Ferris Bueller’s Day Off [retro viewing]

Leisure Rules!

During the Mutant Summit III, PoolMan and Justin carried on the fine MRFH tradition of watching some of the best films known to man. As they passed PoolMan’s laptop back and forth,

these precious words of wisdom were captured for a fascinating glimpse into the Mutant psyche…

PoolMan: Now this is the life. Sitting at home with Justin at the tail end of Mutant Summit 3 (subtitle: Try to Roll When You Hit the Ground), about to watch one of the best modern day classic comedies of all: Ferris Bueller. It’s the kind of thing that makes a mutant’s heart swell… AND BURST!

Justin: I feel bad, cause unlike Crossroads, there’s really little room to mock this recent classic of Western Filmmaking. Great first shot of Ferris, looking for all the world to be a dead goldfish. Doesn’t the dad look a bit like Alan Thicke from Growing Pains? “I want to go to a good college to have a fruitful life”. Hahahahahaha…

Oh, hey, it’s Baby (Jennifer Grey), pre-nose job!

P: I wasn’t planning on mocking this one, J. I thought this would be an excellent film to record for posterity.

Okay, so we’re into the first “at camera” monologue. Possibly the best part of this movie is Ferris’ ability to address the audience directly. Suspension of disbelief, engage!

J: This really would not have been the same – or as great – of a film without Ferris breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to us. We get to be in on the joke, and it’s absolutely hysterical as Ferris looks us in the eye, “They bought it!”

Hey, who doesn’t make shampoo hairdos and sing in the shower? You? Um, okay. This is a bit awkward. Remember when the kids in Weird Science showered in socks? Yeah, wasn’t that gross?

P: I wasn’t planning on mocking this one, J. I thought this would be an excellent film to record for posterity.

Probably the only movie to advocate licking your own hands.

Okay, so we’re into the first “at camera” monologue. Possibly the best part of this movie is Ferris’ ability to address the audience directly. Suspension of disbelief, engage!

J: This really would not have been the same – or as great – of a film without Ferris breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to us. We get to be in on the joke, and it’s absolutely hysterical as Ferris looks us in the eye, “They bought it!”

Hey, who doesn’t make shampoo hairdos and sing in the shower? You? Um, okay. This is a bit awkward. Remember when the kids in Weird Science showered in socks? Yeah, wasn’t that gross?

P: BEN STEIN ALERT!!! Another minute, another classic moment. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? I love Ben Stein. He’s just the best. I actually love that “Win Ben Stein’s Money” show. Especially Jimmy Kimmel. He’s the best, in a misogynistic sort of way.

Oh Ben Stein, you rock hard.

And here’s the introduction of Cameron. Best sidekick ever. So dark. So brooding. So Cameron. When Cameron was in Egypt’s land, let my Cameron goooooooo…

J: Ah, isn’t Ben Stein’s teacher just the best teacher character ever filmed? I can’t imagine anyone nailing that long-suffering bored expression that he does. Fry? Fry?

Cameron’s “I’m dying” line just always cracks me up. Wonderful melodrama from a teenage character played by a 30-year old man.

This is one of those movies that you absolutely cannot help but continually quote along with the movie. Hey, that’s an idea; instead of karaoke, have classic quotes on the screen and kill the soundtrack at that line so that you and your friends can fill in the dialogue.

My hemorroids!

Anyone? Anyone? Hee hee… the kids in Ben Stein’s class slay me with their Damned expressions. Can you keep yourself from laughing? I thought not. Wow. We’ve all been there.

Sean says we should reign in the number of times we say the word “classic” in this article. I agree. Classic classic classic classic classic.

P: Dammit, there goes our quota!

Ah, now we meet Rooney. I was always so sad to learn that Jeffery Jones wasn’t exactly the model citizen he should have been. Oh well, at least at this point in his career, he absolutely epitomizes the Evil Principal. He’s just awesome here. Later is later.

I’ve read interesting articles about how Ferris is really an evil character, exactly as his sister believes, and not the charming guy he tries to pass himself off as. It’s an interesting point, and watching his conversations with Cameron really drives it home. Is Ferris a jerk, or is he a hero? I’ll keep watching for this…

Worth the price of admission to watch Cameron freak out in his car.

J: Cameron spazzing out in his car is yet another cla… I mean, very special scene. Red Wings jersey! Can you imagine anyone else doing this part?

Two thoughts occur. The first is about Ferris’ parents. They’re dumb as posts, which isn’t that uncommon for a film set from a teenage standpoint, but they’re also incredibly loving if you look at it that way. Hey, when I was sick, my dad wouldn’t call home to check up on me unless the leprosy was spreading.

The second thought is about why we instantly love this movie so much. I really think it’s because Ferris makes us, the audience, his other best friend. The explanations, the nods, the jokes, the weird little scenes that serve no purpose other than to just be goofy – these are all elements that I associate with hanging out with friends.

