For my return to Movie Monday, I decided to select one of my all-time favorites- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The 1986 film was written and directed by none other than John Hughes, the mastermind behind other Chicago-based classics such as Home Alone, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, and Pretty in Pink. Hughes claimed that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was his “love letter” to Chicago:
"I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could. Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit."
Hughes accomplished just that with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, creating a film that resonates with anyone who has ever experienced the glory of Chicagoland. He and his team managed to do proper justice to the beauty of Chicago’s many landmarks while capturing the contagious pride and energy shared between Chicagoans. He also managed to capture the essence of the city’s surrounding suburbs and painted a picture of growing up there; particularly, the allure of only being a short drive away from one of the world’s finest cities.
The film stars a young Matthew Broderick as laidback high school senior Ferris Bueller, a well-liked slacker with the charisma and quick wits to bullshit his way out of anything.
When I say anything, I mean pretty much anything.
The story is made possible by Ferris faking out his parents, played by Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward (who actually married each other after meeting on set), with an elaborate scheme to prove his sporadic illness. Really, the only illness Ferris came down with was a good ol’ case of senioritis.
With only a few weeks standing between Ferris and graduation, his fucks left to give were practically nonexistent. That being said, he had no doubts about adding yet another absence to his record. To make it count, Ferris recruited his best friend and girlfriend to tag along for an unforgettable day in the Windy City.
Or, let me rephrase. He for better or worse dragged his best friend and girlfriend along to the city.
Alan Ruck executed the role of Cameron Frye, Ferris’ paranoid, hypochondriac best friend of many years. The on-screen dynamic between Cameron and Ferris is flawless, closely imitating the dynamics of lifelong best friends in real life. Cameron’s sheepishness helps to balance out Ferris’ happy-go-lucky confidence, or, more bluntly, recklessness.
Aside from balance, Cameron brings something else to the table- his dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. After tireless convincing, Ferris was able to whip the iconic Rari for the day.
Before going to the city, they had to make one more stop.
On their way out, they employ a morbid excuse and an elaborate scheme to bail Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) out of school. Sloane is Ferris’ girlfriend, a smart and independent young woman who ironically seems wrapped around Ferris’ finger at times. She’s a year younger than Ferris, which ultimately raises questions about their future as Ferris stares into the abyss of life after graduation. Despite Ferris not being the best influence on her, it is made obvious that they have something special.
Of course, there has to be some complication in the storyline. Ferris is quite smooth, but his notoriety on campus keeps him from flying under the radar. Their crazed principal, Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), adamantly pursues Ferris and the gang throughout the film. Rooney knew that Ferris was up to no good, but he had to go on quite a wild goose chase to get any semblance of proof.
From start to finish, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a movie that will keep you fully invested. While the film is goofy and lighthearted, it does have some redeeming philosophical value. The film emphasizes living life to the fullest, enjoying those spontaneous adventures while you still can. After all, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off can be summed up by its most popular quote:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”