Movie #270 2020: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Remember when I said I’d not seen any John Hughes movies? Well, now I’ve seen two! But what makes Ferris Bueller’s Day Off just about the most iconic teen/coming-of-age story of all time? Let’s see…

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is that high school slacker we all once knew. He’d do anything to get out of class, and this movie is all about one day in particular that he decided to feign illness. He skips school, persuading his girlfriend and best friend to bunk off with him too, which leads them to partake in a variety of different activities, including ‘borrowing’ a classic car and ending up in a parade. All this occurs whilst the trio attempt to outwit their school principal and Bueller’s irate sister along the way.

Sounds simple… and that’s because it is. The simplicity of this premise is exactly what you’d expect from John Hughes, it’s just what he does with that premise that makes it truly endearing.

One thing I knew immediately as this movie started? That I was going to enjoy it more than The Breakfast Club. Gripping from the off, it may have sucked me in so quickly due to that iconic break of the fourth wall. You know the one. In fact, this was probably one of the first movies to make that choice, inspiring so many movies (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, Fight Club) to do so since. Inspiring a new trend in film? That’s a big tick for the ‘iconic-meter’.

Quirky and original, what was most unexpected on a first ever viewing of this movie was how great the cinematography is. Of course, once you realise the Director of Photography was Tak Fujimoto it all starts to make sense. His talent is admirable even in fun teen movies, proving his expertise isn’t limited only to gritty drama. 

File this under: movies that contain moments of pure joy. The Twist and Shout sequence on the parade float? Epic. And the scene with Cameron staring at the painting? Priceless. (Side note: I’d actually seen the clip in the art gallery before, and it was hilarious even before I had any context. It’s even better now.)

John Hughes pulled an absolute fast one on us all here. I mean, making Matthew Broderick seem so cool is no easy feat, and you know what? He makes it work. The cast as an ensemble are brilliant as a whole, actually, but if there’s one role that Broderick will be remembered for forever it is this one.

For a movie that is about very little in the way of a narrative, this is completely fun and exciting all the way through. The ridiculous sound effects and the eighties music only add to it, and their perfect placement works as not to drown out any of the action. My only issue with it is that it gets a little slow in the middle, but for the majority of 95 minutes I was utterly invested.

Maybe once I’ve watched more Hughes films I’ll make one of these

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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