Today marks the 25th anniversary of one of the defining movies of my childhood. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released 25 years ago today and to say that the film made an impression would be a gross understatement. Being a teenager in the 80′s, my generation (at least my friends and I) looked to the films of John Hughes for understanding. He had his finger firmly on the pulse of us kids and knew all the quirks we all went through.
I can’t say I remember the first time I watched Ferris Bueller, and I also can’t say how many times I’ve watched it since that first viewing. To this day, as I’m pushing a number that shall not be revealed, I’ll flip it over to whatever channel it’s on if only for a few minutes. It’s one of those films that always seems to be a constant rotation on various channels. That’s ok by me. Roomie and I actually exposed Roomie’s Kid to this film recently and the three of us watched the whole thing. Of course we had to explain to the kid the importance this film had on us when we were her age.
Ferris did all the things that we wished we could do by basically giving the Man (Mr. Rooney) the finger and wreaking havoc with his friends. It struck me one day while I was watching it, that as awesome as Ferris is, he is kind of a tool. Forcing his sick friend to leave his bed and go out to frolick all day and making him feel bad about saying no. That’s kind of crappy. But in the end, Cameron grew as a person, and grew a set to boot. So his toolishness worked in his favor.
Now I’m pretty confident in saying that my friends from high school probably ditched school at one time or another. Who didn’t? But did they also get their girlfriend/boyfriend out of class, thwart the efforts of the Dean of Students to catch him in the act, and pull a fast one on their parents? I doubt it. That’s a pretty big undertaking which is why Ferris was so appealing. We all wanted to be able to do that. My luck, I would have totally gotten caught. Not to mention I was lucky enough to have a cool mom who always knew when I skipped class.
Especially classes taught by teachers that bore an uncanny resemblance (at least in their monotone voice) to Ferri’s Economics teacher. This film marked the first time I ever saw Ben Stein and I had no clue who he was. He was the “Bueller…..Bueller…..Bueller” guy, who then became the “Dry eyes? Clear Eyes is awesome” guy. Of course I know he’s heavy in politics now, but at 14, I didn’t pay much attention. It turns out that the lecture he gives in the film (aside from taking roll) is an unscripted real economics lecture.
This film yielded an infinite supply of quotables too. If you’ve followed this site at all, you’ll know that I have an affinity for films that have great quotables. I’ll go…I’ll go….I’ll go….gets used quite a bit in my house. At my previous job I had a client name George Peterson. Every time I called him or had to say his name, I said it in that Cameron voice. Some people got it, but most didn’t and that left me feeling sad.
It’s been said that Ferris is actually a figment of Cameron’s imagination and that the film is actually about Cameron. There’s loads of articles about but I don’t buy it. I’d rather believe that it is indeed all about Ferris and that he was able to do all of those things that we all wish we could do in one form or another.
It’s natural to view any film you loved as a kid differently as an adult. I watch this film because A) it’s a classic in my book and should be required viewing and B) it takes me back to my youth and reminds me how great it was to be so carefree. The greatest nugget of wisdom can be found in this film as well. To quote Ferris himself: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Well said sir. Well said indeed. Happy Birthday Ferris. Thanks for the 25 years and here’s to many more.Tags: Alan Ruck, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jennifer Grey, John Hughes, Matthew Brodrick, Mia Sara