"It's called Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You've probably never heard of it."
March 12, 2011 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: re-cut trailer, as a pretentious, coming-of-age indie film.
posted by SkylitDrawl (167 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also:
Requiem for a day Off
posted by kaibutsu at 10:56 PM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ferris Darko's Day Off.
posted by loquacious at 11:01 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kaibutsu linked to my favorite Bueller remix. I never tire of movie trailer remixes.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:01 PM on March 12, 2011


Damn that was really well done, but what would've made it truly awesome is if the last 15 or 20 seconds had been intercut with little thematic text-on-screen or voiceover bits that kind of accelerated like it was all coming to a head . . .

"There comes a time in every life to make a stand"

[shot of Ferris' slo-mo descent]

"A moment to make your own"

[Ferris falling into crowd after performance on parade float]

"A day to take off"

[more slo-mo descent]

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off"

[TOS fades out, fade in:]

"Make your mark this summer in theatres everywhere"
posted by gompa at 11:01 PM on March 12, 2011


Heh.

Of course pretentious coming of age indie films are the closest thing made these days to Ferris.
posted by Artw at 11:04 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Charlie: Drugs?

Jeannie: Thank you, no. I'm straight.

Charlie: I meant, are you in here for drugs?

Jeannie: Why are you here?

Charlie: Drugs.

posted by Rhaomi at 11:06 PM on March 12, 2011 [28 favorites]


My favorite recut movie trailer: Scary Mary Poppins
posted by inedible at 11:10 PM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


You know who else dove into a pool under pressure? That's right, Robin Williams.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:12 PM on March 12, 2011


So, hate to be critical here, but I think this doesn't really work because it doesn't really re-imagine the movie . . I guess this is supposed to be in the vein of the Shining re-imagining trailer, the one that was really shocking and funny because it made you see the movie in a different light? But this one . . all the little schmaltzy moments that this highlights were already there in the original, and they already had the same meaning and effect. Nice little piece of editing work by the creator but as an entry in the "topsy turvy trailer" genre this doesn't really do anything.
posted by chaff at 11:14 PM on March 12, 2011 [23 favorites]


all the little schmaltzy moments that this highlights were already there in the original, and they already had the same meaning and effect.

Yeah, in my opinion the trailer wasn't too far from the tone of the actual movie.

... Now to re-edit Rushmore with some Yello.
posted by dgaicun at 11:23 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What chaff said. There's nothing re-cut or re-imagined here. That's the movie. There's not one thing in that trailer that's inconsistent with the film's tone or themes.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:23 PM on March 12, 2011


What the trailer does is show that even though Ferris Bueller's Day Off is presented as a comedy, it actually deals with some serious themes (fear of the future, depression/attempted suicide, growing up). Maybe that's why 25 years later it is still so popular.
posted by wuwei at 11:26 PM on March 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nice little piece of editing work by the creator but as an entry in the "topsy turvy trailer" genre this doesn't really do anything.

The other characters loom larger than Ferris who seems absent from his own movie in both of these trailers. You get no sense of him. Strange. Good call on the Mary Poppins and I know it has been mentioned here before but The Shining is still the best trailer recut I've seen for completely changing a film's nature.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:27 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


But this one . . all the little schmaltzy moments that this highlights were already there in the original, and they already had the same meaning and effect.

I thought that was actually what made it interesting, tbh.

I fucking love that movie to death, and never get tired of watching it.
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


this doesn't really work because it doesn't really re-imagine the movie

True. But what makes that Shining remix so excellent isn't its take on the movie so much as its take on Hollywood marketing - the way that Hollywood trailerizing is so formulaic and denaturing that you could use it to turn even a Kubrick horror flick into slice-of-life smarm. A fine point, and well made by The Shining remix.

What I liked about this one is that it chose a different target - the self-seriousness of coming-of-age movies in the indie era. The way they don't seem to realize how ultimately commonplace and rote their angstiness is.

I mean, John Hughes made a mint off teen angst, to be sure, but in his Hollywood you had to wrap it in some adventurous hijinx and wittiness and give the hero a certain, you know, heroism. Because who wants to listen to a bunch of teenagers whine about how epochally awesome their particular ennui is, you know?
posted by gompa at 11:31 PM on March 12, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm rather fond of this version of The Terminator as a sappy romance.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:45 PM on March 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is this where we bring up the Ferris Bueller / Fight Club meme Cool Papa Bell started?
posted by mrzarquon at 11:46 PM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


The other characters loom larger than Ferris who seems absent from his own movie in both of these trailers.

He was absent in the movie too. Like Peter Pan, he's the title, but the movie's not about him. He's a line in the sand of childhood, and the movie is about watching everybody else move past him.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:47 PM on March 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


All this version of the movie is missing is Zach Braff.
posted by buzzkillington at 11:49 PM on March 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


I never liked Ferris Bueller's Day Off, even as a youngster, though for a long time I was unable to articulate why. And then it struck me, one day.

Ferris is the bad guy.

I'm not sure why it never occurred to me sooner, actually. I mean, the films starts with him blatantly lying to his parents and playing to their sympathies.

"It's nice to know that I have such loving, caring parents."

...Jeez. I mean, jeez.

And what the hell was up with Ferris' bedroom, anyway? I mean, he's got a television, a computer, an electric keyboard, and God's stereo system. And a clarinet, which he apparently bought on a whim. Or had his parents buy him, I suspect. Triple jeez.
posted by KChasm at 12:25 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ferris is the bad guy.
So is Peter Pan.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:34 AM on March 13, 2011 [31 favorites]


Those guys are right. This is the movie.

