[Note: The following review is of a non-Guide for the Film Fanatic title; click here to read more.]
“Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
A popular teen named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) enlists the help of his best friend (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend (Mia Sara) in skipping a day of school while pretending to be sick at home in bed; meanwhile, his jealous sister (Jennifer Grey) and frustrated high school dean (Jeffrey Jones) try their best to prove that Ferris is faking his illness.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- High School
- John Hughes Films
A surprising omission from Peary’s book, this enormously popular teen “fantasy” by writer/director John Hughes has become a certifiable cult favorite over the years, with several dedicated fan websites and a spot in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. A host of different actors (including John Cusack, Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, and Michael J. Fox) were apparently considered for the title role, but these days it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone other than Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, every teen’s dream alter ego — a kid so clever that he manages not only to fool an entire school (well, almost an entire school) into believing his elaborate lies, but to gain their undying love and support as well (and he has a hot girlfriend!). Ferris knows what’s really important in a teenager’s life (love and freedom), and refuses to allow the petty constraints of mandatory schooling (“I mean, really — what’s the point?”) to get in his way. In addition to taking viewers on a tour of Chicago’s finest landmarks, the humor-filled script allows for pathos as well, in the character of Ferris’s best friend, Cameron, who undergoes a substantial character arc by the end of the film. While certainly not to everyone’s taste, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off should be seen at least once by all film fanatics — it’s too culturally iconic to miss.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Matthew Broderick as Ferris
- Jeffrey Jones as Ed Rooney, Ferris’s vengeful dean
- Edie McClurg as Rooney’s secretary, Grace
- Countless humorous scenarios — such as when Ferris’s girlfriend (Mia Sara) shamelessly flirts with his dad in a nearby taxi
- Good use of Chicago locales
- An effectively satirical look at why high school is often boring enough to make any student want a “day off”
- The hilarious closing-credits sequence on the schoolbus (“Gummy bear?”)
Yes, for its status as a cult favorite.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)