It’s a fairly likely chance that everyone has once faked a day off ill from school in their life. In fact I know that I’ve done it more than once, when loaded down with work! But, it is not likely that the majority of people have ever stolen a Ferrari when doing so. Unless of course you are Ferris Bueller.
The cult classic of the 1980s, ‘Ferris Buller’s day off’ (1986) directed by the wonderful John Hughe’s, is for the most part a completely over top and silly film, but that is where it is golden. Ferris himself is played by ‘Matthew Broderick’ who fakes a day off to hang out with his best friend ‘Cameron’ played by ‘Alan Ruck’ and Ferris’s girlfriend ‘Salone’ played by ‘Mia Sara’. Upon discovering that Cameron’s dad has left the garage open to his 1963 Ferrari Modena Spyder, by which Cameron states that his dad “love’s that car more than life itself”, they embark on a day that involves thrashing the car around Chicago, much to Cameron’s disapproval.
The film is so beyond normal, the plot sounds crazy, because it is, but if you were to watch the film, then it suddenly is a completely normal thing to do. Because who hasn’t ever taken their fathers Ferrari for a spin? There is an underlying theme in the film by which Ferris aims to help Cameron gain more confidence with his life and his belittling father. The key quote of the film is “life move’s pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it” its influential, behind the crazy plot is this pretty sensitive and logical film that has strong morals in how we should embrace and enjoy life. The internet has strong views towards Ferris Bueller, ‘Robert Ebert’ gave it a decent four stars, while ‘Empire’ gave it an impressive five stars. There are areas that Robert Ebert picked up on, that I agree with, slight movie mistakes, contextual factors that historically don’t make sense, but for a classic and trusted website that is known for being critically harsh towards films a four is very good.
There is a classical use of shots throughout the film, for instance, a personal favourite scene is the museum scene where for two minutes the camera is entirely stationary. Mix with images of the gallery, and the ‘Dream Academy’s’ version of ‘please please let me get what I want’ you have a wonderfully calm scene in the midst of this electrified film. Within this scene is a stare off between Cameron and ‘George Seurat’s’ painting of ‘Island of La Grande Jatte’. The collection of shots that make up this sequence, gradually zoom in to both the subjects, to appear as if it looks like Cameron is finally appreciating what Ferris is showing him round the city. Another fantastic scene is the parade scene, the ‘Beatles’ song “twist and shout” acts as the catalyst for the film, after this, Cameron starts to actually enjoy himself. An amazing thing about this scene, is many of the thousands of extras in the scene didn’t even know they were being filmed, they just thought they were watching an actual parade. I love this scene because it has so much energy, the Director John Hughe’s, is well known for his classic ‘The breakfast club’. The ‘dancing’ scene in this film, can be linked to the parade scene in Ferris Bueller due to the near identical shots used and the energy that is a very sudden burst on the screen.
A good film will always have a good soundtrack, being made in 1986, it is almost a crime if Ferris Bueller didn’t have good music. Thankfully it features music that on their own are synthetic and electric, hailed from the new romantics of the early 1980s. The opening sequence after Ferris has faked the day off, features the song ‘Love Missile F1 11’ I personally don’t like this song, but it for some crazy reason works, this might be mainly due to the songs use of high vocals and special effects that create a futuristic element to it, allowing the film to feel timeless and effective on a modern day audience.
The opening sequence also features the notion to Ferris ‘breaking the fourth wall’ on how he addresses the audience and tells them about how they can skip school too. This cleaver piece of filmmaking had been done before, but not to the extent that a full conversation could be viewed with our on screen protagonist. It is named as “the most famous fourth wall breaker in movie history” by film website ‘Screen crush’. It certainly succeeds in pulling your attention into the film from the very start by this method, involving the audience is a key technique used by John Hughes in many of his films, such as ‘The breakfast club’ by which it is slightly different with the use of a voice over, still directly addressing the viewer. Throughout the film it is fair to say that the use of breaking the fourth wall is the main aspect of aided acting for Ferris, par the dramatic ending, (spoilers) when the Ferrari, while in reverse mode to try and reduce the miles, is kicked of the clamp by Cameron only to go to a cleverly placed shot from the cars point of view as it flies out of the glass window and crashes down the hill the house is built on. The ending really is a surprise, when Cameron kicks the car and dents it after ranting over his dad, we feel lured into a false sense of security thinking that is the only trouble the car is going to come into too, little do we know that it will be near enough destroyed.
There is no doubt that Ferris Bueller’s day off is a cult classic, a timeless film that seems to have aged gracefully over the last thirty years, more so than Hughes other films. Perhaps it’s the likeable cast, the witty humour, or the unbelievable believable plot. This film has to be in my top list of films, I find it very hard, if not impossible not to like Ferris Bueller’s day off.