Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" Anne T. Donahue

You guys asked (once, I think, in the comments), and I have delivered. And from the heavens descends this cinematic gem that I actually only saw for the first time when I was 19 and then became obsessed with for one fall in 2008. Why? I actually have no idea. Probably because all I was doing was reading and writing papers, and the idea of skipping class was the stuff of dreams and legend. Also probably because I realized I had to make up for lost time.

But that’s neither here nor there! What IS, is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off which we are all going to watch during the summer even though it’s OBVIOUSLY a movie you only watch when school’s on. I don’t make the rules, I just break them. Just like Ferris Bueller. Who I still have a crush on, so let’s just get that out of the way now because there’s a lot more “realizations” where that came from.

Old Lady Movie Night is officially … on.

1. The weird part about having not actually WATCHED Ferris Bueller was that I still quoted it ALL THE TIME

All the time. Seriously. Without ANY IDEA where these references were coming from. I mean, I watched Ben Stein’s Money (WHO DIDN’T!) and The Simpsons episode of which this was based, but still. “Bueller? Bueller?” all over the place like I was some consumate pop culture pro. I even nodded in understanding when two of my best friends went as Cameron and Ferris for one Halloween. I was all, “Oh, of COURSE!” in the brick laying of my house of lies. Disgraceful.

2. At the end of the day, it’s terrifying that this teenage boy is so manipulative and convincing

Right? I mean, DUH ALERT: we love Ferris Bueller. But ANOTHER duh alert is that he’s SO CONVINCING and SO MANIPULATIVE and he’s only what… 16? How old is he? Why is he so smart? Is he Kevin McAllister’s friend and/or inspiration? Is this what would happen if Kevin McAllister grew up? One million questions. The biggest of all being: I hope he went into acting or something, or otherwise he is totally spearheading some sort of Ocean’s 11 campaign. (And that wasn’t a question, but remember guys: WE BREAK RULES HERE.)

3. Already totally siding with the sister

So if you’ve just tuned into Old Lady Movie Night, you should know that I like to watch movies of my youth or older than the past five years and comment on them from an Old Lady perspective (hi). So already here we are: I TOTALLY HEAR YOU, JENNIFER GRAY. God, I would HATE having Ferris as an older brother. Right? Am I right here, everyone? I mean, she gets NO BREAKS and everyone loves this guy and I’d just be filled with resentment and the need to sabotage my sibling at all costs. Ultimately, it’s probably good that I don’t have any siblings because I’ve just admitted to being the worst sister ever. Luckily, I only have cousins. And because they’re a novelty, I would totally encourage them to be exactly like Ferris.

4. “Life happens pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it.”

Booooooooooooooooom. Drops mic. YOLO.

5. So is Cameron actually sick, then?

Right? ALSO Ferris just said “It’s all in your head” and okay I heard this theory once that this movie is all in Cameron’s head or something…? Or he has multiple personality disorder? I DON’T KNOW. I just read it some place a while ago and it basically damaged me psychologically forever. So now I’m damaging you. I’M SORRY. I LOVE YOU ALL. FORGET EVERYTHING I JUST SAID.

Also, is Cameron actually sick, then?

6. CONFIRMED: So he IS sick!

And Ferris is like, “Get out of bed and come get me!” I WOULD HATE THAT. Man. Do I not like Ferris Bueller as a human? Is this what’s happening? (No.) (Maybe.) (GIVE ME TIME.) Cameron’s just sick, guy! Let him rest! I think of all the times I’ve been in bed with the flu, and if someone even EMAILS me I am like, “You are the worst human how dare you.” Now imagine my BEST FRIEND was like “Come get me! It’s all in your head!” YIKES. Nope. Goodbye. My neighbour once brought me Neocitran and Advil when I had Contagion earlier this year and even THEN I was like, “Ughhhhhhhhhhh getting out of bed is what’s basically going to kill me I JUST KNOW IT.”

And that was trumped only when I woke up in the middle of the night and had to walk to the fridge for a freezie.

