Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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John Hughes directs Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Jeffrey Jones in this 80s teen comedy fantasy about a wordly wise teen who orchestrates the most epic school bunk ever. 

One of those cherished movies I’m way too close to to in any way assess properly. This film is like a summer holiday girlfriend – the nostalgia, the soundtrack, the energy and the intense proximity make it impossible to be critical of. Broderick’s direct to camera talking, master of the universe is a key symbol to the slacker generation. He could excel at school, (and does by all accounts), but is more interested in enjoying life and maxing out relationships. Ruck’s unique Cameron Frye is even more relatable – the nice kid already feeling caged in by his depressing present and his optionless future. His moment of self determination at the wrap up is a superb piece of acting, unlike anything seen in a glossy teen romp. We don’t need to witness the confrontation with his father to know it is a life defining point of victory. Jennifer Grey is excellent as the sister, frustrated that everyone else is seduced by Ferris’ shit. Like Ruck, she’s a rarity in this genre; a female character with an agenda outside of dates and makeovers. Anger personified deliciously. And we get a brilliantly inept adult villian in Jeffrey Jones’ Principal Rooney. Grown Ups suck. There are beautiful moments – the entry into Chicago by Ferrari, a kiss in front of some modern art, Grey’s awkward loved up exit from the police station, the final mad dash home. There are killer lines (“Cameron’s so tight, that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in 2 weeks it would turn into a diamond.”). And there is the coolest soundtrack never collected as an actual LP… Dream Academy, The Beat, Yello, The Beatles. Perfection!

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