Remember that scene in the museum where Cameron's staring at the Seurat while a muzak version of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"? That's the movie. This is that.

It's not a reimagining. It's an astute summary -- a good trailer, basically. A really good one, in fact.

(And on a different point: As much as I love the Fight Club interpretation, I don't quite buy it. I've always had another inking about it all. Take a look at what Cameron is wearing throughout the film: Red Wings jersey, t-shirt with a caduceus. Wings everywhere. The guy's an angel. A ghost. He's dead. A memory of a person. The day off is Ferris grieving, and doing--or imagining--the things he wishes they'd done together, one part of which is saving the dude's life.)

(P.S. The two guys in Weird Science are gay, y'all. Seriously.)

an electric keyboard

That ain't no Casio, either. It's an E-Mu Emulator II. Original retail price: $7,995.

posted by Sys Rq at 12:37 AM on March 13, 2011 [121 favorites]


er, an inkling
posted by Sys Rq at 12:38 AM on March 13, 2011


Sys Rq: Cameron does say "I'm dying" at the very beginning. Nice interp.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:48 AM on March 13, 2011


If you like that, check out Kelly LeBrock's goodbye in WS. Just sayin'!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:49 AM on March 13, 2011


So is Peter Pan.

And I never liked him, either.
posted by KChasm at 3:06 AM on March 13, 2011


note to self: stay off KChasm's lawn
posted by scrowdid at 3:23 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seconding gompa's first half: The Shining trailer doesn't reimagine the Shining. It dissects and critiques trailers.
posted by DU at 3:30 AM on March 13, 2011


Is this where we bring up the Ferris Bueller / Fight Club meme Cool Papa Bell started?

Not to diminish how cool that idea is, but Cool Papa Bell made it clear in some MetaTalk thread someone else made about "I found someone using CPB's 'Ferris Bueller' idea unattributed" that he didn't invent it. But I do thank him for introducing me to it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:31 AM on March 13, 2011


No way a pretentious indie movie uses Helvetica light, or a foot mark instead of an apostrophe.
posted by bonaldi at 6:10 AM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I kind of agree with KChasm. Ferris seemed like an overprivileged rich kid and I had a hard time sympathising with him getting his way throughout the movie, even though I understood I was supposed to root for him.

Of course, there are always those teenagers who are popular and seem to rule the school, and oftentimes these same people have a hard time of it after they leave (David Letterman once said something about how saying that your high school years were the best of your life was pretty sad, because it often meant that you had nowhere to go but down). I saw two guys from my graduating class go from being stars of the football team to working as clean-up staff at the local amusement park within four years -- the kids they picked on over the years ended up going to university or starting successful businesses, while the former cool kids never went far beyond doing odd jobs and hanging around the bar.

The curious thing would be to see Ferris ten years later when he enters the real world and things do go his way so easily. If Alan Ruck's sadsack character ended up being the happier person by then, it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:23 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ferris is the bad guy.

This is one of those things that it still amazes me other people don't immediately see.

Of course the true test of temperament is whether you sympathize with Bill Murray or Richard Dreyfuss when you watch What About Bob? I am SO the latter.
posted by kittyprecious at 6:30 AM on March 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


I"m in the "Ferris is the bad guy" camp too. Didn't like him at all in the movie. Thought he was far too arrogant to be likable. If I was a kid at his high school (I would've been out of high school for about 4 years when the movie came out), I think I would've hated him.

I remember, the first time I saw it, having empathy for the principal, and the various other adults that he manipulates. I thought that was an odd reaction on my part, that surely I was supposed to be "on Bueller's side", rooting for him. But I wasn't. In my mind, the principal is the hero of the movie. A tragic hero. And I totally sided with the sister, too.
Now I'm wondering: were we supposed to side with Ferris, to root for him, or see him as an antagonistic thorn in the side of others?

As for this trailer re-cut, I also think it misses the mark, and is just a retelling of particular moods and themes that are already in the movie. Well-done, though.

I love the "Cameron is an angel" idea, and want to believe it, but I can't imagine John Hughes was that artful in his approach to hidden themes, subtext, etc. To me, the themes of his movies were "hit you over the head" obvious (was never much of a fan of his work). Was I missing something deeper in his work? Wouldn't that be awesome!

Finally, and maybe this was borne from my distaste for the character of Ferris Bueller, but I've never thought that Matthew Broderick was a very good actor. A couple of well-done performances, but for the most part, I find him lacking.
posted by annekenstein at 7:02 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ferris is the bad guy? Rooney is the hero?

The movie is not about skipping school. The movie is about embracing life. On what is arguably his last sick day ever, he chooses to spend the day radically changing the worldview of his uptight, anxious, no-risk-taking unhappy best friend.

"Look Cameron, you don't have to just take what life gives you. Make your own destiny. Become Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago. Don't wait for something to happen TO you. Decide to be the something that happens to other people. Take something boring, like a parade, and turn it into a party. Don't just metaphorically spend your life in bed, sick but waiting to feel better, because that's just going to make you feel worse."

Ferris may be an overprivileged, rich, manipulative liar, but basically it takes someone like that to make Cameron come alive.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:20 AM on March 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Rhaomi: "Jeannie: Why are you here?

