Thursday, August 13, 2009

John Hughes: My Teen Savior. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

{Sorry, I forgot to post this yesterday}

Welcome to part IV of my homage to filmmaker, John Hughes, who passed away last Thursday, August 6th:

Ferris Bueller's Day OffI was already in love with Matthew Broderick long before his excellent performance as Ferris Beuller. I first fell for him in 'Max Dugan Returns', then 'Wargames' and best of all, Ladyhawke. Oh, man, did I have a crush on him, and it just got worse with Ferris Bueller.

Ferris is a smart and creative high school senior who really doesn't want to go to school today. So, he cooks up this elaborate scheme to fool his parents and the suspicious Dean of Students, Ed Rooney (masterfully played by Jeffrey Jones) into thinking he's incredibly sick and will stay in bed all day.

Ferris' best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), who actually is home sick (implied to be psychosomatic?) has finally been persuaded by Ferris to come enjoy the day with him. They then hatch a plan to get Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara), out of class so she, too, can join them. (Do I even have to mention Ben Stein here? "Bueller? Bueller?")

Ferris is a charmer. And, I could definitely relate to his sister Jeanie's (Jennifer Grey before Dirty Dancing fame), to put it lightly, "frustration" with her brother, yet again, pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. I have a charmer of a brother, too, who I always felt got away with murder. But, yeah, in the end, I guess I would also defend him against the evil Dean of Students if I had too. "Family before school officials", that's what I always say.

When Ferris and Cameron succeed in springing Sloane from the school, the three of them set off for a whirlwind day of adventure, which started with "borrowing" Cameron's father's pristine vintage ferrari and just gets better from there.

I love how Ferris actually talks to the us, the audience, throughout the film:

Ferris: [to the camera, after tricking his parents into believing he's sick] Incredible, one of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second. [opens blinds to reveal a beautiful spring day]

Ferris: How can I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this? [begins fiddling with electronics to fake his voice]

Ferris: This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count.

This movie is just fun, fun, fun. Sure, I could get serious and thoughtful about "Cameron's" (Alan Ruck) emotional maturation at the end of the movie and how he learned to stand up for himself against his (never seen) overbearing father, but I don't really want to. I just want this to be a movie about a day in the life of three kids. A day that, if it happened to me, would be something I would look back on for the rest of my life as a magical moment in time. I have a few days (and nights) of (mostly) innocent mischief from my past that I look back on fondly, too. It's good to have days like that. We play by the rules most of our lives, so it's good to play hooky from our responsibilities once in a while.

And, really, when you watch this movie, how can you not get a little vicarious joy out of watching a kid take over a parade to lip sync to "Danke Schoen" and The Beatles' "Twist & Shout" while everyone within a 1 mile radius breaks out in dance? How can that not make you feel warm and fuzzy?

Oh! And who could forget the Yello song "Oh Yeah". I believe this was the first instance of this song being used on a movie soundtrack. According to it's wiki page, it was subsequently used in The Secret of My Succe$s, Teen Wolf, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Out of Control, and K-9, among others.

I still have a 45 (that would be a record, as in vinyl) from a promotion for the movie with two songs from the movie, "Beat City" by The Flowerpot Men and "I'm Afraid" by Blue Room. I'm pretty sure it came with some other ephemera, but I don't think I have that anymore. [If I do, it's probably sandwiched somewhere in the pages of my high school yearbook.]

Here are some favorite quotes:

Grace, played by Edie McClurg, speaking to her boss Ed Rooney:

Grace : Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.


Ferris: Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we'd be in gym?

Ferris: Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond.

Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. 

Ultimately, I believe Ferris' actions stem from the fact that:
Ferris: I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?

...and again speaking to the audience:
Ferris: I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car.

Ferris: Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.

Come back tomorrow for Part V: "Some Kind of Wonderful"


  1. .....righteous dude.....cracks me up every time!:)

  2. oh oh oh - you just covered ALL of my favorite teen movies. Breakfast Club is my #1 fave!!!


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