Saturday, 6 February 2010

Ferris Buellers Day Off

On August the 6th last year (2009) a man that I didn't know died. It shook me. Not because he was 59, not because it was sudden and not because I had any connection to him at all.

I never met John Hughes, I wouldn’t say I was a rabid fan of his work. I never followed his career avidly and was surprised that Home Alone was his work. So why did I feel so bad about a virtual strangers death in a foreign country? People die all the time.

I think the answer is quite simple and consists of simply 1 word. “Bueller”. Yes John had made other works that I had loved and admired. He had inspired belly laughs and retrospection in equal measure, but at the heart of it I hadn’t even seen “The Breakfast Club” I still fail to appreciate or be moved by “Pretty in Pink” and “Weird Science” was just a delightfully silly tale.

Ferris, however, was the first teen movie to actually make me think. Its a fantasy, Ferris has the most charisma and luck ever seen in a character (outside The Fonz of course) and it should make him unlikeable. He manipulates his best friend, the neurotic and woeful Cameron into a dreadful situation, taking risks with his life that he does not want. But Cameron needs it.

In a way Ferris is almost a guardian angel to Cameron releasing the amazing man that is inside his tight, parent destroyed neurotic shell. He prompts Camerons (offscreen) confrontation with his father but you know he will survive it. He will become stronger and his life will begin to work. This is what Cam needs. After all Ferris, like all Guardian Angels, cant be there all the time. In this way Day Off is a film about coming of age and a magnificent one at that.

What truly makes it for me is the sheer panache and style of the movie. Brodericks portrayal of Ferris is brilliant and his breaking of the 4th wall to talk directly to the viewer is so successful that I really could not imagine the film without it. Alan Ruck  is the perfect foil to Broderick and his portrayal of Cam is truly inspired. The film seems like a journey for him even more than a fun day for Ferris. Mia Saras Sloane is gorgeous and the fuel for many teen fantasies but her character, while lacking in development is a perfect balance to Ferris and, unlike many girlfriend roles, is as much Camerons friend as Ferris is. vlcsnap-00051

The film is also a journey for Ferris sister, played by Dirty Dancings Jennifer Grey, who really cannot see why her brother is so highly considered and the icing on the cake is her and Principal Roonys brilliantly intertwined stories as they try to bring about Ferris’s downfall.

Reading back on what I have written you could wonder why Ferris Bueller DOESN’T deserve his comeuppance. He is skipping school, forcing his friend to do things he does not want to do. He effectively steals a Ferrari and runs rings around his loving parents! I would answer that the reason is simple. He doesn't do it for himself. Ferris is highly regarded because he helps people. I can forgive him all his flaws because he is a brilliant bloke. Don’t we all wish for a friend like him, someone that will reveal the potential in us all? Really the film is about Cameron, “Ferris Buellers Day Off” is just the transport mechanism for “Cameron Fry Grows Some Nuts”vlcsnap-00054

I would divide the world into 2 sections. Those that have seen Ferris Buellers Day Off and those that should. If you fall into the latter half I pity you.

Paul Out…SAVE FERRIS

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