The first being, of course, Ghostbusters. But I can’t talk about that until the new one comes out. So you’re getting this instead.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a delightfully strange movie. It’s absolutely a film of its time, one that would probably fail if it were made today. Much like many classic films, like Groundhog Day and the first Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the culmination of all the right people doing the right things at the right times. Like lightning in a bottle.
And it’s one of my favorite movies of all time!
Plot: Skipping School Ultimate Try-Hard Edition
This movie is completely insane! It is somehow completely divorced from reality while still being firmly grounded within it! It strikes a perfect balance that no other movie I’ve ever seen has been able to!
After managing to trick his parents into thinking he’s sick, Ferris Bueller takes the day off of high school. He guilts his overly paranoid friend Cameron into letting him take his dad’s car, a 1969 Ferrari, and picks up his girlfriend from school. His goal? Have the best day off of school ever! But his day off may be in jeopardy! His authoritarian principle is out to prove his guilt and his sister quickly catches on to his schemes! Can Ferris fulfill his perfect day off?
That premise sounds corny as hell, right? Well, that’s because it is. Friendly reminder, this movie is from the 80s! Premises like this one were commonplace in those days. But that’s part of its charm!
The story itself is not all that thrilling. The characters are all likable and funny, but they lack depth. Cameron’s sole personality trait is uptight and his arc is about loosening up. Ferris has even less depth, being a fourth-wall-breaking, unstoppable super-charmer that doesn’t grow or change at all. His girlfriend’s character is so lifeless and forgettable that I have never known her name, even after seven rewatches! Everyone in this movie is basically a cartoon character. It’s hardly the most interesting cast.
Honestly, I don’t mind this as much as I should. Each character plays off of one another super well, making each interaction a joy to behold! Every line of dialogue perfectly encapsulates that character’s personality on top of being hilarious! They may not be deep characters, but they’re god damn lovable!
It also helps that the story’s pacing is perfect! No event overstays its welcome and they all have the time they need to be properly hilarious! The comedic timing of every joke, be it visual or spoken, is excellent! The buildup of Ferris’s antics coincides perfectly with the story, reaching an incredibly intense and hilarious peak that is super satisfying!
By the way, the title of this article wasn’t a joke. This movie is ridiculously quotable! If you tell me that you’ve never heard any of these lines, then I declare you a liar!
- “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” (That’s the easy one)
- “Pardon my French! But you’re an asshole!”
- “I’m dying.” “You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything better to do!”
- “Speak any English?” “What country do you think this is?”
- “Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.”
- “I do have a test today, that wasn’t bullshit. It’s on European socialism. I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.”
I had a teacher in middle-school that took that first quote and fucking ran with it every time someone wasn’t there for roll call. To this day, I’m not sure whether to be annoyed or respect him.
Presentation: That One Running Shot
Alright, let’s get this out of the way. That one running shot near the end of the film? With Ferris running from backyard to backyard? That shot is absolutely amazing and it’s easily one of my favorite shots in cinematic history! There’s a reason it’s been referenced in so many other films again and again! It is amazing!
The rest of the cinematography is just as great! There are so many incredible shots in this movie! Cameron’s back and forth stare-down with the painting! The worm’s-eye view shot of the trio leaning over and looking down on the city! Hell, even the shot I used for the thumbnail is fun! This film has so many great images that have stuck with me ever since I saw it for the first time!
In terms of quality, this one is about the same as Indiana Jones. It has that classic 80s video and sound quality. It’s got that rustic charm that I love so much about older movies! It makes me feel things, man!
Music-wise, there are few complaints here. The original soundtrack is effective, albeit forgettable. But when the movie decides to bust out a real song, like Twist and Shout? Oh man, does it make me a happy boy!
This movie is a visual delight! Each shot is great! The music is great, even if it won’t stick with you for long! It may not be some visual arthouse like other movies. But the shots are exactly what they need to be: interesting, engaging, creative, and hilarious!
Performances: Adults Being High School Students
Ah! Just like the original Spider-Man trilogy! Although to be fair, the ‘teenagers’ in Ferris Bueller do look a bit more convincing. But not by much.
I’ll get this one right out of the way: I’m not a fan of Matthew Broderick. I’ve never thought he was all that great of an actor. His performances have always felt stiff and unnatural. Even at his best, he feels distinctly monotone. Almost like he never wants to be there.
Although I might be a bit biased. Considering his role in a certain film that spits on my favorite film franchise. But to be fair: that’s not his fault.
Unfortunately, all my complaints of Broderick apply to this movie as well. To be fair, I do think that this is the closest he’s ever come to a truly good performance! There are a few scenes where he’s genuinely convincing and his monotone delivery actually helps make certain lines funnier! But most of his lines do feel distinctly… lifeless.
Thankfully, the rest of the cast helps a lot! Alan Ruck is fantastic, easily being the best actor in the movie! He perfectly captures Cameron’s highly paranoid and withdrawn nature, which makes his character arc even more satisfying! He makes Cameron feel like a real person!
Jeffery Jones as Ed Rooney was also really good, but for totally different reasons! Whereas Alan Ruck made Cameron feel real, Jeffery Jones makes his character feel like a cartoon character come to life! He’s delightfully campy while still being convincing and hilarious! He’s a real treat!
The rest of the cast does an amazing job as well. Everyone is clearly giving it their all! The only one that feels like they’re dragging behind is, again, Matthew Broderick!
Which is a bit of a problem. Considering that he’s the star of the show.
I’ll fully admit that this isn’t a perfect movie. Far from it! I’ll fully admit that there are numerous movies from this era that are of higher quality. But if I claimed that I didn’t have a ton of fun watching this movie every time I’ve done so? I’d be a damn liar!
I’d recommend watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! It’s an incredibly fun and quotable comedy! Sure, it’s shown its age in more ways than one! But it’s a classic that still holds up to this day!
Which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about most classics. Cough cough Goonies.
I just made some enemies, didn’t I?