The Scoop: 1986 PG-13, directed by John Hughes and starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jeffrey Jones
Tagline: Leisure Rules
Summary Capsule: A can’t-lose kid takes the day off school to romp around Chicago with his girlfriend and his mentally-unhinged best friend.
Justin’s Rating: Chica-chicAAAAHHHHH!
Justin’s Review: In my mind, a sad little mansion of padded rooms, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is hands-down the best 80’s movie in existence. Not that I don’t have other, highly-thought-of favorites, but how can I deny the genius that is the Ferris Experience? Even my 80’s-hating polyester-wearing Quentin Tarantino-spouting friends will come a-rushin’ to the couch when Ferris rears his floofy head yet once again.
It’s the kid we all wanted to be: immensely popular, able to get away with stuff that everyone else gets nailed for, has a girlfriend who could easily grace the centerfold of SI’s swimsuit issue, and appreciates what’s real in life and what’s not. What’s not in this case include his high school (Ferris plays hookey, and hence the title), his principal (Jeffrey Jones as Ed Rooney in a role that would haunt him forever), and the depressing crap that all teenagers go through. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it,” Ferris admonishes his audience (since, like Wayne’s World, the main character can address the camera).
The movie doesn’t miss a spot. It’s the day we all wish we had: skipping school, driving a Ferrari, outsmarting “The Man” at every turn, and even being in a parade. Part of the fun of Ferris Bueller is that it is so tongue-in-cheek. It’s like Moses parting the water of the Red Sea: as Ferris moves through the world, everything around him changes to help him out. Also don’t miss Comedy Central’s Ben Stein in perhaps his most famous role as the Most Boring History Teacher Ever.
But there are some poignant scenes that shouldn’t be missed in this lambasticly funny movie, particularly the one where Cameron decides to stand up to his dad because his dad loves his hobby more than his son. A must-see-if-I-have-to-make-you-watch-it-at-gunpoint, you owe yourself to take a Day Off.
Kyle’s Rating: [Space For Rent]
Kyle’s Review: There’s little to be said of this movie that hasn’t been said, repeated, and repeated again by some fool in a loud high school hallway. And even now, many many many years later, Ferris Bueller is still a seminal high school movie: if you haven’t seen it and you’re in a public school system somewhere, there are going to be a few conversations that you just aren’t going to comprehend. So before you get your friends shaking their heads sadly at you, watch this movie, okay?
It’s your escapist fantasy; it’s the friend you wish you had; it’s the guy you wish you were. Everybody goes to school, and if you can watch this movie and not relate to it, you must have had quite the odd academic experience. Or you just love school too darn much. Either way, you’ve got a lot to learn from this movie.
See it to laugh. See it to decode your friends’ conversations and in-jokes. See it, because it is an essential survival guide to surviving not just the pitfalls of high school, but surviving anything getting you down: society, an angry boss, or your own flabby stomach. And remember, when Ferris talks, he’s talking to you. That’s right, Ferris wants to help you. So why don’t you let him?
- The Bueller house seen in this movie was seen in the thriller “Red Dragon” (as the scene of the murder), and was also seen (as Preston’s house) in the comedy “Not Another Teen Movie”. It is located in Long Beach, CA.
- John Hughes originally wrote the script for Anthony Michael Hall to play Cameron. However after playing Farmer Ted the Geek in Sixteen Candles, Brian Johnson the nerd in The Breakfast Club and Gary Wallace, another geek in Weird Science, Anthony Michael Hall turned down the part of Cameron for fear of being typecast.
- During the filming of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and until sometime in 1987, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were dating. Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Ferris’ parents, married in real life after filming this movie.
- At the time of filming, Matthew Broderick was 23, Alan Ruckwas 29, Jennifer Grey was 25, Mia Sara was just 17, Charlie Sheen was 20 and Kristy Swanson was all but 16 years old.
- Charlie Sheen, playing a drug addict at the police station Jeannie is taken to, stayed awake for more than 48 hours before the scene was shot to produce the desired drugged-out effect.
- Justin B writes in, “I heard an interview with Ben Stein on the radio today, and he said he ad-libbed everything he said in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
- All of the “Save Ferris” mentions: the high school student collecting donations, the watertower, the ball game sign, the newspaper, the police officer, the notebook on the school bus
- At one point, Ferris is using his computer to draw a dirty picture
- The school bus arrives to pick up Andy Rooney AFTER the parents have arrived home (6:00pm)
- The first boring teacher is discussing the Great Depression; the second is teaching The Scarlet Letter
- The license plate of Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari is NRVOUS
- Amy S. wrote in: “At some point almost every character in the movie sings Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schön”. Jeannie does it in the Police Station. The father does it in his car. If you look, almost all of the major charectors at some point sing that song.”
- I’ve seen this film dozens of times, and yesterday I caught a nice little in-joke that had eluded me until now. As Ferris’ sister pulls up to her home in her car, the camera focuses on the license plate that spells “TBC”. TBC stands for The Breakfast Club, another John Hughes’ 80s flick. Tom Bueller’s license plate reads MMOM referring to Mr. Mom. Ed Rooney’s plates read 4FBDO.Bueller’s reads VCTN.
- Ferris wears a different outfit in each scene before he and Cameron go to pick up Sloane.
- There is a poster for Simple Minds’ song “Don’t You Forget About Me” on Ferris’ wall.
- Will C. writes in to note that some of the crowd in the dance scene does the zombie group dance that was in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video
- Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Definitely; FBDO set the standard for fun end credit sequences. There’s a long scene of Ed Rooney taking a humiliating bus ride home, then a quick scene at the end of the credits with parting words from Ferris himself.
Cameron: I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.
Cameron: What’d I do?
Ferris: You killed the car.
Cameron: He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What– I’LL GO.
Ferris: I asked for a car, I got a computer. How’s that for being born under a bad sign?
Ferris: Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.
Ferris: If you’re not over here in fifteen minutes, you can find a new best friend.
Cameron: You’ve been saying that since the fifth grade.
Economics Teacher: In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?
Ed Rooney: I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.
Cameron: [singing] When Cameron was in Egypt’s land…”let my Cameron go!”
Cameron: Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.
Ferris: Hi. Do you speak English?
Garage Attendant: Uh, what country do you think this is?
Ferris: Cameron’s house is like a museum. It’s very cold, and very beautiful, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.
Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.
Ed Rooney: Between grief and nothing… I’ll take grief.
Economics Teacher: Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Simone: Um, he’s sick. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.
Economics Teacher: Thank you, Simone.
Simone: No problem whatsoever.
Grace: Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.
Sloan: What are we going to do?
Ferris: The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”
Jeannie: There is an intruder – male, Caucasian, possibly armed, certainly weird – in my kitchen.
Boy in Police Station: Drugs?
Jeannie: Thank you, no. I’m straight.
Boy in Police Station: I meant, are you in here for drugs?
Jeannie: Why are you here?
Boy in Police Station: Drugs.
Ferris: The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh… you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.
Singing Nurse: I heard that you were feeling ill / Headache, fever, and a chill / I came to help restore your pluck / ‘Cause I’m the nurse who likes to —
Katie Bueller: I just picked up Jeannie at the police station! She got a speeding ticket, another speeding ticket, and I lost the Vermont deal because of her!
Tom Bueller: I think we should shoot her.
Ferris Bueller: A person should not believe in an “-ism,” he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.”
Ferris Bueller: A) You can never go too far. B) If I’m gonna get busted, it is not gonna be by a guy like that.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- The Breakfast Club
- Sixteen Candles
- Weird Science