Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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This movie changed my life in enormous and incredible ways and somewhat ironically I spent 6 months of year 11 taking constant Snoskred Days Off from school. I can’t believe I have not written about this movie here already.

If you have not seen this movie you really need to see it, especially right now in this crazy world of mobile phones, the internet, etc. The movie is a comedy but the overall message of the film is summed up in this one line from Ferris –

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

What do I love about this movie?

Ferris

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Ferris Bueller is played by Matthew Broderick. Ferris talks directly to the audience, from the very start of the movie. He knows we are there, and he knows we are watching, and his talking to us involves us in what is happening..

Ferris is all seeing and all knowing, omnipresent, talented, not a fan of Isms, has a computer, does NOT have a car and Ferris is pretty upset about that. At the start of the movie Ferris tries on a lot of different outfits while waiting for Cameron to come over and pick him up.

Here are a few of them –

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Hard to imagine anyone wearing those sandals could be as cool as Ferris is!

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Cameron

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Brilliantly played by Alan Ruck, Cameron is a person lost within himself.

He is angry yet scared, needy yet there for Ferris, sick yet completely fine, desperate to please yet wanting to not give a f**k.. pretty much a typical teenager, at least as teenagers were when I was growing up. Cameron has a car, too!

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Jeannie

Jeannie

Do you know where she is. Do you know when she’ll be back.
Do you know.. anything.

Jeannie is unfortunate enough to be the sister of Ferris Bueller. She cannot understand why he gets to skip school when she has to go.

Played by Jennifer Grey who just one year later would play the iconic Baby Houseman in Dirty Dancing, Jeannie is full of rage and fun to watch , especially when she ends up in the police station and meets.. well.. a guy. That guy.

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Other Characters

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Sloane

– played by Mia Sara – is the girlfriend of Ferris Bueller and of course she is pretty fantastic because someone as fantastic as Ferris would not be with someone less fantastic than himself. Ferris has to invent a way to get Sloane out of school so she could be a part of the day off, which leads us to Grace and Ed.

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Grace

– is played wonderfully by Edie McClurg who just a year later would be in another John Hughes movie I love called Planes Trains and Automobiles.

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Edward Rooney

– did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave his cheese out in the wind. Ed decides to try and find Ferris and ends up hanging out at the home of Ferris, meeting his dog, and various flower delivery people. Because every man and his dog wants to send Ferris flowers.

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There is also a campaign to Save Ferris going on..

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The Car

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So Cameron has a father, who loves this Ferrari he restored. And to pick Sloane up from school he needs a beautiful car. So, Ferris talks Cameron into taking the car out.

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They leave it at a garage with a car care professional. This guy.

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Would you leave your Ferrari with this guy? I’m going to go with no, myself. And I would be right, because before Ferris and Co have even walked down the street from the garage, Car Guy and his friend are taking off for destinations unknown in the car.

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So during their day out, among other things, Ferris and Co eat pancreas at a snobby restaurant –

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Ferris talks to us via the mirror of a pretty amazing looking bathroom –

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They visit an Art Gallery –

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Ferris gets on a parade float –

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They return Cameron to his home which is absolutely gorgeous

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Then Ferris drops Sloane home and realises he only has five minutes to get to his place before his parents get home, and he no longer has a car, so he has to run. Which is an awesome sequence.

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There is more to this movie but I am not going to spoil it for you. You’ll just have to watch it to get the full story.

The movie was released in Australia on the 21st of August 1986. I was 11 years old. I am not sure when I saw the movie – it was not at the cinema I know that much. It was more likely once it was released on video. Our family was one of the first people to sign up at the newly opened local video store, and we were one of the first families in the street to own a VCR. My Dad was the general manager of the family business which was an electronics store.

Speaking of one of the first, Ferris *was* going to tell a little lie to a radio station while being interviewed in the movie, and this was actually cut into the original trailer and had to be quickly removed from both the trailer and the movie after the Challenger disaster. What was the lie?

I’m the first Chicago area youth to be selected to participate in a space shuttle mission.

The full original script can be seen on IMDB via this link – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Original Script.

When I did see this movie, little nuggets of it stayed with me and inspired me. Most kids taking days off school would want to hang out at video arcades or places where they could have “fun” – for me, fun was learning. The days I took off I would end up at the Museum, the Botanic Gardens if the weather was good, the Art Gallery, the State Library. These places became sanctuaries for me and I still hold a special place for them in my heart..

From the Wikipedia entry for Ferris Buellers Day Off

According to John Hughes, the scene at the Art Institute of Chicago was “a self-indulgent scene of mine—which was a place of refuge for me, I went there quite a bit, I loved it. I knew all the paintings, the building. This was a chance for me to go back into this building and show the paintings that were my favorite.” The museum had not been shot in, until the producers of the film approached them.

It is pretty amazing that a movie – and a comedy movie at that – managed to communicate this concept of places of refuge to me as a teenager.

If you have not seen this movie, it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking a copy up. :) Also there is a brilliant commentary track by John Hughes – who is sadly no longer with us – the track is well worth a listen, he tells you a lot about locations, shooting the movie and other fascinating stories. So make sure the movie you buy/rent has the commentary track on it.

Here is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on IMDB.

If you enjoyed this review, you might also enjoy these other reviews.

Pump Up The Volume
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
The Pirate Movie
Chocolat
Shakespeare In Love
Dead Poets Society

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3 thoughts on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

  1. I’m always worried about revisiting my favourite eighties films, because sometimes you had to be there to appreciate what they meant to people who were a certain age back then.
    But, after reading your review I’m now eagerly anticipating watching Ferris Bueller again.

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