Charlie: Drugs.
"

Fun fact you can regale people with at parties. Charlie Sheen's character is named Garth Volbeck. In the shooting script, Ferris' opening monologue contains a lot more information about who Garth is:
In eighth grade a friend of mine made a bong out of one of these. The smoke tasted like glue. His name is Garth Volbeck. He's a serious outsider. Not a bad guy, I like him. I'm probably his only friend.I I do what I can for him. I mean, if I was him, I'd appreciate it. Do unto others, right? Anyway, his mother owns a gas station. His father's dead and his sister's rumored to be a prostitute, which is complete bullshit. She only puts out so people will hang out with her. It's sad but I don't hold it against her. Better to hold it against the guys who use her and don't care about her. (pause) My parents never allowed Garth over here. It was because of his family. Mainly his older brother. He's in jail. I could see them not wanting his brother here because he is a registered psycho. I wouldn't want him here. I once watched the guy eat a whole bowl of artificial fruit just so he could see what it was like to have his stomach pumped. But Garth isn't his brother. It isn't his fault that his brother's screwed-up. Alot of fights with the parents on that point. I always felt for Garth. I was sleeping at his house once and I was laying on the dark worrying that his brother was going to come in and hack me to death with an ax and I heard Garth crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Nothing". ... Nothing was wrong. There was no specific thing he was crying about. In fact, he wasn't really even aware that he was crying. He just cried himself to sleep every night. It was a habit. The guy's so conditioned to grief that if he doesn't feel it, he can't sleep. How could you possibly dump on guy who has to deal with that kinda shit? My parents acknowledge the trudge of the situation and I'm sure that deep down, they do feel for him but still the guy's banned from our house. Unfortunately, now my parents have a legit argument. Garth doesn't need his brother to give him a rep anymore. He's getting one on his own. He's lost. It's over for him. He's eighteen. Gone from school. Gone from life. His legacy is a gas station.
So, yeah, Ferris is rich and entitled, and he breaks a bunch of rules, but he does it because he's worried about his friend Cameron. CPB's theory (or the one he cited) works because the whole movie is about Cameron getting pulled out of his bubble. The reason the town loves Ferris so much is that Ferris seems to genuinely care about everybody: the Camerons and the Simones and the Garth Volbecks - the only person who doesn't get that is his sister, who focuses on that entitlement. Ferris might well be the only John Hughes high school character who isn't totally self-obsessed (though an argument could be made that Ducky isn't either).
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2011 [27 favorites]


John Hughes made some great stories.
posted by cavalier at 7:22 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


a muzak version of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"

That's the Dream Academy version right? I like it. Wouldn't call it muzak exactly.
posted by ntrifle at 7:26 AM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


"And what the hell was up with Ferris' bedroom, anyway? I mean, he's got a television, a computer, an electric keyboard, and God's stereo system. And a clarinet, which he apparently bought on a whim. Or had his parents buy him, I suspect."

I grew up in the same town John Hughes did. There are PLENTY of spoiled rich kids there. Like Lexus-for-16th-birthday-really-it's-for-the-safety-features spoiled. Mostly they're very nice people, same as anybody else, but MAN do they own a lot of stuff.

I don't know if you noticed this, but ALL of John Hughes's movies are about upper-middle-class white kids on Chicago's North Shore. ALL of them. That's the milieu he knew.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:33 AM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know if you noticed this, but ALL of John Hughes's movies are about upper-middle-class white kids

I know this is a tangent, but I do think it's worth noting that this was the default setting for child/adolescent protagonists in '80s film (and probably still is, though I don't pay anywhere near the same attention now). Even single, harried Dee Wallace seemed to be able to provide quite a nice home for her three (!) children in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. In that era, it seemed you were either extremely comfortable and it was totally unremarkable, or you were desperately poor and that was the entire point of the movie you were in (and it was most likely a TV movie...who'd pay money to go see that?).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:54 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ferris seemed like an overprivileged rich kid...

Yes, but he wasn't the sort to be an ass about it to others, hence his charm. He wasn't interested in using his privilege to be better than others, but just to have a good time. I get that a lot of people are seeing Ferris, and by extension, his family as a negative symbol, but that sounds more like axegrinding than anything.

I love the movie, it's pitch perfect. Alan Ruck, who played Cameron, has a great idea for a sequel
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I mean, the films starts with him blatantly lying to his parents and playing to their sympathies.

OH NOES, HOW COULD A TEENAGER DO THAT?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on March 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well sure Ferris is the bad guy. But he's a lovable scamp, like George W. Bush. One day he's cutting class and going to baseball, the next day he's fabricating an excuse to invade Iraq. All for the lulz.
posted by Nelson at 8:28 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, in the same, original thread where I introduced it, I disclaim true originality -- just look down a few more posts. Don't know where I heard it, just something I knew about. Unfortunately, Google results being what they are, I've never been able to find a primary source that pre-dates me.

Native Americans knew all about the Louisiana Purchase, but I get to be Lewis and Clark. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2011


Even single, harried Dee Wallace seemed to be able to provide quite a nice home for her three (!) children in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

I always took that as her being divorced and getting to keep the house that the rich husband bought, but now he's off with his secretary. So, Dee has the house in the brand-new suburban planned community subdivision, but nothing else.

Either that, or the husband/father is dead, and while the life insurance took care of the house, they're just getting by, day to day.

This speaks to why the scientist guy suddenly appears to be a kind of pragmatic father figure for the family unit. After E.T. leaves, you get a sense of hope that order has been restored.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I saw Ferris Bueller back in the day, but I really don't remember it, since it wasn't about the angsty ennui of girls like me. I was a Molly Ringwald wannabe when I was a teen, thanks. (And I am old and cranky now, so indie teen flicks do nothing for me.)

