It’s been 29 years since a certain high school senior decided to act upon a whim which every other kid would only dream of carrying out- the chance to skip out on school for a whole day with your best friends, whilst claiming to your classmates that you were suffering from a serious disease, in order to con them out of money? Well, in 1986, John Hughes directed a film that depicted a day in the life of one Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a soon to be graduating high school student, plan to enjoy his high school days while he still can, accompanied by his beautiful, laid back girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara), and his uptight and depressed best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck). Part of the ruse involves “borrowing” Cameron’s neglectful father’s precious 1961 Ferrari, much to Cameron’s chagrin.
Unfortunately for Ferris, Mr Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), the school’s dean of students, is convinced that Ferris is feigning illness, and sets out to expose him. Meanwhile, Ferris’s spiteful twin sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), is infuriated as to why Ferris can so easily manipulate their parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett), while she appears to be ignored, until she gets help from a rather unexpected source…
Everybody I know who has seen “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will talk incessantly about their favourite scene, may it be Ferris’s iconic dance on the parade float to both “Danke Schoen” and “Twist and Shout”, the first shot of Chicago, Ferris conning the snooty maitre’d of the restaurant by masquerading as sausage king of Chicago, Abe Froman, the “Save Ferris” water tower, and, naturally, the Economic teacher’s (Ben Stein) persistent repetition of “Anyone? Bueller, Bueller”? etc. In short, this movie has no shortage of quotable scenes and moments.
Growing up, the most relatable character in the movie to me was Cameron. He is disregarded constantly at home by both of his parents, and always appears to afraid of taking risks. By involving Cameron in his plan, Ferris aims to offer his best friend some support and encouragement before they go their separate ways. There’s a theory that Ferris is merely a figment of Cameron’s imagination, a la “Fight Club”, and that Ferris is a projection of everything Cameron himself wants to be. I’m not sure I believe in this theory myself, but it certainly made me view the entire movie in a new light.
Like many of John Hughes’ other teen movies which centered on angsty teenagers, the lessons bestowed in this particular picture are timeless, as they apply to many contemporary teenagers, such as feeling jealous of a sibling, wanting to enjoy your youth while you still can, and taking chances now and then. For that reasons, I reward “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with 5 out of 5 stars. One of John Hughes’ best, in my opinion, and definitely an 80’s must-see!
Additionally, if you’re in the mood for a modern parody of Ferris Bueller and his shenanigans, then check out “The Goldbergs” recent parody episode, aptly titled “Barry Goldberg’s Day Off”, in which Barry hatches a plot to take a day off, much like his famous fictional idol. The episode features him trying to reenact scenes from the original movie, but instead he finds out how tricky it can be to try this out in reality. Plus, for an extra dose of nostalgia, Charlie Sheen reprises his cameo as the boy in the police station by dispensing advice to Barry’s sister, Erica, who finds herself acting out Jeanie’s precise role! Fans of the original movie may enjoy having the scenes given a more realistic outcome to them!