7. Is being sick nine times an actual thing?

So the real controversy here is that Ferris has been sick nine times. NINE TIMES. Guys, is that bad? I mean, I was not an ideal high school student, but I missed nine days in about a month (and yes, I failed high school and had to do grade 12 over again) (DO NOT DO WHAT I DID) and I passed that year. And that was grade 11! So what I’m saying here is not to ever do any of the things I did, but also nine sick days doesn’t seem like a really long amount of time to miss.

8. Okay but this principal, you guys

Right? Whaaaaaat is happening with this man. WHO CARES if Ferris missed nine days or 90 days! Call home and tell his parents and that’s it and goodbye. And then he’ll fail! That’s the worst thing that can happen. That is LITERALLY the worst case scenario. Why become so consumed with it?! Clearly the man is an obsessive freak, and we are to hate him with ever fibre of our beings. Well congratulations to him: we do. Also, maybe alert someone in the schoolboard because he also seems like a potentially violent offender? But against (towards?) children?

And now he’s looking into Sloan’s fictional’s grandmother’s death? WHAT. WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH TIME, SIR. I WISH I had enough time to investigate anything. Seriously, right? RIGHT?

9. AHHH BUT THE PHONE PRANK

What is it about these kind of misunderstandings? You know when Kevin McAllister pretends the gangster movie is him and the pizza boy thinks he’s about to be gunned down? I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Right now — and I have seen this movie SO MANY TIMES (especially in that one fall) — I am literally laughing out loud, and I will NEVER NOT LAUGH AT THESE TYPES OF THINGS. Look at all the capital letters! Look at the el-oh-el-ing they represent!

10. And now I feel super uncomfortable because Cameron and Ferris are fighting

Right? Like, we were all having a really great time and laughing a lot, and now Ferris and Cameron are having a quarrel and now I can’t remember why were were laughing to begin with and I just want this scene to end. END, SCENE.

Okay it ended.

11. YELLO

AHH!! Okay, so shout-out to the Romy to my Michele: this was OUR SONG in high school. And true, fine, we had 2525925825 best friend songs, but this was totally one of them. BEST FRIENDS.

12. BUT WHY WON’T FERRIS RESPECT THE CAR SITUATION

Okay, I’m going to confess something to you guys: in high school, my friends and I would take our parents’ cars out all the time even though we didn’t have licenses. IT WAS TERRIBLE. And we ultimately ended up getting caught. (Well — my friend did. My family only had one car, so if I took it, someone would notice.) Also it was during a stage in my life where I would advise doing the exact opposite of most of the things I did. BUT it happened, and when it did, we always respected the car-driver because they were letting us borrow the car, you know? So when Ferris basically doesn’t respect Cameron’s obviously terrifying father’s rules it’s like NO YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. And I can say this because I did it. And I feel like I would have cut Ferris off as a friend a long time ago.

13. And why would Ferris kiss Sloan when he was pretending to be her dad?

WHY?! BE COOL, GUY. That is not cool! Just act like a dad. Sit in the car and don’t look up and drive off as soon as she gets in. THAT’S WHAT DADS DO. Also, why isn’t the worst principal in the world concerned with this? Instead he just watches and is all, “So THAT’S what it’s like in that family.” UM, RED ALERT, PAL. Call that ish in! Call someone! The police? I mean, RED FLAGS ALL OVER THE PLACE. This man needs to be reported.

14. So Ferris Bueller is the most popular guy in the entire school…

And alright. I’m going to sound like a terrible person but HEAR ME OUT. From experience, most — and/or all — of the popular guys in MY high school were the absolute worst. Seriously, even the “nice” ones were still terrible. And Ferris is SUPER popular, so is he the exception OR is he just like the other popular guys? OR did I go to a terrible school? There are a lot of options here. This is just one of them.

15. I feel like I relate most to Cameron in this movie or at least like him the best

I’m just going to say it. I am Cameron in this situation and on this day. And Jennifer Gray. Right? They just keep it real. Cameron is also a pretty adult dude. Ferris is being manipulative, and he’s like “Nope.” (Even though he ultimately continues to get manipulated.) And also he’s got a pretty good understanding of his parents’ relationship which is commendable considering he’s supposed to be about 16. When I was 16, you know what I had a good understanding of? Not very much because I was making terrible choices. Basically I think what I’m trying to tell you guys is that Cameron is pretty alright, y’all.