One of the things this trailer remix thing has brought home in a big way is, as the folks talking upthread about the Shining mentioned, the banality of trailers for the US market. I recently watched Tamara Drewe, a cute little Britcom based on a graphic novel, which just came out on DVD. I'd seen the US trailer and dismissed it, but a friend whose judgement I trust recommended it and pointed me at the UK trailer, which was different and, to my mind, substantially funnier. I'd never have watched the movie based on that first trailer, which made the movie look like every other romantic comedy out there. Maybe it is and I'd like them all, but the trailers always make me want to roll my eyes.
posted by immlass at 8:43 AM on March 13, 2011


After E.T. leaves, you get a sense of hope that order has been restored.

As always, it was the wise Negro who made it possible, only to live apart from the original family at the end.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, I love the Cameron-is-an-angel bit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2011


This has always been hands-down my favorite movie from the '80s and in my top five of all time. And yeah, this trailer basically just cuts the comedy and gets to the underlying themse already very present in the story. Ferris is the bad guy? Fuck that noise.

Anyway, I adored it as a kid, though the Museum sequence bored me and seemed out-of-place and jarring. Now I realize that it's kind of the entire point of the movie.

Man I wish I could watch that again right now.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2011


Ferris is the bad guy.

Oh fuck, yes! Bueller was Eddie Haskell with richer parents and friends.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:32 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what the hell was up with Ferris' bedroom, anyway? I mean, he's got a television, a computer, an electric keyboard, and God's stereo system. And a clarinet, which he apparently bought on a whim.

I always just assumed all Americans lived like that, as it was the same in everything.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well sure Ferris is the bad guy. But he's a lovable scamp, like George W. Bush.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW!
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:06 AM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


G.W. Bush as Ferris?

I've only seen the movie 50-odd times, so maybe I'm missing something, but for me as a kid the whole point was that he's smart and empathic. There's a lot of nuance (yes, goddammit, there is) I didn't pick up on until years later, but that was what I got when I was a grade-school kid looking at the highschoolers as strange, frightening, incomprehensibly powerful alien beings.
posted by brennen at 11:26 AM on March 13, 2011


-Must Love Jaws

-10 Things I Hate About Commandments

-Glen & Gary & Gary & Ross
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ferris was smart and empathetic; he was still the bad guy.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:45 AM on March 13, 2011


Ferris was smart and empathetic; he was still the bad guy.

Maybe you should spend more time worrying about you and less time worrying about Ferris.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:53 AM on March 13, 2011 [19 favorites]


Rhaomie: I never realized why I didn't identify with Ferris. It's because I identify with Jeannie! Wow. I feel like I have just made a huge breakthrough. Now I have to go on a destructive bender to prove that I'm really alive....
posted by Cheminatrix at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2011


A good trailer, basically. A really good one, in fact.

This was my reaction, too -- it doesn't represent a lot of what the movie does in terms of goofing around, but the parts that have stuck with me that give the movie some warmth are captured really nicely in that phony trailer. It makes a perfectly good trailer for the movie, albeit one that leaves out the slapstick elements.

As for Ferris being the bad guy, the movie isn't couched in realism. It's a universe where school is *nothing* but prison for kids, and where the only parents who don't thrash the spirit out of their kids (like Cameron's) are the ones who have been successfully defeated (like Ferris's). The movie's assumptions set up Cameron as a kid in desperate need of love that can basically only come in the form of a big push. In that world, Ferris is not the bad guy. In that world, Ferris is literally the only person who loves Cameron enough not to leave him to his soul-sucking depression. In all the times I've seen the movie (and of COURSE in spite of understanding that in real life, the guy would exhaust me almost immediately), I've never doubted that Ferris really wants this for Cameron for unselfish as well as selfish reasons.

I agree with the many people who have noted that it's really a movie about Cameron, and if you see it as a movie about Cameron, then what matters isn't the idea of Ferris living a whole life the way he does, but Cameron being reminded that this is also part of life, and that this kind of individual day and these individual moments are possible. So no, I don't think he's the bad guy.

This is way more thought than I've ever put into this movie before, though.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:32 PM on March 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


The movie is about embracing life. On what is arguably his last sick day ever, he chooses to spend the day radically changing the worldview of his uptight, anxious, no-risk-taking unhappy best friend.
and

I've never doubted that Ferris really wants this for Cameron for unselfish as well as selfish reasons.
But did he really do it because Cameron needed it, or because he thought it would be fun and Cameron was too uptight anyhow?

I mean, it takes kind of a sociopath to goad a friend into stealing his parent's most valuable thing, and then poking that friend to the point that he has a meltdown and the only outlet is to ruin the valuable thing.

In the real world, Ferris is the guy who gets his friends in trouble while slithering away scot free. And even if it is a net gain for Cameron, Ferris is still a dick for doing it.

Also: the show Seinfeld is grown up Ferris Bueller.
posted by gjc at 1:56 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


The movie Election is grown up Ferris Bueller.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:59 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Which is to say, don't worry; he gets what's coming to him.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2011


I mean, it takes kind of a sociopath to goad a friend into stealing his parent's most valuable thing, and then poking that friend to the point that he has a meltdown and the only outlet is to ruin the valuable thing.

I am speechless. The point is the cat isn't that valuble, Cameron is, which Ferris can see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


This movie needed more white people.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:11 PM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can see now 25 years later that Ferris seems kinda like an overprivileged frat boy, but at the time most serious movies about teenagers were about self absorbed neurotic weirdos and outcasts, dealing with their outcastiness, unrequited love, drugs, pregnancy, etc. (Notably, Hughes was the major contributor to this genre.) Ferris was the antidote to that. This was a guy who recognized he was born with every advantage and instead of brooding like a misunderstood teenager he embraces it and celebrates it, and the only people who don't love him for it are the Rooneys of the world. You're not a principle Rooney are you?

