innocent_man: (punkrock)
[personal profile] innocent_man
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is an iconic 80s movie starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and Jeffrey Jones. It's a John Hughes flick, and like a lot of his work, it's about pretty, rich white people having problems. The problems in this movie, granted, are pretty darned minor compared with the abuse and depression of Breakfast Club.

The title character, Ferris Bueller (Broderick) is a charming but kind of smarmy high school senior who's decided to ditch school today. He talks his neurotic best from Cameron (Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane (Sara) into joining him, and they bop around Chicago while their principal Ed Rooney (Jones) stalks Ferris (completely unsuccessfully; he has no idea where to look). Meanwhile, Ferris' sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) tries to cope with her jealousy and hatred for her brother.

Now, that by itself isn't much to speak of, but the movie has its moments. Ferris talks to the camera quite a bit, involving us in his lovable-scamp antics. They steal Cameron's father's prized Ferrari, which winds up getting wrecked when Cameron finally loses it. And, of course, there's the ongoing side plot that the whole community rallies around Ferris, whom everyone things is dying.

Like I said, the movie is an 80s classic...but here's the thing. I hate Ferris a lot more now that I have kids. Ferris not mistreated. His parents are not strict; indeed, they dote on him. They spoil him rotten. But they're so damned kind - they don't smother him, they aren't even especially overprotective (note that his mother goes home and checks up on him when the principal informs her of Ferris' chronic truancy), and it's hard not to be annoyed, as a parent, that Ferris is taking advantage of them so blithely.

Likewise, Sloane is kind of a useless character. She's there so Ferris can have a girlfriend, but we know nothing about her. When Cameron says that he's not interested in anything and so will have a hard time picking a major, we kind of feel for him because we know enough about his home life that his comment is in some kind of context. When Sloane agrees, it's kind of fluff because she hasn't really given us any sense of who she is other than "Ferris' boyfriend" (this movie does pass the Bechdel, however, because of scenes between Jeannie and Ferris' mother).

Cameron is really the only character with a story arc. No one else changes (you could make the argument that Rooney does, since at the end of the movie he looks directly at the camera, something that until now only Ferris does). Cameron, however, finally breaks at all of the abuse that his father (and, let's be honest, Ferris) throw at him, and when his father gets home, he's going to have "a little chat." Of course, wrecking the car is more likely to mean things get worse, but this being a Hughes movie we don't really worry about aftermath.

All in all, the movie is funny, but Ferris annoys me a little. I bet he grew up to be a hedge fund manager.

My grade: B+
Rewatch value: High

Next up: The Adventures of Tintin

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January 2013

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