In 1986 Paramount put out one of the greatest movies of all time. A small film directed by John Hughes, starring Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, and Alan Ruck, and supported by Jeffery Jones and Baby, sorry, Jennifer Grey. When I first saw this film in its entirety I was probably in 6th or 7th grade watching it on TV. It came out the year I was born but still carried such an impact that when I saw it, I wanted to become Ferris Bueller. I wanted my day off. Only problem? I lived by a small farming town; note that I said ‘by’ as in ‘out in the country’. Roughly 8 miles away from any of me friends, so the point in taking a day off was kind of moot as I wouldn’t have been able to do anything except watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off anyways and become more morose that I lived out in the country and not in the beautiful city of Chicago. But I digress; we’re here to talk about movies.
This past year marked the 25th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and that’s a reason to celebrate. John Hughes is the epitome of teen movie directors with a gamut of films under his belt including the pivotal three; Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club. Hughes had a certain type of humor about high school movies and embraced it completely leaving a set guideline for what qualified as a high school movie ever since. You needed the geek, you needed the shy girl, you needed the jock, you needed the character that could float between all the social circles uninhibited. Get your hands on the film spoof Not Another Teen Movie and 83% of the film is an homage to John Hughes’ films.
Hughes wasn’t only a great director as he only directed 8 films, but an incredible writer with an impressive 41 films under his belt by the time he died in 2009. His last completed screenplay was for the Judd Apatow project Drillbit Taylor.
Ferris stood out as an icon for all high school students who saw just how childish and stupid high school was in the 80s and still is today. “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Ferris is all about celebrating life to the fullest and the film conveys that really well in its celebration of the random that made films in the 80s as exciting as they were. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a chase film between Ferris and Rooney, a hero film by means of Cameron’s eventual uprising against his father, a happy family film in the way Ferris and Jeanie make their peace by the end of the film, and an adventure film just in regards to the entire day culminating in the Star Wars Ferrari flight scene.
I think it’s the randomness of the film that drew me to it. The awkward mix of soundtrack choices accentuated by the sudden changes in location make the film seem like the greatest day and longest 8 hours ever to be compressed into an hour and 42 minutes. An official soundtrack for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was never released but all the songs can be found on-line in various places. If you can find them, get them. My favorite song in the entire film is from the Museum scene. The song is a remake of the Smith’s hit ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ done by The Dream Academy. I liked this one the most because it’s the scene where Ferris and Sloan kiss. I always wanted to kiss Sloan.
One of the most ridiculous scenes in the film is definitely the parade scene in which Ferris ‘sings’ Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton and Twist and Shout by the Beatles. For missing school as many days as Ferris has, this seems a little at risk even for our hero. The parade route goes right by his father’s work; this is after they almost got caught by eating at the same restaurant as his father! But this suspense is what makes the film work. There’s always a chance of getting caught but Ferris is so sure of himself that everything always works out.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has influenced countless millions of youth through it’s duration and will continue to do so well into the future as more and more reissues of the film are released. One big sign of respect to the king of skipping is the band Save Ferris named after the multimedia phenomenon that occurs throughout the film as the community of Shermer rallies around raising money to save the life of the horribly sick Ferris.
Living your life like Ferris Bueller is a great way to live.