This week’s Screen on the Green from SAB is the comedy classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Now, in full disclosure, I have never actually sat down and seen this film from beginning to end. After my viewing, I can easily see why this film has had the cultural impact that it had during its 1986 release date. I can also see why the film has stood the test of time and is considered a classic.
To begin, the premise of the film is quite straightforward. The main character, Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is playing hooky and trying to avoid getting caught from the authority figures around him. He states that he is bored with the mundane everyday life of high school and needs these days off as a break from the grind.
The shenanigans ensue when Ferris drags his best friend and girlfriend into his plan. Ferris’ best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) lives in a strict household and he is in constant fear of disappointing his parents. This stress causes Cameron to constantly become sick and miss school. He just so happens to be sick the same day that Bueller decides to take a day off.
Ferris’ girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara) is at school during the day, however, Ferris and Cameron team up to devise a plot that excuses her for the rest of the day.
With all three now ready to take on the town, they leave in Cameron’s father’s Ferrari, at Ferris’ behest. Cameron is terrified that something will happen to the car and he will, in turn, be in major trouble. On top of this, the school principal, Ed Rooney (Jeffery Jones) and Ferris’ sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) spend the day trying to catch Ferris in the act.
Rooney seems to make it his life’s goal to destroy Ferris and sees this as the perfect opportunity. Jeanie on the other hand is sick of Ferris getting unwarranted attention from her peers and parents and wants to expose him for the fraud she believes he is. From here, the three friends are seen travelling to different parts of downtown Chicago, while trying to avoid the people who are chasing them down.
With such a straightforward plot and lack of any real ‘action’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off really has a lot of potential for failure. The brilliant writing, cinematography and acting however make this an instant classic.
First, it is important to note that Ferris is constantly breaking the fourth wall. He is talking directly to the camera/audience to let them know his true thoughts or feelings. This was extremely inventive for the time of release. Many other films have since taken to this method, all of which have drawn inspiration from this source.
Also, the film’s cinematography is fantastic. This was my biggest takeaway from the movie. While the jokes and plot did still hold up, I was shocked by how impressive the cinematography was.
Do yourself a favor and look up the museum scene from this film. Keep in mind that this is meant to be a comedy, and that this much attention to detail rarely goes into the filmmaking. This movie is riddled with fascinating shots and really satisfying visuals.
On top of all of this, the acting and jokes are still quite good. It is very funny watching Rooney trying everything in his power to take down Bueller.
Overall, I see clearly why this is a classic film. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gets 4.5 stars out of 5.