Posted on 1/22/10 08:40 PM
There are three John Hughes movies that I love. This is one of them.
Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a smart, mischievous, and charming High Schooler who decides not to waste one particularly beautiful day by going to school. Instead, he gets his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and his best friend (Alan Ruck) together to skip so they can have a fun day together ? a day off, as it were. Unfortunately, not everybody appreciates the serendipity in this, so his jealous sister (Jennifer Grey) and his school?s bitter Dean of Students (Jeffrey Jones) do everything they can to make sure he gets caught. Ferris and his friends nonetheless steal his friend?s father?s expensive classic car and take it to Chicago, where they enjoy all the city has to offer, while his foes endeavor to bring him down. Will Ferris get away with this? It almost doesn?t matter, because watching him try is so much fun.
As you know, I am not a big fan of THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985), and I thought WEIRD SCIENCE (1985) and SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984) had their problems too (the latter film set back the image of Asians for generations). But I was always a big fan of FERRIS BUELLER?S DAY OFF (1986). In this film, we see all of the stuff John Hughes did in those other films ? the kids who are afraid of growing up, the adults who hate the kids, the parents who make their children?s lives miserable and the parents who love their kids, all of it ? done /exactly/ right. The dramatic parts work dramatically and are eased into, so they don?t come out of left field. Hughes executes the comedy to perfection, loading this movie with now-classic lines. The music fits in all the right places. It?s all of John Hughes?s teenpic skills used to impressive effect. Every kid who sees this film wants to be Ferris Bueller, and yet, every kid can relate to the other characters too (well, maybe not Ed Rooney). Even Ferris?s hapless parents, gullible though they are, behave believably when you see how cute Ferris is in his scenes with them. All of the acting is first rate, the writing and direction more so, and John Hughes earns his vaunted reputation. I watched this film several times as a teenager (we had it on VHS), and it still makes me smile. Definitely one of Hughes?s best.
And what really underscores that are the bonus features on the 2005 DVD edition, which was why I rented it again. An incorrect Netflix description suggested there was commentary by Hughes, and after seeing DON?T YOU FORGET ABOT ME (Matt Austin, 2009), I was intrigued by that prospect. Turns out it?s old interview footage, shot around the time he made the film, intercut with modern-day interviews with the cast, including Matthew Broderick, amazingly. And what struck me about the interviews was how much the cast all seemed to have genuinely enjoyed making this film. Jennifer Grey describes it as the best time she had on a movie, and Ben Stein remarks that of all of the things he?s done, the one he?s proudest of and best known for is his brief scene in FERRIS BUELLER?S DAY OFF. Matthew Broderick, a classically trained actor from a show business family admits that while he would love to be known for other things he did in his long and diverse career, try as he might, he will always be Ferris Bueller. And I for one think there are worse fates than that.
When I watched this movie again, I was surprised by /how many/ classical lines there are in this film. And the scary part is, /everybody knows them/! I?ve never met anybody anywhere near my age group who hasn?t seen this movie and doesn?t remember all of the same lines (one of which was delivered by Kristy Swanson, I discovered) affectionately. Having seen the movie so many times, I remembered all of them, all of the musical cues, the lines that weren?t famous ? everything. Even though I probably haven?t seen it in maybe fifteen years. It brought back so many memories, of being young, and carefree, and the ideals that Ferris Bueller lives by. Life does move pretty fast. So fast those times passed me by a long time ago. And yes, I really do miss them.