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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Mature Ferris Bueller at 25

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, arguably John Hughes's best film (though not, I think, his most ambitious or admirable--that would be Pretty in Pink) was released 25 years ago today. I saw it in the theater, and loved it. Who didn't? Everyone did--even George F. Will (good intellectual teen-age Republican I was at the time, reading Will was obligatory). My mother saw it in the theater too, and also loved it--I remember her talking about how it was sweet, and wise. "Ferris is funny, not silly," she said, or something close to that; "he knows he's going to grow up, but for the moment he's still young, and he does what young people do." Being a preternaturally old person, the whole "young person" thing didn't necessarily do it for me--and that would suggest I shouldn't have loved, and still love, the film, because it really is a pure youth fantasy (a white suburban youth fantasy, that is). But Mom was right: there is, in the midst of the fantastic, effortless, clean naughtiness of the movie, some real weight. Ferris and Cameron and Sloane know there are more important things, more difficult and pressing things, in life besides taking a day off; and in fact, that they need those heavier things. There were several scenes in the film which strive to capture that balance, none greater than this:

Lately, there's been some fretting about getting mature and responsible and, well, grown-up in the Fox household lately. It ain't easy, and the path towards it ain't always clear, especially when you look at things too closely. But in the big picture, well, life is still crazy fun.


John Mansfield said...

I see something in the movie being about Ferris Bueller's day off, the one day that wasn't like all the rest. Ditching school for one day was some big, liberating deal.

Also, I was thinking yesterday of the ending with Ferris, the sister Jeanie, and the high school principal. Kind of like Marlowe covering for Kurtz with Kurtz's betrothed, or am I stretching too far with that one?

Anonymous said...

I was the one who hated it. I never could get past that the only adult minorities in the movie were break dancers and car thieves. I came out of the theater enraged and got into a screaming match with a high school buddy (we both might have been in college at that point) regarding the way race worked in the movie. Still have issues with it to this day.
-Western Dave