Is Ferris evil? Nah… I mean, sure, he’s definitely a jerk in scenes, but karma hits him on the butt when he is, and his humor makes a lot of would-be wrongs very, very right.

P: Eh, I’m still not convinced, but like I say, we’ll keep an eye open.

Drivin' LaCameron Loca

One of my favourite bits is Rooney yelling at Simone’s “father”. The bell toning as the Hold light flashes is just fantastic. Plus Grace (we love Grace) trying to mimic Rooney’s voice is pure gold.

So what’s with the fashion in this flick? I mean, the Red Wings jersey is perfect. The leather suspenders underneath are not. Still trying to make my mind up on Ferris’ Bond suit.

YELLOW! YELLOW! Booooom… oh, yeah. Boooooom… OH yeah… Bow bow, doo bow bow. Ooooooooooooh yeaaaaaaaaaah… chick, chickachickAHHHHHHH…

J: The man who wears a kilt with a fanny pack has little right critiquing suspenders. Thus sayeth me.

Ferris’ relationship with Cameron is odd, but pretty cool for all its depth. At first, Ferris seems like he keeps Cameron around just to boss him like the Bart-Milhouse friendship. But after a while you do see why they’re such good friends. Cameron is loyal, he houses a lot of humor and a fun-loving spirit, but he needs Ferris to prompt him to experience life and work through his demons. Without Cameron, Ferris is incomplete; he, too, needs Cameron to help him experience the joy of life (access to a car, tag-teaming on Rooney, etc).

Wow. Ed Rooney quotes made-up scripture. I must remember to use that at my next funeral. Sloane has such a hard time keeping a straight face here.

SNOOOOOOOOOOTY

P: I do so enjoy how Rooney likes to deliver monologue to Grace, and how she just intently listens, like she’s in on the plan. It really is fun.

Oh, more fun fashion. Ferris sports a beret. And the suit he was wearing is gone. Plus Cameron’s poor boy cap is entertaining. Ah, but Justin makes a point, I am a fashion goon myself. At least there’s Scooby Doo underpants under the kilt, and who doesn’t want that?

Hehe… I love the reptilian parking clerk. “Hey man, what country do you think this is?”

J: Another line I love to use a lot, “Where will you be then, you heartless wench!”

Wow, Ferris & Co. sure did a crapload of work to set up the day, what with the answering machine ruse, Ferris’ bed dummy, and the doorbell message. I’ve read it many places before how they’d have to have like 20 hours to get in everything that they did during the day. It just makes it better.

Probably the best five-second scene EVER.

Everyone should look do that tilt-and-lean thing on the Sears tower at 1,353 feet.

P: Ah, now here is one of my LEAST favourite parts of this movie, is the restaurant maitre d’. I don’t dig the snooty/snotty speech at all. There’s just too much stress here.

I will now take this opportunity to admit that I’ve always had a crush on Sloane. Oh my, she was such a hottie in this movie.

J: Little mannerisms make this film for me. Ferris nibbling on the ice, all of Cameron’s five thousand face expressions, Rooney’s bulging eyes, Grace pulling out ten pencils from her hair.

Here’s a thought: can you even imagine a movie like this being made today? I really can’t. They’d probably make it way too harsh, or throw in a prom scene, or have Cameron addicted to crack, or use an incredibly Britney-Pink-Christina-laced soundtrack instead of the eclectic mix that’s here. This is a movie where everyone can be a bit mean, but not mean-spirited, and I love that.

Oooh. Pretty.

Pooly’s cackling with laughter, as am I, at various scenes. What a great movie to see with a friend. I like how when they leave the restaurant and see Ferris’ dad, Cameron is instantly turned away from the camera (wheras Ferris and Sloane have yet to react). What a funny wuss.

Ah, the chick who Rooney mistakes for Ferris is really hot. Yes, 80s girls, they cannot be beat.

P: About halfway through this movie, I always start to laugh about how long this “day off” really is. Does Ferris’ school work on a 17 hour school day? Does the earth take 53 hours to complete a revolution? They take in a snooty lunch, and THEN go to a ball game? That’s a looooong afternoon. But it’s okay, it’s an 80’s comedy.

Now we have Rooney trying to break into the Bueller home. This guy’s actually desperate enough to catch a hookey-playing student that he’ll start committing crimes. But he pays in the form of muddy shoes and split pants.

Twist a little closer now!

How did they EVER get the permission to use the Star Wars music for the Ferrari leaping over the camera? I’m telling you people, movies like this just don’t get MADE any more!

J: While the music picked for this movie is great, the best — the absolute best — is the instrumental version of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” used for the dialogue-free museum scene. Again, another thing they’d never do in a modern comedy, to have a whole scene that is silent, not that funny, but really tells you a lot about the characters. Cameron’s stare-down with the girl in the painting is a haunting little moment that just defines his character the way used Kleenex couldn’t.

And we take a break for not one, but TWO singing and dancing numbers! Ah, if only everyone around me would leap into song and dance when the rhythm got to me.

“We ate pancreas” break. Is it a bit unnatural that Simone flirts with Ferris’ dad?

