Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MOVIES: #15 Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the 1986 John Hughes masterpiece, spoke to me. I never quite had the day, that good old Ferris had. And I never had a Mia Sara to squire around. I didn't have any sisters to drive to distraction, nor a principal as weaselly as the one played by Jeffrey Jones. But I DID have a friend like the one played by Alan Ruck and I DID enjoy the occasional obligatory day off during high school and got creative doing it.

And that's why I love the movie. It read like how I 'wanted' my high school biography to read.

Matthew Broderick made a fine Ferris Bueller, certainly better than Charlie Schlatter did in the TV remake. He deadpans his way through a well-constructed day off school that starts when he plays sick to two parents, too easily snowed. His sister, played by future media circus Jennifer Anniston, is on to Ferris' shenanigans and drives herself crazy trying to catch him in the act of ditching. The race between Ferris, his sister and the parents back to the house at day's end adds the only bit of tension the movie has. Or needs.

Otherwise, it's really like a two-hour chill-out pill. Ferris convinces Ruck's Cameron to allow him to borrow Cameron's father's precious convertible and the duo arrives at school to spring Sara's Sloane. This was Sara before the blonde makeover in the late unlamented Birds of Prey TV series, a knockout who should have had a better career.

The threesome then turn Chicago into their own party town. There's a ballgame at Wrigley and a parade t0 enjoy. Along the way, the car does, more or less, get destroyed. The dramatic interaction between Ferris and Cameron slows the movie for a spell, but things pick right back up with the race back home.

There's few out-and-outright comedies on my list, although most all of the movies at least have a chuckle or two. It's odd that this list eventually mirrors the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in that there is so little respect for comedies in general. Consider this one tug on the funny bone in protest of their, and my own, prejudices.

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