Rewind Review: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Brian Sandler, Staff Writer

Danke schoen for reading this review. Sometimes, not getting viewership makes me want to twist and shout. Of course, I’m not the only person with a propensity for thanking others in the German language.

Legend has it that in the mythical city of Chicago in the summer of 1986, a young man who shared his name with an amusement park attraction stormed the streets of this magical town, serenading crowds of onlookers while crooning Wayne Newton and John Lennon. Since you readers were probably not cruising through Chicago during 1986, I imagine none of you can remember the name of this legendary youth.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

While I much would have preferred a name like “Rollercoaster” Bueller, alas, the late John Hughes, purveyor of teenage angst and outdated 80s fashion trends, had different intentions in mind, more marketable intentions. Thus, the eponymous hero of our story, Ferris Bueller, was born. And all hilariously grandiose opening statements aside, the movie features a young man named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), who peruses through his hometown of Chicago, while fooling authority figures with pre-internet computers, costumes from Party City and vocal impressions that 2nd-grade ventriloquists use poorly.

But as young Ferris takes the city by surprise with his neurotic best bud Cameron (Alan Ruck) and supportive girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), trouble from, surprise, a cantankerous school authority figure and his older sister follows him everywhere possible. He ventures to and from Sears Tower, a Cubs game, to aforementioned hijacked parades. Can Ferris continue to con the curmudgeonly fools who won’t let a kid simply have a little fun, or is he going to be headed up the Chicago River without a paddle? If you have a penchant for listening to memetic Yello songs and watching prized sports cars be ruthlessly stolen and destroyed to the tune of the Star Wars opening crawl, then you’ll be sure to find the answer.

By 1986, director John Hughes was Hollywood’s go-to-man for any story involving teenagers who just couldn’t catch a break due to those mean-ol’ adults. Stories, such as “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”, feature little more than teens introspecting about their unfortunate place in life. Their precarious positions between frivolous, innocent childhood and oppressive, soulless adulthood. While not devoid of comedy, these stories often would touch upon more serious ideas in an attempt to connect to the teen audience.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on the other hand, smashes any traces of melodrama to smithereens. The film prefers to indulge in pure escapist fun. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” along with Hughes’ subsequent “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” while not devoid of deeper themes, placed entertainment on top of everything else and the results are simply fantastic.

For those who are downtrodden by the demands of life, Ferris’ inability to get caught doing anything wrong will delight even the most hardened of audiences. After all, who wouldn’t want to headline a parade while impersonating one of the world’s most beloved rock stars? If you haven’t seen the movie, definitely check it out. Life is short, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.