Monday, December 18, 2006

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

So it’s Christmas and the networks blast there holiday favorites. Some how the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” starring Matthew Broderick has become one of those movies that gets played a LOT during this time of year. The funny thing about the film is that it doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas. “Home Alone”, “Planes Trains & Automobiles”, heck even it’s a “Wonderful Life” I can understand why they play these films when they play them. But Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? What’s that all about? Well I do have a theory, so I’ll give it a shot.

What does this film by John Hughes have to do with the holidays? Absolutely nothing, but as like all John Hughes films they do stir up memories for it’s audience, and right now those memories are very fresh. Why you ask? Well “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released in 1986. It was one of John Hughes most successful films, so a lot of people saw it. Now flash forward to today, and what do you have but adults having a nostalgia trip when they see the film. The film itself is a happy romp of a teenager who we all would like to hang out with. The most popular, the handsomest, the all-together kid. Now if that isn’t a misnomer I don’t know what is. All together kid? There is no such animal. It’s a fantasy, but we buy it hook line and sinker in this film. What I always thought was funny and unique was that Hughes character Ferris breaks down the forth wall of the theater and he (Ferris) actually addresses the audience. Ferris is our pal, and WE like him. He talks to us, and we're in with the cool crowd suddenly.

Everyone I meet can pick out a scene they like in the movie, and I really think it brings us back to a certain time in our life that we think we had or are familiar with. I’ll be the first one to say that my high school days in the 80’s didn’t reflect what was on the screen, but Hughes movies touch us in some way or the other. The teenage misfit, the prom queen, the geek, the jock, or the teacher you hated. All are charicatures in a Hughes movie, but their charicatures that we identify with. All the characters in a Hughes movie are universally identified with, and thereby it’s no wonder that a lot of his movies are successful.

So back to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Why does it show up now more then it does any other time of year? I’d say one thing the movie has is it’s nostalgia for the past, and if you look at when the film was released back in 1986 you’ll find that a lot of people who saw it back then in the theaters are now in their middle age. The nostalgia of the past is quite strong among this group, and what better group to market commercials to at this time of year. The film is not offensive, and little of it needs to be cut, so it seems perfect for network TV or cable. Also the demographics is perfect. People 35 to 45 are starting families, and have children themselves. It’s where the money is, so is it any surprise that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is such a popular film around this time of year. Even myself I’m captivated by the film. I’ll leave it on when I see the film not realizing that I’m feeding my own nostalgic desires of the past.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a funny film. I love the characters, and I really like Matthew Broderick as Ferris. The parade scene with Ferris singing a Beatles tune is funny and you do get a good vibe off it. So it’s not evil by any stretch of the imagination. It’s fun filmmaking and it’s a film that I enjoy watching once in awhile. It’s like hanging out with Ferris. Hughes was ingenious at making Ferris’ character talk to us because when he speaks to us we actually feel like were hanging out with Ferris and that’s what makes the film a cool little film to watch. It captures our attention, and takes us on a ride. Just like what Ferris does to his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck). By no stretch of the imagination can this be considered a teen drama. It is a fantasy like most of Hughes films, and it is cast well. Jennifer Grey as Ferris’ frustrated sister is hilarious. At 102 minutes the film breezes on by and in the end you feel really good. Even at the end credits Hughes has some fun with the characters showing what happens to Mr. Rooney & even Ferris addresses us, and tells us to leave because the film is over. It’s that kind of fun that makes “Ferris Bueller’s Day off” a good little romp for the holidays.

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