The other night I felt like getting my classic film buzz on after blazing a joint of the award-winning Lindsay strain. I decided upon John Hughes’ celebrated film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick.

First off, before I get into my diatribe of why I love this film so much, actor Matthew Broderick enjoys the fine taste of cannabis. He was asked whether or not he likes to take a few puffs and this was his response years ago.

“In real life? Well, I’ll tell you I went to a private, very hippie like high school in New York City, right on Central Park West. We spent a lot of time in the park. That makes things pretty clear, doesn’t it?”

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Image: Paramount Pictures

So now that we have cleared that up, the film just hit the milestones of thirty years about a month back, so it was the perfect time for a reevaluation of just what makes this movie so fantastic. I dare say, it could be the perfect film. Why? Well, it really breaks down to three things.

Firstly, it’s a great character study. Look at Ferris first off. The kid’s got so much working for him. He’s a whiz at whatever he puts his mind to. Not getting the car he wanted, his parents instead got him a computer, and with that, he had already figured out how to hack into the school database to change his absentee days.

He’s driven to get what he wants. He wanted Cameron’s dad’s car? He got it. He wanted Sloane to come out on the adventure with him? He got her. He’s also a master manipulator who turns on the charm and charisma whenever it is needed. You would almost have to believe that he has a run in politics in an unmade sequel.

Ferris Bueller

Image: Paramount Pictures

Cameron is definitely a dark character study, as the first time we meet him he’s lying in a dead and morose position on his bed. He’s a worst case scenario kind of guy and almost Ferris’s direct opposite in every way.

Of course, at a certain point, Cameron finds the anger in his life that’s directly attributed to his neglectful dad, but the direction of that is righted, and Cameron appears to become the bigger man because of it. If it wasn’t for Ferris manipulating Cameron into ditching his own sick day and nabbing that coveted car, would Cameron have survived high school?

Secondly, we know John Hughes work and we love him for it. We all picked our favorites in The Breakfast Club, with the majority of us wanting to be Judd Nelson’s John Bender. Some of us pined over Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles or wanted to make our dream girl exactly like Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science. It’s undeniable that John Hughes had us in the palm of his hand long before Ferris, a film that is really pivotal for the filmmaker.

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I would be so bold as to say that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is John Hughes’ greatest film achievement. Now, why is that, especially after the other films I just mentioned above? Well, everything comes together in this film and it’s perfect. Hughes is operating with a script that allows his brilliantly cast lead to talk directly to the camera, a widely unplayed with plot device at the time.

The casting around Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara is also impeccable with Jeffrey Jones as the villainous principal and Jennifer Grey to add the sibling rivalry as his sister. Hughes doesn’t miss a beat with his story and characters, but where the culmination of his greatest cinematic achievement lies, is within the directing elements.

This leads to my third point, which is Hughes’ vision of this film. The story is always on the move in some shape or form throughout the movie. The frame is always being utilized to its full capacity, whether it’s splitting the action on the same frame or having a sight gag play in the background. This is attributed to master cinematographer Tak Fujimoto, a legend who had made films like Badlands, Pretty In Pink and would later go on to shoot Silence of the Lambs.

Image: Paramount Pictures

Image: Paramount Pictures

The flow of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is always interesting and kinetic and really does stand the test of time. Even if this was John Hughes’ only successful film he had ever made (which it isn’t), he would still be considered among the best filmmakers of the ’80s just based on this one accomplishment.

Maybe it was the haze of my Lindsay strain or my pessimistic thinking, but I feel like a film of this magnitude is starting to get forgotten by the newer generation. Take the end credits scene in Deadpool, an obvious nod to Ferris’s ending. Do people know it was a parody? Better yet, did the millennials know? Do they know Matthew Broderick as anything more than Sarah Jessica Parker’s husband?

As much as the answers to those questions may sadden me, Ferris’s mark on the teen comedy genre is a lasting legacy. Let’s just leave it alone when it comes to reboots and remakes, okay Hollywood?


Make sure to check Trevor Dueck and Steve Stebbing out every Friday on Cannabis in Canada for Flix Anonymous. They review all the new film releases, give you their weekly stoner flicks and more.

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