It's not like he's cutting class to get high, or using his charisma and money to take advantage of people. It's his senior year, he recognizes that life is about to get serious enough, so he wants to take his best buddies to a ball game, to the museum. Yeah they made some poor choices, but the film is pretty clear that the trouble they got into was much more about what's wrong with the world than what's wrong with Ferris.

Also, George Bush wasn't listening to Sigue Sigue Sputnik or playing keyboard or wearing a fucking hip as shit sweater vest. George Bush was a drunken dumb ass.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:36 PM on March 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


"goad a friend into stealing his parent's most valuable thing"

Yeah, but like the whole point is, the car IS his parents' most valuable thing; Cameron ISN'T. Ferris is the character in the movie to whom individuals and joy are the most important things; not justice (sister), rules (Rooney), stuff (Cameron's parents), etc. Cameron and Ferris are surrounded by STUFF, but it's the EXPERIENCES and RELATIONSHIPS that are fun and valuable to them, not the stuff.

And, yes, in the movie, Ferris is bucking a system that represses his individuality and fails to appreciate or reward his talents, and high school stands in for that system. But he's also recognizing that this is really the last time he'll be able to do so consequence-free, and that to maintain these values as he grows up he'll have to be vigilant and self-aware, and many of the voice-overs show he has a nascent self-awareness.

(BTW, that fascinating Garth Volbeck monologue that got cut is wrong on one particular -- Garth would have been allowed at Ferris's house where Ferris's parents could supervise, but they NEVER would have let Ferris go to Garth's.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


...PrinciPAL Rooney, of course because your principal is your "pal"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2011


Linda_Holmes has it right. I would add that Rooney and Jeannie are motivated by irrational senses of vengeance. Rooney calls Mrs. Bueller, confirms that (to her knowledge) Ferris is sick, and decides to not let it go, instead making an example out of him and ruin his future. "He will remember the name 'Edward Rooney.'" Jeannie's jealous of her brother, and until Charlie/Garth gets her to loosen up some, is only trying to bust him out of spite, which is what makes her final action so cool - she has her own life, Ferris has his, and he's not doing anything to hurt her.

Because, in fact, Ferris isn't doing anything to hurt anyone. In the universe of the film, Ferris is the fun, clever rule-breaker and those trying to stop him are doing so only because they want the rules upheld, not because of any consequences of his breaking them.

And yes, the movie is explicit that this is as much about Cameron's well-being as it is about Ferris having a good day. Cameron's story is the heart of the movie, with Ferris getting away with stuff as the fun framing device/Greek chorus speaking of Cameron's troubles. Ferris might be reckless with prodding Cameron to get them to take the car out, but he doesn't do anything to try to get Cameron to kick it out the window. He and Sloane try to stop him, actually (though they are shocked by their friend's behavior.)

By the end, it isn't that Ferris has forced Cameron out of his shell, but that Ferris has gotten Cameron to a point where Cameron himself decides to act of his own volition.

Ferris = Good Guy, all they way.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:49 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ferris is not a bad guy. Well, he might be someone you are jealous of (he has so many things! he gets away with so much!) but that doesn't make him the bad guy. Luckier than you, perhaps.

Put it this way - Ferris Bueller's Day Off is my six year old son's favourite movie at the moment. He cackles his way through the funny bits, and happily discusses with me what Ferris, and Cameron, are doing through the slightly less funny bits. He thinks Ferris is cool, because Ferris wants his friend to be happy; because Ferris realises that many of societies rules are silly and are okay to break if you are not really hurting anyone; and that standing out and being different is fun sometimes. And I tend to agree with him.
posted by Megami at 2:59 PM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ferris is not a bad guy. Except for Sloane, the fantasy girlfriend, every other significant character in the movie is an example of people not understanding and internalizing Ferris's central point that they should enjoy life.

Rooney focuses on petty, parochial problems. Nine absences? Please. As a principal, we all know he has bigger fish to fry, but he's over-focusing on Ferris. What do we see of his school? Mind-numbing lectures (of ironically interesting subjects), and a guy on a cart making freshman run painfully around a track. That school sure as shit isn't taking kids to the art museum, like we see being done with the smaller kids. This is no small point -- when Ferris finally takes his friend to the art museum, Cameron is dumbstruck by the beauty and intricacy of Seurat's pointillism. Ferris packed more education (Chicago Board of Trade, anyone?) into one day than Rooney's school delivers in an entire month.

Jeannie got a car, not a computer. A car. A freakin' car. Given to her. For free. Even Ferris admits he has to bum rides off of people. And while Jeannie doesn't enjoy her car, Ferris puts his computer to work. When Jeannie meets Volbeck, who's internalized a bit of Ferris's worldview, she starts to come around -- a little sex, a little rebellion, and even tries out a new identity (ohai, Shawna the bad girl).

Cameron. 'Nuff said.

Ferris's parents are both unhappy at work. His father deals with people he thinks are idiots and relishes the opportunity to dance in his office when no one's looking. His mother bails her daughter out of jail, but what is she really concerned about? The fact that she lost her deal with "the Vermont people." Maybe we should shoot her, her father says, indicating that they're unhappy with their daughter, too. Their daughter is home safe and sound, but neither of them really care.

To paraphrase Ferris, these people have their priorities so far out of whack, they don't deserve the good things they already have.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ferris's parents are both unhappy at work. His father deals with people he thinks are idiots and relishes the opportunity to dance in his office when no one's looking. His mother bails her daughter out of jail, but what is she really concerned about? The fact that she lost her deal with "the Vermont people." Maybe we should shoot her, her father says, indicating that they're unhappy with their daughter, too. Their daughter is home safe and sound, but neither of them really care.

