Today we celebrate 30 years of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So says high schooler Ferris on June 11th thirty years ago, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary release of the now iconic comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick. Ferris pretends to be sick and takes his best friend Fry and his girlfriend Sloan on a final high school adventure into Chicago, while his principal believes that he is playing hooky and is determined to catch him.
This is pretty much the perfect film and easily one of the best comedies ever. It is both smart and funny and yet it has its serious moments as they deal with various themes of separation, love, and family dysfunction. Everything that went into it was great, the cast, acting, directing, script, location settings, editing, costumes, score, the classic 1961 Ferrari, and tons of quotable dialogue and memorable scenes.
Could anyone else have better played the character of Ferris better than Matthew Broderick? He plays him superbly. He is sweet and funny and everybody loves him, he is basically everything that you would want to be. His comedic timing and facial gestures throughout the movie are impeccable, and his constant breaking of the forth wall to speak to the audience adds into to making the character and picture so memorable. The rest of the casting is wonderful as well; it includes Alan Ruck as Fry who delivers both good comedy and the best dramatic moments of this, Mia Sara as Ferris’s girlfriend Sloan, Jeffrey Jones as Principal Rooney who plays the hilarious villain and gives us a lot of physical humor, Jennifer Grey as Ferris’s bitchy sister, and Edie McClurg has some funny moments as the principal’s secretary.
This was written and directed by John Hughes, the man behind some other well known 1980’s youth comedies such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. In his writing, he ended up providing us with tons of quotable dialogue and so many scenes that ended up being unforgettable. His direction is interesting as well, as he really focused on having close-ups on the actors in order to show all of their facial expressions. And there are so many, as every one of them ends up giving some excellent expressions. This includes the extras that they used as bored high school students in the various classes. The editing was nicely done by Paul Hirsch, who also edited the first two Star Wars movies.
This picture isn’t just about their adventure it’s also about the city of Chicago, as they hit all of the major locations. They go to the Sears Tower, Wrigley Field, the stock exchange, the Art Institute of Chicago, a fancy restaurant, and a German parade. The art scene resonates with me as they showcase all of this great work that is on display there, while also further developing the story and the characters all through a montage set to music. The score was mostly done by Ira Newborn who had previously worked with Hughes on Sixteen Candles and Weird Science; it also includes the songs “Oh Yeah” by Yello, “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton, and “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles. And who cannot forget the absolutely stunning 1961 red Ferrari, which ends up being a star of its own in this.
There’s so much more that can be said about this one production and fact wise, but I am going to end this with a personal tale about how much this resonated with me during my youth. I took a high school trip to Chicago in my senior year with the art club and we ended up recreated some of the moments from this motion picture. We stood on the rails in the Sears Tower and put our heads against the glass to look down, even though there were signs everywhere saying not too. We also did pretty much everything that they did when they were at the art museum, holding hands passing certain pieces of art and having three of us standing diagonally in front of the artwork. I specifically knew as an artist that I had to go to this museum after watching this movie.
This is truly a modern classic and one of the greatest comedies ever and deserves a perfect score.