Using one of the musical leitmotifs of the film, I can only respond with the iconic "Oh, yeah".
Indeed it's pretty hard to disagree with that statement. I just passed the 35 line and it seems like yesterday when I hit the '30'. There's a sort of acceleration of time when you get older that makes ten years feel like two in your 'childhood' referential.
Ten is the age I was when I saw the film for the first time and I enjoyed it for what it was: a fun teen comedy starring Matthew Broderick, a name I instantly identified because I had seen in "The Freshman" a few weeks only before, but just like I didn't get the Brando references, in "Ferris Bueller", I laughed at the slapstick gags with Dean Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), I enjoyed the dance sequence, I had a child crush on the beautiful Mia Sara, I felt sorry for Cameron (Alan Ruck) but the whole existential undertone of the movie passed over my head. I wish I could be mature enough to grasp the message and use it for my teen years.
It's only today that I realize I'm getting older and bitter because I should have enjoyed my youth as much as I enjoyed the film. I kept nodding at some statements and looked for opportunities to be emotionally touched. I loved that Sears Tower moment and how things seem pretty tiny and insignificant when you take some perspective, which is a metaphor of life that speaks for itself. But it's the Art Institute interlude that got me, I don't know if it's the static poses or the music or the way Cameron kept looking at the infinite details of the painting, until getting to grainy dots. Sometimes, you can also look too much at things and miss the essential.
It's for moving strokes like that that the 80's are remembered and revered, even in a movie intended to be fun, you could have these moments of sheer contemplation, moments that consecrate John Hughes as the youth's voice of wisdom. If directors treated youth with one tenth the respect Hughes had, movies' quality would be multiplied by ten. Parents, teachers, deans are represented as dream-killing figures, always trying to prevent you from having a good time and being yourself, it seems superficial at first sight, but that 'superficiality' is integral to the youth' spirit, it's for this capacity to confront and challenge the adult world that ironically, kids like Ferris won't have any problems becoming adults. And the more submissive you're to parents or teachers' rules (like Cameron and indirectly Ferris' sister) the less likely you are to become yourself. And that's the truth.
So "Ferris Buller's Day Off" is less a road trip in Chicago, although Hughes wanted to capture the spirit of the city, than a tour over the lives of three teenagers who don't have real plans for the future but only know they're having their last year in school and better be prepared to adulthood. Ferris shouldn't miss school, one more truancy day and he's expelled, his girlfriend doesn't endure the same risk but her presence requires the help Cameron, a sickly awkward teen estranged with his father, and more than that, it requires his father's 1961 red Ferrari, perhaps the one thing he values more than his son. The trip won't do without the car and there's a way the film uses it to materializes the personality of Cameron and his Freudian arc in the film, making him the most sympathetic character before Jeannie (Jennifer Grey).
Jeannie is devoured by jealousy, by the fact Ferris is so popular and can get away with everything he does, she epitomizes the individual crisis of teens who can't just enjoy what they are and value their self-worth, like Cameron, but instead of depressed passivity, but chose to deliberately live under the shadows of better, she tries to ruin Ferris' plan. Just like Cameron, the day will be an opportunity to discover the real truth and try to be a better person not without the help of a wise punk played by a young Charlie Sheen. Jeannie learns to a better person, focused on herself just like Cameron learns to deal with his father and value his own feelings.
It is fascinating that the main character doesn't undergo any change, any coming of age, he's the one who possesses the real truth and breaks the fourth wall to better deliver his message. The day off isn't much a day off school but a day off the usual routine allowing you to have a look at your life and try to change things for the better. A day at the restaurant, museum, ball game, German parade or a simple talk can do the difference. The film is wrapped up in the package of typical 80's comedies but there's nothing typical in the way, it unveils many beautiful truths about life, like other John Hughes' movies, not all of them centered on adults.
And a thought had just occurred to me a few days ago and it seems to been in line with Ferris' philosophy, we're either nostalgic of sorrowful toward the past, and too worried and anxious about the future, we have valid reason rot hat but it comes to the point where the only time to be enjoyed is the present, when we go to a party, travel, have sex, everything is about the present actually, that's what happens while we're making plans, and "Ferris Buller's Day Off" there are many impending threats: parents, Dean Rooney, Cameron's Dad but they never stop anyone to seize that day off.
And teenage years are the microcosm of the day in your life that indeed moves pretty fast... and everyone I the film ends up having the time of life, Ferris, Sloane, Cameron, Jeannie, the two parking attendants... except for Dean Rooney.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Action / Comedy / Romance
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Action / Comedy / Romance
High school student Ferris Bueller wants a day off from school and he's developed an incredibly sophisticated plan to pull it off. He talks his friend Cameron into taking his father's prized Ferrari and with his girlfriend Sloane head into Chicago for the day. While they are taking in what the city has to offer school principal Ed Rooney is convinced that Ferris is, not for the first time, playing hooky for the day and is hell bent to catch him out. Ferris has anticipated that, much to Rooney's chagrin.
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September 17, 2011 at 03:40 PM