FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. (1986) WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND CO-PRODUCED BY JOHN HUGHES.
STARRING MATTHEW BRODERICK, ALAN RUCK, MIA SARA, JENNIFER GREY, JEFFREY JONES, EDIE MCCLURG, CINDY PICKETT, LYMAN WARD AND CHARLIE SHEEN.
MUSIC BY IRA NEWBORN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
There are two schools of thought regarding this American teen comedy, made by the man who also brought us SIXTEEN CANDLES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, PRETTY IN PINK, UNCLE BUCK, HOME ALONE and BEETHOVEN (the dog, not the famous musician!).
John Hughes was one hell of a film-maker, and, had he not died of a heart attack in 2009, no doubt he’d still be making movies today. He brought fame and fortune to the young actors and actresses of the so-called Brat Pack, chief of whom was his own personal muse, the fabulous Molly Ringwald.
Anyway, to return to those two schools of thought? The first one puts the case that ‘FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF’ is the best ‘Eighties movie ever made, besides THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
They maintain that it’s an utterly joyful, entertaining, enjoyable and escapist romp about an endearingly cheeky teenage boy who dares to do what some teens only ever dream about: cut school a month before graduation and enjoy an hilarious jaunt through downtown Chicago- Hughes’s other muse- with his best friend Cameron Frye and his girlfriend Sloane Petersen, who each have to cut classes as well.
Well, it’s true there are some really good laughs in this film. My son nearly died laughing at the bit where Ferris’s best mate Cameron puts on a funny fake accent to give the mortified Principal Rooney a severe bollocking, and I love the bit where the same Principal watches his student Sloane Petersen tongue-kissing her ‘father’ by his car when he comes to collect her from school on the Big Day Out. The look on Rooney’s face!
‘So, that’s the way it is in that family, eh…?’
Okay, so which of us doesn’t want to ditch school or work or whatever else once in a while to visit an art gallery, blag a freebie meal from a posh restaurant, attend a baseball game and sing Beatles songs from the top of a float to amuse a roaring crowd of German-Americans?
We all feel like that at times, but we have responsibilities to ourselves and others and we can’t just drop everything at the drop of a knicker elastic to go gallivanting. Ferris and his pals, though, they do it all, in a day they’ll never forget.
There’s a second school of thought, however, that views Ferris Bueller as a thoroughly spoiled, selfish little prick who, in fact, is ruining the lives of the people around him. Look what happens to poor Principal Rooney when he tries to catch Ferris out in his blatant truancy and disrespect for his school, his studying and his teachers.
Poor old Ed (Rooney) loses his shoes, destroys his (probably) one good school suit, is humiliated at being conned by a student (Ferris!), gets high-kicked in the face by his student’s sister, is accused of housebreaking at the Buellers’ house, gets a dressing-down from another student (Ferris’s pal Cameron!) posing as a parent and is mauled by the Bueller’s vicious dog. Bit of a pattern developing here, much…?
Rooney is the Principal Seymour Skinner to Matthew Broderick’s Bart Simpson. Rooney is the determined ‘non-giving-up school guy’ who just keeps getting thwarted by the deviant mind of a schoolboy. He’ll be in therapy for this for years to come, you mark my words, and the name ‘Ferris Bueller’ will remain a terrible trigger for him forever…
And what about poor Cameron Frye, Ferris’s bezzie mate? Ferris is the cause, let’s face it, of Cameron’s dad’s posh Ferrari crashing through the garage window and down into the vegetation below. To be fair to him, Ferris says he’ll take the blame and apologise to Cam’s dad, but Cam won’t hear of it.
He says he’ll stand up to his dad for the first time in his life, but that could be dangerous for Cam. His dad’s clearly a bully, someone who talks with his fists or whips off his belt the instant a wife or child dares to answer him back. This has all the hallmarks of a very risky domestic violence incident waiting to happen, and it’s not like we’re around to see what happens next…
As for poor Sloane Peterson, well, Ferris might have offered to marry her in the film, but the reality of the situation is that he’ll be off to college next semester, or in the fall, as they say it over there, and Sloane still has one more year of high school to go.
He’ll leave her behind as easily as he’d shed an ill-fitting jacket, and she’ll be left alone, heart-broken, forced to console herself with the handsome captain of the football team and his big dreamy eyes and his enormous… oh, er! Maybe things won’t be so bad for poor old Sloanie after all…
I love Edie McClurg as Grace, the long-suffering school secretary to Mr. Rooney, and a very young Charlie Sheen as a ‘bad boy’ who’s down the cop shop when Ferris’s sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey from DIRTY DANCING) is there and urgently needs kissing, lol.
The joy-riding car valets/garage attendants are hilarious; if Cameron actually knew what was happening to his dad’s precious automobile while he’s downtown watching Ferris entertain the crowds with a Beatles song at the Von Steuben Day Parade…!
Enjoy the film anyway, then ask yourself as objectively as possible; Which school of thought are you…??? Ferris Bueller as hero or selfish wanker? It’s up to you…
All together now… ‘Oh yeah…!’