16. Ferris is so obsessed with taking things to the limit and I don’t think I like it

I DO NOT LIKE IT. He’s such a smooth talker, and then when even Sloan’s like “No, let’s leave this restaurant” he’s like [paraphrasing] “HELL NO.” It’s so strange! Borderline … psychopathic, maybe? MAYBE? I mean, let’s just say that he and the principal have a lot in common in that they are hell bent on proving themselves. And while Ferris is arguably not a freak of nature like this principal man, he IS taking things pretty, pretty, pretty far for the sole purpose of … ? I mean, who are you trying to prove yourself to, guy? You’re with your best friend and girlfriend! They know you. It’s going to be fine. You hear me, kid? HERE IS SOME MONEY. GO SEE A STAR WAR.

17. And now the principal is actually break-and-entering!

AND FOR WHAT AND WHY?! He has just proven — through the rigged doorbell/intercom trick — that Ferris isn’t actually at home. And now he’s STILL trying to get into the house? What for! WHY? And what are you going to do there? No, seriously: what are you going to do in there. I don’t like it. But you know what I DO like? THE SMITHS INSTRUMENTAL THING THAT IS HAPPENING WHEN THEY ARE AT THE MUSEUM*.

*Which also reminds me of Never Been Kissed which I need to buy so I can write about it. RIGHT?! Oh man I love that movie.

18. Lot of PDA for it being a BFF hang, you know?

Listen. Sloan and Ferris are adorable and we know that. But you know who would probably know that even better than us? Cameron. Cameron because he is FORCED TO WATCH THEM MAKE OUT ALL DAY. Ugh, isn’t that just the worst?! Have you guys been there before? I have. I have been there, and nooooope. No thank you, friends of mine who made out on my bed while I sat on the edge watching figure skating. I won’t forget.

19. But why are they treating today like the only day they can do anything?

So the thing about high school was that it was SO FUN not to be there. I loved not going to class and that is ultimately why I did so badly. BUT I mean, there were also Saturdays and Sundays where you could not go to school AND not get in trouble. But these guys are literally treating this random day like it is the ONLY day in the history of the world that they can walk around Chicago. Cameron, Ferris, Sloan: if you’re listening, you have the weekends! And evenings! And days off! And adulthood! And OH MAN they are actually on the same street as Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive which is OBVIOUSLY the greatest movie ever made, duh, so my point no longer matters because remember The Fugitive, everyone?

20. And what exactly would the principal DO?

Imagine the principal finally catches Ferris. WHAT WOULD HE HAVE DONE? Seriously? I mean, he can’t hurt him. Physically, he can’t because that is so illegal on one million levels plus six. Second, he’s going to what … suspend him? And then? Three days later all is well. Or he’s expelled? And what happens then? Another school? And okay. Cool, guy. These are literally the worst case scenarios. Once I actually got busted by my art teacher when I was skipping class and YES, I ran across the school to the library and she followed me and all I did was get walked back to class. Also, another one of my teachers caught me skipping and she was just like, “You’re getting marked absent.” And I was like, “Okay.” And that was that. (DON’T DO WHAT I DID.)

21. Woah whaaaaat? 

WOAH WOAH WOAH. So Ferris is trying to predict Cameron’s life and it’s like HUH? How do YOU know what will work for him in his love life, pal? He’s all, “He’ll marry the first girl he has sex with and she won’t respect him” etc. etc. etc. and I mean, maybe that will happen, but for the most part, YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T KNOW YOUR FRIEND, FERRIS. He knows that Cameron worries, but for the most part, Ferris lives in his own world and seems to THINK he understands how things work but … I don’t know, you guys. Basically I feel super defensive about Cameron, and Ferris seems like the type of guy who you’ll hang out with and you’ll be like, “No, I really don’t like cheesecake,” and he’ll say, “No, you’ll like THIS cheesecake” and then you’ll be like, “No, but seriously I’m allergic to dairy” and he’ll say, “No, no we’re going to get a cheesecake and we’re going to eat all of it right now it’ll be fun.” And then you’re like, “Okay, but Ferris it’s my birthday and I don’t want cheesecake,” and he’ll be like “Too bad because we’re going to the Cheesecake Factory!”

