Fun, Ferrari's and Ferris
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is widely praised as one of the greatest teen movies ever made and it's hard to disagree. Released back in 1986, a very memorable year for good movies, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is a light hearted, semi-fantasy comedy from the pen of John Hughes, which follows the exploits of one boy and his two friends as they play truant from school. I say semi-fantasy because although it is set in the real world, the exploits are what teenage dreams are made off. From driving a flashy Italian sports car, to leading the streets of Chicago in an all singing and dancing rendition of the Beatles "Twist and Shout".
Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick - WarGames) a slick talking charmer knows exactly how to have fun, which is exactly what he plans to do when he convinces his parents he's too sick to go to school. To aid him in his grand plans Ferris enlists his hypochondriac best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck - Class), into springing his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara - Legend), from school and the three embark on a raucous adventure on the streets of Chicago. From the Art Institute to Wrigley Field to a Polish pride parade, Ferris and his pals make the most of their unauthorized day off.
There is a very simple reason why "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is such a popular movie and it is down to John Hughes giving the audience the sort of day they would love to have. Whether you are an adult or a child the idea of playing hooky and just having a day of fun doing the stuff you shouldn't is the stuff of dreams and that is Ferris's day. And on top of this you have his imaginative ways of making it happen from the complex system he has in his bedroom to keep up the pretence that he is sick through to the way he deals with such issues as the mileage on the Ferrari.
In the lead role of Ferris Bueller, is Matthew Broderick who somewhat surprisingly puts in a flawless performance. I say surprisingly, because prior to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" I was only aware of Broderick for his role as a computer geek in "WarGames", so watching him playing such a different more confident sort of character was, in my mind, amazing. Broderick displays so much charisma in front of the camera you can't but help watch this over confident kid ride his luck over and over again.
Opposite Broderick as Cameron is Alan Ruck whose performance as the slightly up tight and depressed friend works perfectly as a foil for Ferris's exuberance for life. One of the funniest scenes is where Ferris has talked Cameron into pretending to be his girlfriend's father so that he can get her released from school by telling a pack of lies to the school's principle.
Although there are many other worthy performances from the likes of Jeffrey Jones, Mia Sara, Jennifer Grey and Edie McClurg, it is down to the performances from Broderick and Ruck as to why "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is so good on the acting front. There is also a brief appearance from Charlie Sheen as a boy in a police station, but this came before he really hit celebrity status.
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is written and directed by John Hughes and for me, this marked his departure from making teenage movies, such as "The Breakfast Club" and showed some of the ideas that he would go on to use in child based movies, such as "Home Alone". In true Hughes style, he has constructed a movie which really appeals to the imagination of its target audience as well as providing entertainment for any other non target viewers. The sound track is generally unmemorable until you reach the carnival scene, where you are treated to two memorable songs and performances. Firstly, there is the gentle "Danke Schoen" followed by the lively Beatles number "Twist and Shout".
What this all boils down to is that "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is one of the best and most memorable teenage movies ever made. Unlike today's crop of teenage movies which rely on gross out comedy, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" entertains you through some clean comedy, memorable scenes and the ability to understand the feelings of its target teenage audience. Sadly, having passed its 25th anniversary it does feel very dated but is still a wonderful trip down memory lane for those who watched it on it's initial release.