This paragraph makes no sense to me. His dad was pretty happy, though a tad bored with his job. He clearly loved his son and explicitly said so in a the movie and it was clear that it it wasn't the first time he had done that. I don't recall the mom being unhappy per se, just a bit annoyed with her daughter being at the police station, which is fine. One of the points is that Ferris's parents care< while Cameron's don't.

This highlights the relationship between the two. Cameron comes off as an oddball, a social outcast in the context of high school. But he really isn't, as witnessed by him being the cool kid's best friend. He just has issues because he never got what Ferris did as kid, love and support. Sure, Cameron got stuff, he has his car, money isn't a problem, etc, but he's depressed, sickly and whiny, i.e. still a small child in many ways. Ferris is what Cameron could have been if his parents had loved and supported him.

Ferris knows this and that's why he pushes Cameron sometimes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is no small point -- when Ferris finally takes his friend to the art museum, Cameron is dumbstruck by the beauty and intricacy of Seurat's pointillism.

I watch that scene and I see Cameron looking at the flow and structure of daily life, and seeing that it is faceless. His face mirrors the face of the child, which has no features, no identity. Cameron, in his parent's scheme, is just a collection of points contributing to a scene, without any independent identity. He sees his own blank stare projecting back from the painting, and it's a major moment of realization.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:02 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


His dad was pretty happy, though a tad bored with his job.

Recall the scene outside of Chez Quis, the restaurant, where Ferris's dad is with his clients and/or business partners. He slams the door and, out of earshot, calls the guy a bonehead.

I think Ferris's parents are happy with Ferris, because he's snowed them. Jeannie is another case entirely.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:02 PM on March 13, 2011


Recall the scene outside of Chez Quis, the restaurant, where Ferris's dad is with his clients and/or business partners. He slams the door and, out of earshot, calls the guy a bonehead.

Yeah, but a lot of people say that about their clients. It's all in the game.

I think Ferris's parents are happy with Ferris, because he's snowed them.

So, he's not actually a decent kid?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:06 PM on March 13, 2011


One thing that always irked my about FBDH: The weird-ass, Mayflower stock names the kids had. The three were "Ferris," "Cameron," and "Sloane." Is this the sort of thing that was common among the stinking rich (no, not "upper middle class") of Winnetka? I wouldn't know because I grew up in the working-class garbage dumps on the other side of Chicagoland, where kids had names like "David" and "Kim."

Any New Trier grads wanna chime in here?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:13 PM on March 13, 2011


Also- it's great to hear Woodpigeon on this. Doing Calgary proud.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:14 PM on March 13, 2011


John Hughes isn't portraying Winnetka and New Trier; he's portraying Northbrook and Glenbrook North. Further in from the lake; more working professionals, fewer folks with family money, especially back when Hughes grew up there and there were still a couple cornfields within town limits. There was still a trailer park feeding the Glenbrooks when Hughes was a student there (John Bender probably draws from this).

He often FILMED in Winnetka because the houses are considerably more photogenic.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:52 PM on March 13, 2011


People, people, people. Rooney isn't the "principal", he's the DEAN of STUDENTS. If that isn't enough reason to hate him, I don't know what is.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:07 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to be able to illustrate this with examples, but I could only find one of the two (and the movie's title makes searching problematic.) But here's one of the two promos CBS produced for the television debut of Network.

The other promo, made for that same airing, portrayed a love story between Faye Dunaway and William Holden. If you hadn't known better, you would have thought they were two different films. I'm not sure the posthumous-Oscar-winning Peter Finch was even in the second promo.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:09 PM on March 13, 2011


To restate: Ferris does these things because he enjoys them first, and if they happen to be helpful to others it is a happy coincidence. Knowing that Cameron's father appears to value the car more than he does Cameron makes it worse, not better.
posted by gjc at 8:01 PM on March 13, 2011


Ferris is a like a buddha who only remains among mortals so that he can show them the way to enlightenment for themselves.
posted by empath at 8:06 PM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, he's not actually a decent kid?

How about we take a different angle?

"Who's he talking to?"
"Ferris Bueller, you know him?"
"Yeah, he's getting me out of summer school."


Why does this kid want/need to get out of summer school? How will Ferris get him out?

These questions have no objective answers, so you can read into it whatever you want.

Cynical: Ferris is going to help the kid cheat.

Hughesian: This rotten school (see above) with its mindless bureaucracy has cheated the kid out of a chance to go to band camp. Ferris is going to pull a Robin Hood, organizing an intricate scam that defeats the always-angry school secretary, punches the kid's ticket to band camp and wins the heart of the pretty-but-shy girl that plays the French horn (who herself gets a makeover, courtesy of Sloane) and everyone lives happily ever after.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:07 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


what is the title of this post from?
posted by crickets at 8:17 PM on March 13, 2011


Ferris does these things because he enjoys them first, and if they happen to be helpful to others it is a happy coincidence. Knowing that Cameron's father appears to value the car more than he does Cameron makes it worse, not better.

Totally wrong. Someone who didn't care about helping Cameron wouldn't say "If anyone needs a day off it's Cameron. He's got a lot of issues to work out before he graduates. Can't be pent up this bad and go to college; his roommate would kill him. Pardon my french, but Cameron is so uptight, if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in 2 weeks, you'd have a diamond."

Also, Ferris earnestly offers to take the fall for the totalled car.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:01 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


evilcolonel: People, people, people. Rooney isn't the "principal", he's the DEAN of STUDENTS. If that isn't enough reason to hate him, I don't know what is.

And therefore he deserves to be beaten down and humiliated at every turn.

