How to Skip School – A Review of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

by Cesidia on September 7, 2011

thumbnailEveryone has dreamed of skipping school and having fun. No wonder Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was such a hit. If you have yet to see this movie, you are seriously deprived, and seriously missing out. This movie is an anthem for all high schoolers, skipping with your best friend and significant other, hitting the city with your dad’s collectible car and doing everything you can think of.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this movie is slightly unrealistic. I mean some of the things they do seems a littler far-fetched. For example, the Abe Froman scene. The fact that they could pull it off and not get into trouble is sort of unbelievable. It’s quite comical especially when Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), Ferris’ best friend, pretends to be a police officer. Regardless it’s unlikely that would actually be able to do that successfully.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is in the beginning when Ferris (Matthew Broderick) gets Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara), his girlfriend out of school so they can hang out with Cameron. Sloane’s father is on the phone with Principal Edward Rooney (Jeffery Jones). Rooney thinks its Ferris and treats him as if he were. His secretary, Grace (Edie McClurg) answers the other line to find out its Ferris Bueller calling in sick. Grace freaks out just as Rooney is laughing about having Mr. Peterson produce a dead corpse as the condition for Rooney allowing Sloane to leave school. At this point you really think that it is Mr. Peterson is on the phone. Rooney’s face is blank as he hears Ferris’ message. The camera then switches to that blinking red light on the phone signaling the other line. Rooney immediately apologizes and as Mr. Peterson starts talking it cuts the camera to Cameron making a hilarious face speaking with this ridiculous fake accent yelling at Mr. Rooney. The first time I saw this movie I really had no idea it was Cameron. It made the scene so funny to realize that it was Cameron. And let’s be honest, who hasn’t wished they could speak to a teacher they dislike the same way Cameron did – without getting in trouble, that is.

Another one of my favorite scenes occurs in the police station near the end of the movie. It’s between Jean (Jennifer Grey), Ferris’ sister, and the boy sitting on the couch next to her (Charlie Sheen). Charlie Sheen played this role a little too well, I guess it was pretty telling, I mean look at him now: Guess we should have seen it coming. But regardless of what Charlie Sheen is now, I am huge fan of his. And even though he played a minor role in this film he did a fantastic job. Jennifer Grey did a great job in her role too saying rude things back to him to try and get him to shut up. But just like in Two and a Half Men, Sheen must have some sort of charm because in the end of the scene the two are making out on the couch. As she leaves, she says goodbye, and is obviously love-struck or something because she acts like a complete idiot as she goes down the stairs. He just looks at her and smiles.

I also love that scene at the very end with Rooney coming on the bus sitting with the dorky girl who keeps gummy bears in her pocket. I don’t know how old this girl is supposed to be, but she looks old enough to be in High School. But acting like a 5 year old she naïvely asks the principal if he wants one of her gummy bears. She says it in the funniest way too, “Gummy bear? It’s been in my pocket; they’re real warm and soft” as she hands it to him. He throws it, showing his obvious disgust.

Plot-wise I thought this movie was interesting. Normally in movies the main character is the dynamic character. Somewhere along their journey they learn something about themselves and change, which, ultimately, is the meaning of the movie. However, in this movie, Ferris Bueller, being the protagonist, is static. He is the same person he woke up as that morning. He has not changed whatsoever. In this movie the supporting character, Cameron Frye, is the one who changes. In the beginning of the movie, Cameron behaves pretty passively. Ferris evidently wears the pants in this relationship. I mean he managed to convince Cameron to get out of bed when he legitimately thought he was sick. However, at the end of the movie, after realizing that putting the car in reverse isn’t gonna take the miles he decides to take responsibility for the car, and more symbolically, his actions.

So as school starts back up again this week we can think of all the fun times we’ve had this summer, and all the fun times we’ll have in school. It is possible, you know. And for those of us who aren’t going to school, you can reminisce about your high school years, and the time you convinced the maître d you’re the Sausage King of Chicago.

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