A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

September 13, 2011

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

I really have fun watching this movie, but I have to admit that I’m conflicted about it. When it first came out in theaters I refused to go see it because I didn’t want to watch a movie that lionised s notorious rule-breaker. My sister saw it and loved it, but the marketing campaign, which concentrated on how Ferris was so well liked by all the various groups in his high-school (“They think he’s a righteous dude” says Grace) and how he could get away with things that other kids could not really turned me off.

It’s important to recall that I have a deep-seated disdain for rule breakers and cheaters. I don’t even like to use cheat codes in video games. So this movie about a high school student who flaunts the rules at every opportunity just didn’t appeal to me.

Eventually, of course, I saw the movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s by far my favorite movie that John Hughes ever directed (although my favorite movie he was involved in is still Some Kind of Wonderful.) I fully understand the appeal of a movie that is about a guy pulling a fast one on the somewhat dim adults who try to tell him what he can or should do. I certainly don’t go so far as to root for the nasty vice-principal Ed Rooney. I do, however very much sympathise with Ferris’ sister Jeanie and his friend Cameron.

The plot here is simple, really. Ferris Beuller is a high school student without fear who decides one gorgeous spring day not to go to school. He feigns illness, badgers his best friend Cameron (who is also out sick, but actually does feel unwell) into coming and getting him, springs his girlfriend out of school with a fake death in the family, and goes out for an exiting day on the town in Chicago. Meanwhile his nemesis, the self-important and petty Ed Rooney, does everything in his power to find and trap Ferris.

The charm in this movie lies in the slick presentation. So charming and witty is Ferris that I can almost root for him and his rule-breaking ways. The fourth wall is not so much broken as almost completely ignored for large portions of the movie as Ferris addresses the audience directly through much of the start of the movie. There’s a magical feel to many of the events in the movie. We see Ferris outwit not just Rooney, but the snooty maitre’d at an upscale restaurant. His sickness becomes the stuff of legend within the single day he’s out of school. He catches a foul ball at a baseball game, visits a museum and rides on a parade float. So iconic and well written is Ferris that poor Matthew Broderick has been largely unable to escape from the role in all the years since this movie came out.

Like I said, this is a fun film to watch. You can’t help wanting to see just how Ferris is going to pull off his latest scam. The soundtrack is full of great songs. Ferris’ outrageous adventures are wonderfully entertaining. Even so, I still find that there are parts of this movie I have trouble watching. Most especially I feel awful for Cameron. The movie tries hard to say that it’s ultimately a good thing that Cameron learn to break out of his shell and stand up to his dad, but I can’t help feeling that Ferris spends practically the whole film ruining Cameron’s life. Maybe if we got to see Cameron’s father and build some sort of enmity towards him i could feel better about the end of the film, but mostly it just makes me sad for the poor lug.

I guess what I’m saying is that I enjoy this movie, but I feel bad for it. It’s an entertaining, funny romp of a film about a charming guy having adventures on a day when he should be trapped in school getting an economics lecture from Ben Stein. I just wish I didn’t find Ferris Beuller himself so reprehensible, and I wish that Cameron got a happier ending.

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September 13, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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