I mean, jeez, look at it from his point of view for a second. Here's a man, dedicated to doing his job the best that he can. He recognizes Ferris--rightfully--as a charismatic, talented young man. He also recognizes that in his own way, he's got the entire school under his thumb--after all, what happens when people think Ferris is sick? The entire school chips in for an unplanned fundraiser. They take the campaign to every corner of the city, all the way to Wrigley Field ("Save Ferris").

The entire student body is under the thrall of this single child. This child who's played hooky and skipped school nine times and got away with it scot-free. And as authoritarian and totally un-fun as Mr. Rooney's grumblings about giving good kids bad ideas may be, he's got a point. What will happen when some other students decide to skip class and have a day on the town, Ferris-style? Nothing bad ever ends up happening to Ferris, but the students can't all have Ferris' charm, his quick wit.

It'll all end in tears, and Mr. Rooney knows that catching the other students will do precious little. The damage will have already been done. No, if Mr. Rooney wants to make real difference in his students' lives, he'll have to cut off the snake's head--he'll have to catch Ferris himself.

To the student body, Ferris is something like a god in the flesh of a boy--but he's just as human as the rest of them, and maybe if Mr. Rooney can show them that before it's too late.

I've always wanted to see something like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but from the other side: A worn-out dean of students works tirelessly to catch a charismatic, intelligent boy-child playing hooky from school, only to be mercilessly outplayed at every turn. By the end of the movie, he is reduced to an empty, humiliated husk of a man. He could have simply remained on school grounds, could have simply made a little note on his computer--"days absent: 9"--and that might have been the end of it. But he decided to try, at least, to go beyond that, to do the right thing--and because of this, in the end, he is completely and utterly destroyed.

That would be an interesting movie, don't you think?

posted by KChasm at 9:09 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The re-cut just exposes how much art-house quotation is already in the movie (Band of Outsiders, the Graduate, yadda yadda). Advantage Hughs?
posted by ducky l'orange at 9:25 PM on March 13, 2011


I don't mean to invoke rule 34 here but, remix the movie in a trailer in the order the scenes were shot in. Then find out how much that is in town.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:37 PM on March 13, 2011


>> This is no small point -- when Ferris finally takes his friend to the art museum, Cameron is dumbstruck by the beauty and intricacy of Seurat's pointillism.

> I watch that scene and I see Cameron looking at the flow and structure of daily life, and seeing that it is faceless. His face mirrors the face of the child, which has no features, no identity. Cameron, in his parent's scheme, is just a collection of points contributing to a scene, without any independent identity. He sees his own blank stare projecting back from the painting, and it's a major moment of realization.

Bingo.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:51 PM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


KChasm, what?

But he decided to try, at least, to go beyond that, to do the right thing--and because of this, in the end, he is completely and utterly destroyed.

Rooney calls up Mrs. Bueller, who confirms that Ferris is a "very sick boy." He says fuck that, and devotes his day to trying to ruin Ferris's future, because Ferris skipped school (something of which Rooney has no proof and in fact has solid evidence to the contrary about.) He then breaks into the Bueller residence, flees the police, leaving Jeannie to take the fall for having made a legitimate distress call, and then comes back to trespass again.

And all of this because "Ferris is the type of student who gives good kids bad ideas"? No. Throughout the movie we see him having a net-positive effect on those around him. In fact, based on his conversation with Grace at the beginning, it seems as if Rooney has only the slightest idea of who Ferris is at all.

It is Rooney who chooses to antagonize Ferris. Ferris just tries to snow-job him to get out of school for what is in reality a far more rewarding day for everyone involved except for Rooney himself, and only because Rooney is a nickel who thinks he's a quarter and values petty vengeance over actual educating. Damn right he is completely and utterly destroyed by the end.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:32 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I watch that scene and I see Cameron looking at the flow and structure of daily life, and seeing that it is faceless. His face mirrors the face of the child, which has no features, no identity. Cameron, in his parent's scheme, is just a collection of points contributing to a scene, without any independent identity. He sees his own blank stare projecting back from the painting, and it's a major moment of realization.

Bingo.


God that clip was brilliant. I never understood until just now, how much that moment is really the focal point of the film. It's only in stepping back that you make sense of your place in the world.

Dig it:

Sloane: The city looks so peaceful from up here.
Ferris: Anything is peaceful from one thousand, three hundred and fifty-three feet.
Cameron: I think I see my dad.


and

Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


And what the hell was up with Ferris' bedroom, anyway? I mean, he's got a television, a computer, an electric keyboard, and God's stereo system. And a clarinet, which he apparently bought on a whim.

None of that changes the fact that he doesn't have a car.
posted by bingo at 9:49 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know about Ferris being a 'bad guy' I always thought he was more a 'dick' - or say annoying over-privileged twat.

But I never liked the film and still can't watch it.
posted by mary8nne at 10:29 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I never liked the film and still can't watch it.

I liked it in my youth but having watched it again recently I like it in bits but overall find it to be rather pedestrian.
posted by juiceCake at 10:46 AM on March 14, 2011


That ain't no Casio, either. It's an E-Mu Emulator II. Original retail price: $7,995.

Yeah, Ferris' bedroom also has a Gretsch White Falcon and a silverface Fender Bassman amp and cabinet. This is one spoiled kid. As a music gear geek when FBDO came out, I sort of hated Ferris from the very beginning because I recognized at least some of the subtle messages that were sent about just how much of a spoiled rich kid he was, in spite of the fact that he didn't have a car. His attitude from the very start was disgusting - my parents love me and they buy me a hundred grand worth of stuff for my room, but I'm going to rebel because, wait, why?
posted by The World Famous at 10:48 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


my parents love me and they buy me a hundred grand worth of stuff for my room, but I'm going to rebel because, wait, why?

