This movie is one for the ages and it stands the test of time. I have talked to many people from different generations Boomers, Gen Xers (for sure), and even Mellenials…all of them love it (not so many Traditionalists–can’t please everybody).
This is arguably, along with “Ghostbusters” and “Back to the Future” the best “80s film” of all time. When I say “80s film” I mean when you watch it you see the 80s (hair styles, cars, dress, etc.) and there is a strong sense of nostalgia for the viewer and that specific time period when they remember first seeing that movie.
For me, there was a lot of tension when I first watched it.
My mother was opposed to allowing us to view it. She knew that it was a movie about a kid that made skipping school an extracurricular, and that he made “authority figures” look like morons. I think my sister spent an hour talking my mother into allowing us to watch it. She finally gave in.
At the end of the day, I was like, “What’s the big deal? I guess I will never see ‘Porky’s’….”
My first viewing was challenging through all of the judgmental gasps that my mom had to throw at it. At one point, we were able to get it copied and I was able to watch it with no distractions.
I think I watched it back-to-back.
I remember laughing at so many things and having a hard time thinking of my “favorite part.”
Generally I define my “favorite part” as that scene you always want to talk about with your friends as you are walking out of the theater.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was my “favorite part.” Even the end credits and the final conversation Ferris has with us after the movie is over-over.
For me, Ferris Bueller was a teenager’s James Bond. I remember people describing the Bond character as a man that women want, and a man that men want to be. Ferris was the teenager that all the teenage girls wanted, and all of the teenage boys wanted to be him.
He was smarter than every adult in the film (What teenager doesn’t dream of making every authority figure they come up against look like a fool?), great things just fell into his lap, and even his sister–WHO HATES HIM–comes around on her opinion of him at the end.
Some of the biggest laughs in the movie come from a very underrated comedic actor in Jeffrey Jones as Ed Rooney. His ability to play a straight-man, buffoon is unrivaled. The scenes at Ferris’s home without a lot of interaction with other actors are hilarious displays of slap stick and facial expressions that make the sternest people giggle (my dad).
Add in Alan Ruck in a role of a lifetime as Ferris’s sidekick/heterosexual life partner (for this movie any way) and you have one of the most perfectly cast films of all time.
What I found again was a character I could relate to in Cameron Frye. The boy who was actually sick that was willing to do anything for his friend; including being the third wheel on their adventure to Chicago with Ferris’s girlfriend in tow. We all want to be Ferris, most of us are Cameron. Things don’t always go right for us the way they do for Ferris, but we know we’re lucky to have a friend like him and would be willing to do anything to keep him.
At the end of the day, I don’t believe that Ferris’s day was selfish. I think he sincerely did this for Cameron knowing the ins-and-outs of his friend’s home life. He just wanted to give him a great day and tried the only way a child of privilege knew how.
Trust me, there is an entire other blog post that I could fill about this movie regarding Ferris’s sister’s journey as well, but I don’t want to indulge too many crucial points.
I will say, this movie made Charlie Sheen.
He has what I would consider at the time a “bit part”. We look back at it now as a cameo, but Charlie Sheen was not as well known as he is now when he has that very small scene with Ferris’s sister. Talk about a well crafted scene. Without even trying, that first closeup of him sitting on that couch next to her just uncomfortably staring at her is priceless.
For a movie as funny and at times as farcical as it is, to have the heart that it has in the end in Cameron’s father’s garage is at times a rare choice in Hollywood. It’s that choice that made this film the classic that it has become.
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