Right? Am I wrong? I STILL LOVE THIS MOVIE, EVERYONE. I’m just #TeamCameron

22. And then we have Charlie Sheen playing … Charlie Sheen?

Okay? Sure! Why not.

23. “I gotta take a stand”

YOU GO, CAMERON. You DO gotta take a stand! Also, can we please talk about how John Hughes is the master of the teen freakout? I love it. Just like Brian in The Breakfast Club. WE ALL HAVE THESE FREAK OUTS, JOHN HUGHES YOU GET US. Right? Who didn’t have the biggest freakout/realization at least once when you were a teen? I mean, I can and will confirm that you still have them all the time in your 20s. But that first freakout when you’re younger and you’re like “No, THIS is the person I do or do not want to be.” It’s magic. Just like Cameron when he trashes his Dad’s car (DON’T DO THAT, ANYONE), and he’s totally liberated. (Though I do seriously recommend he liberates himself to a counsellor or therapist because his dad seems abusive and Cameron seems like a victim of said abuse. And basically some sort of therapy in your teens is the best thing you can/will ever do in general, ever.)

24. But in Ferris’ defense, I GET IT

Right? WE GET IT. He’s smart and he’s a babe, and he’s charming and I GET IT. I’m just saying that I am also a little wary of his need to push things to the limit and how smart/manipulative he is and it’s almost a little terrifying? I’m not alone, am I? Like, OBVIOUSLY I have just Googled Matthew Broderick’s age to make sure I’m not some creepy predator with a crush on a 17-year-old (he was 24 when Ferris Bueller was made so RELAX everyone), but there’s also this older, cautious part of me that thinks, “Yikes.”

25. BEST DAY OFF EVER

I’ve come to two realizations in this beautiful wonderful scene in which Ferris beats his family home from the infamous day off:

1) I hate evening. I really hate it! I like morning, afternoon, and night but evening just reminds me of coming home from school and either trying to figure out what to have for dinner or having to do homework or needing a nap, and I hate it. I really, really hate evening. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Ferris Bueller, but MAN, I hate evening. And this scene takes place in the evening, so naturally I really had to make this even more about me than it was before. THANKS EVERYONE.

2) I still love this movie exactly as much as I always have. IT IS FLAWLESS (minus the flaws I pointed out) (but all those things add to how much I love this movie, OBVIOUSLY). John Hughes, pals! Days off! Movies! Matthew Broderick! #TeamCameron!

Although I will confirm that regardless of how bad a kid I was and how often I missed class, I never lied about being sick because my guilt complex is freakish. (So I would call my mom from school or home and just say, “Hey, so I’m not going to class today. Just thought you should know.” Which I’m sure she REALLY appreciated.)

Again, you guys. Don’t do what I did.

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  1. I don’t say this as a authority or anything, and I haven’t seen FBDO for awhile, but I always assumed Cameron was a hypochondriac, in which you imagine you always have some sort of illness. Ferris knows this about Cameron, that’s why he says “It’s all in your head”.

  2. Every time I read one of these I think “did Anne T. Donahue and I just become best friends?” and then I become irrationally jealous of the Romy to your Michelle. Sorry about that. And I will literally cry on the day I see a Never Been Kissed OLMN.

  3. I love this film. It’s actually my favorite. About some of your questions…there’s a rumor going around that Ferris was orginaly supposed to be Cameron’s id and so that’s why Ferris is such a huge contrast to the world he’s in. I kind of like that perspective. But all in all this is just a film about accepting when you need a break from the mundane and living a little. Sure Ferris comes off really pushy at times, but it’s all in good fun.

  4. Ferris Bueller is an awesome movie. Ferris is a senior in high school, because he’s talking about graduation.

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