SAVE JUSTIN! Ah, I miss the days of the Canadian Takeover at MRFH.

Even the water is brought to you by Ferris.

P: The big “Donke Schoen” scene. I should have been watching for it, but I hear all the characters either sing or hum this song at some point in the movie. I caught Rooney doing it already, it may yet be true!

Every time Cameron gets a monologue, I feel terrible. He’s undoubtedly my favourite character in this whole movie. He has such depth, and he doesn’t know it. He’s so caught up in his own set of fears and consequences, it’s just perfect.

Oh, and the black folks doing the jazzy dance down the stairs? I won’t say the word, but it starts with “C”, and ends with “lassic”.

J: The Twist and Shout scene is irresistible in its energy and sheer goodness. All the little dancing scenes – the black ensemble, the little kid clapping along, the guy who goes flying over the crowd – turn this small comedy into something huge.

Wow, Rooney is the foul-mouthed man. The movie’s one F-word AND a couple well-timed middle fingers within a few seconds of each other.

"Cameron Freaks" would be a pretty good name for a movie.

If you think about it, Baby took about four hours to get home from school, if you consider all the scenes between the time she left and the time she arrived at home. Hm. Think about it, won’t ya?

Okay, Pooly left the room, and now it’s just me. Ah. Hm. I honestly don’t know what to say. Maybe I can start telling you about all the names I’ve picked for my future children. Westley and Wesley, of course. Schwartz, for both the F.A.O. and the Spaceballs variety. Helga, but that’s just common sense.

Whew, he’s back. Here ya go.

P: It always amuses me how Rooney’s car gets about a dozen tickets and a tow in the space of what must be an hour. Poor guy’s just trying to do his job. He’s doing it in a criminally-insane manner, but he’s still doing it.

I love the zoom out from Cameron’s screaming mouth after it’s discovered the Ferrari has been driven 173 miles in their absence. In the mouth of madness… And now he’s catatonic. Boy, things are just going terribly for everyone!

The 36-24-36 hurdle.

J: I’m really starting to wonder if the movie is trying to strongly hint that Sloane and Cameron are destined to hook up. Despite Sloane saying she’d marry Ferris at the end, notice how many scenes where they seem to care a little extra about each other (such as the parade talk, or Sloane’s cradling of Cameron after he goes catatonic, or the admission that Cameron saw Sloane undress). I think I’d like them getting together. Ferris won’t be hurting for new conquests (hello two sunbathing girls that he greets, for example) in the future.

Wow. Mia Sara in a soaked teddy. The males in the audience are vastly appeased. Ah.

P: Every single time I watch this movie, I forget that Charlie Sheen’s in it. I’ve seen it dozens of times, and somehow I always manage to be surprised when he shows up at the police station, with the simple question, “Drugs?”.

At least Baby’s finally calming down. She finds a character in whom she can confide, and she just vents. And suddenly, she’s tolerable. Ah yin and yang, you serve me so well.

J: Another thought. I would’ve loved to have seen Ferris Bueller 2: Ferris University. This man was made for college.

Charlie Sheen has GREAT hair here. But you already knew that.

P: Excellent continuity in this movie, by the way. Such a lame comment, but it’s true. In the last scene, the characters all go for a swim, and here they are, with wet hair. When all the dancers are jumping around during “Twist and Shout”, and it’s all done really well. Just thought I’d point that out. Please do not flame me with points about the fingerprints on the Ferrari’s steering wheel being different between cuts.

Cameron’s “I’m gonna take a stand” speech is great. It’s just a nice, memorable moment for a nice, memorable character.

J: This was a brilliant way to transition the movie from a moment of pretty heavy drama (Cameron’s long rant against his dad) to a burst of comedy that ushers in a wave of relief to the audience (by “killing the car”).

Isn’t it interesting how prominent Cameron’s parents are in the movie, yet we never meet them? And how vapid Ferris’ parents are, yet we get a lot of them?

Out of all the ways to climax the movie, this is one of the most unexpected, particularly for its genre. Sure, we expect a battle of the bands, or a cheap sports competition, or a massive party somewhere, but never a race between Ferris, his mom/Jeanie in their car, and his dad in his car, as Ferris does a marathon dash across backyards. Terrific suburban obstacles.

Hehe… the soundtrack singing “Shawna… Jeanie… Shawna”

P: And now we have Ferris’ said obstacle course. I wonder how many backyards were killed making this movie? I especially like him coming back to introduce himself to the tanning girls. Also, the blue haired beehive woman driving along is priceless.

I love the dad. “I think we should shoot her”.

J: Great choreography as Ferris dashes through a house and we see him through the windows.

I should have more to say, but we’re just sitting here, smiling, enjoying the flick. I think I’ll make this required viewing for my future children, Tamerack and Fitzgerald-vous. As Ferris is back in his bed, we know the end titles are near, and thus I must bid you ad… adeui… addew… farewell. Goodbye!

P: You’re still here? Go home!

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