name. The movie deals with the issues of teen depression, pressures that teens often feel from their families to meet their expectations, and feelings of inadequacy. This film brilliantly takes these issues head-on and shows the audience that they can be overcome. It offers a comedic and lighthearted take on some rather heavy subjects, with a little romance thrown in there as well. It serves as a sort of coming of age story, but for people of all ages and mental and emotional state. The film delivers a positive message and is something that many teens and adults can relate to.

Genre
Comedy
Coming of Age

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss Craig’s relationship with Bobby. How do they help each other?

What is the definition of mental illness?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
13+

Challenge Issues

  • Attempted suicide
  • Depression
  • Mental Illness

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online reviews, and others who are familiar with the material.

Why Included?
Many teens suffer from depression and this movie is a great example of how everyone is broken, and things can and do get better. I think a lot of teens would be able to commiserate with the characters and situations portrayed in the movie.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Movie)

Movie Info
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2005
Warner Home Video
Rated [PG]
119 minutes
ASIN: B000AM4PEK

Plot Summary
Tibby, Lena, Carmen and Bridget have been best friends since childhood and for the first time they will all be separated for the entire summer. Lena is going to Greece to visit her grandparents, Bridget is going to soccer camp in Mexico, Carmen is going to stay with her dad in South Carolina, and Tibby is staying at home to work and earn money to film her documentary. Before the girls go their separate ways, they happen upon a somewhat magical pair of jeans that seem to fit each of them perfectly and decide to share the pants as a symbol of their friendship. Each girl has a turn as keeper of the pants and shares with each other the adventures in love and life they experience while apart.

Reader’s Annotation
Spending their first summer apart, four best friends since childhood will remain united by a pair of jeans that magically fits each one of them perfectly. Trading off possession of the pants, they each share their adventures in love and life.

Critical Evaluation
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the film adaptation of Anna Brashares best selling young adult novel of the same name. It is a heartwarming story of friendship and what it is to be a teenager, though more specifically targeted to young women. It offers a realistic portrayal of teenage friendships and situations that might be encountered with friends and romance. It follows four friends during their summer spent apart, each girl experiencing life changing circumstances, some on the uplifting and romantic side and others a little more devastating and heartbreaking. The movie will make the audience laugh and cry as they fall in love with the sisterhood.

Genre
Chick Flick
Comedy
Coming of Age

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss how the friendship of these long time friends was tested.

What do you think the jeans represent?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
This movie added a good element of variety to the films chosen for the project, and who doesn’t appreciate a good chick flick now and then?