We Still Want To Join Ferris Bueller On His Day Off 35 Years Later
It’s been 35 years since Ferris Bueller took his epic day off, and we still want to tag along.
In 1986, Ferris Bueller showed the world how to take the ultimate day off. In fact, it was such a definitive guide that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for its cultural significance.
The best way to truly rank the film is alongside the other work of its director, the late great John Hughes. Hughes worked on terrific films like Home Alone, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and other classics, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stands out as the best of the best.
The film opens with Ferris pulling a classic sickie, and imparting his wisdom on how to convince parents that you’re ill. The key component is being loveable, but he gave us plenty to think about when he recommended licking his palms, moaning and wailing while faking a stomach cramp.
This sage advice undoubtedly inspired plenty of copycats, whether it’s putting vegetable soup down the toilet and saying you puked, or just complaining about a headache loudly until your respective parent said to take the day off.
However, Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick) shows us that it’s not just about taking the day off (in spite of the Dean of Students’ doubts). Instead, it’s about how you spend your hard-earned day off. After all, ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it’.
Naturally, Ferris has the interests of most teenage boys. He discusses his desire for a car and the belief that he knows better than the education system. Even with the slightly flawed logic, it’s hard to argue with Bueller’s claims that he doesn’t care for European Socialism studies because he’s not European and doesn’t prescribe to ‘isms’.
The film also gets the audience onside through some shots of students looking painfully bored in class. Immediately the film is easy to get behind because of its charismatic lead and relatable outlook on school life, but it’s when Ferris’s high-jinx come into play that the day really becomes something special.
Following an elaborate and well-orchestrated phone call between Dean Rooney, Ferris and Cameron, a larger plan begins to unfold. Not only does Ferris manage to convince his nemesis, Rooney, that his girlfriend’s grandmother has died, but the bumbling impressions of her father provided by his friend Cameron removes any doubt that the situation is real.
The fun ramps up when Ferris convinces Cameron to let him borrow his dad’s Ferrari. Whether it’s convincing Rooney that his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (played by Mia Sara), has an odd relationship with her father or jumping on a float as part of a parade, there’s plenty of high-stakes shenanigans.
Despite escapades of pretending to be a leading sausage maker and a ‘Save Ferris’ campaign, the film actually carries a lot of weight that makes it more memorable than most teenage comedies. This is because Ferris doesn’t take the sick day for himself, he takes it for Cameron. Ironically, the ‘Save Ferris’ campaign that sweeps the unknowing community was made to save Cameron.
We know from the get-go that Cameron (played by Alan Ruck) is sick. Although Cameron takes part in Ferris’s pranks, he’s an anxious character worried about the wrath of his father. In fact, Ferris ponders whether Cameron is always sick because of his home life. As the film develops, it becomes clear that Cameron is depressed and suicidal. Fortunately, Ferris is there to help.
Through the drives in the forbidden Ferrari and the day seeing the city, Cameron learns about his wants and finally takes a stand in the final scenes of the movie. The fact that Ferris devises the elaborate day for Cameron is why anyone in their right mind would want to join Ferris on a day off.
Even as we get older and our lives begin to resemble Dean Rooney’s, it would still be nice to have someone who would throw caution to the wind and get you into ridiculous situations. Particularly if they’re doing it with your well-being in mind.
Although Ferris opens the movie by saying his acting sick was ‘one of the worst performances of my career’, the film has turned out to be one of the most memorable of Matthew Broderick’s roles. So much so, that we’re still waiting for a call from Ferris to convince us to get out of bed, steal our parent’s car and then willingly get ourselves into a whole lot of trouble.
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