Because having parents who can/will buy you a lot of stuff isn't enough.
posted by bingo at 10:55 AM on March 14, 2011


Because having parents who can/will buy you a lot of stuff isn't enough.

Yes and no. I mean, sure, you can read that into it. But the outward complaints are all about material things.
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 AM on March 14, 2011


Sorry, that was too glib a response. The deeper subtext of the film is, I think, a commentary on the state of the modern family relationship in the '80s, with dual incomes providing creature comforts for children but depriving them of what they "really" need. The rebellion presented is different from the rebellion of previous generations, because it's ultimately a last-ditch effort to get parents' attention and love rather than an attempt to cast of the shackles of a traditionally-restrictive society. That message manifests itself in several different ways in the film, which is one reason why it's important to have both Ferris and Cameron: They offer two separate but equally strong indictments against parents and family, covering all the bases, as it were.

But by the time FBDO came out, that message had become a tired trope, frankly.
posted by The World Famous at 11:06 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


but I'm going to rebel because, wait, why?

Because it's his last chance to do so, before having to grow up.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2011


The entire student body is under the thrall of this single child. This child who's played hooky and skipped school nine times and got away with it scot-free. And as authoritarian and totally un-fun as Mr. Rooney's grumblings about giving good kids bad ideas may be, he's got a point. What will happen when some other students decide to skip class and have a day on the town, Ferris-style? Nothing bad ever ends up happening to Ferris, but the students can't all have Ferris' charm, his quick wit.

It was the very end of his senior year though, so you can't really make the argument that Rooney was acting to "save" the students from Ferris' influence. Rooney was just making a last ditch effort to take Ferris down while he still had any kind of authority to do it. Also, the caring for students angle is completely unsupported by anything Rooney says or does in the film. In fact, the final scene of him having to ride a bus filled with students underscores the fact that he views any peer-level interaction with them as a great indignity.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:19 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because it's his last chance to do so, before having to grow up.

Well, I was referring to his general rebellion and not just this single incident. But there are deeper reasons, as I mentioned above. The spoiled rich kid who rebels and acts like he owns the place is not just a movie trope - it's a real thing. But it's not so charming in real life most of the time (ok, sometimes it is).
posted by The World Famous at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2011


What will happen when some other students decide to skip class and have a day on the town, Ferris-style?

Awesomeness. That's what would happen.

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards.
- Mark Twain

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2011


What will happen when some other students decide to skip class and have a day on the town, Ferris-style?

An even better parade!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on March 14, 2011


I like how we've decided that there is an entire genre of movies that we make fun of that pretty much only contains Garden State. Because we mostly like Wes Anderson's movies. Maybe he lost you with Life Aquatic. Maybe he lost you with Darjeeling Limited. But Wes Anderson has a pretty good batting average and I would say even his misses are actually very good movies that you'd like more if you hadn't sort of seen them before. I mean technically there was Elizibethtown but noone has actually seen it. So we've imagined this plague of problematically cute movies with hip indie soundtracks that really get on our nerves. And we say to ourselves "actually the wes anderson ones were pretty good and their soundtracks were also not indie rock but british invasion mostly" so what are we left with? We are left with Garden State.

The thing is Ferris Bueller's Day Off while more commercial than these indie films that we've decided exist (even though it was like one movie 7 years ago and then maybe Juno which only sort of is the same thing) are the proper heirs to the John Hughs tradition. The more or less gradual continuum of teen movies with various human to humor ratios with your weird sciences and ferris buellers existing as different versions of the same sort of thing has fractured. We are left with movies with an annoyingly calculated earnestness and quirkiness like garden state and at the other end of the spectrum we have Van Wilder feeding frat boys dog cum.
posted by I Foody at 11:44 AM on March 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


my parents love me and they buy me a hundred grand worth of stuff for my room, but I'm going to rebel because, wait, why?

Because helping out your friends is more important than having a stellar attendance record.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:46 AM on March 14, 2011


Because helping out your friends is more important than having a stellar attendance record.

You have to assume a lot and ignore a lot to reach the conclusion that Ferris had any interest in helping anyone.
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 AM on March 14, 2011


I like how we've decided that there is an entire genre of movies that we make fun of that pretty much only contains Garden State.

I can think of many twee, hipsterish, indie and indie-ish, coming-of-age films. Just start trolling the list from Sundance and other festivals.

I mean technically there was Elizibethtown

???

You mean this Elizabethtown? That was Cameron Crowe.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:56 AM on March 14, 2011


The deeper subtext of the film is, I think, a commentary on the state of the modern family relationship in the '80s, with dual incomes providing creature comforts for children but depriving them of what they "really" need.

I think this places undue emphasis on the kids' neediness relative to the parents. Yes, Cameron wants his father to love him more than he loves his car. But Ferris' parents do love him, and his sister, even if that love comes without real understanding.

Teenagers have an inherent need to do things that fall outside the bounds prescribed to them. Rebellion among spoiled middle class kids is pretty common, and it's not because they don't realize that they're spoiled.
posted by bingo at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2011


"What will happen when some other students decide to skip class and have a day on the town, Ferris-style?"

Generally we call that "senior ditch day" and it's the Monday after prom. It was still in full swing when I went to high school (where John Hughes went) ... don't know if it still is. They were trying to schedule huge exams and things on that day when I was there so students couldn't ditch but it didn't seem effective.

Incidentally, "Rooney" and Dick Vernon (Breakfast Club) were alleged to be based on this Dean of Students who'd been at the school since kingdom-come; his name was indeed Richard (he went by Rich). I never thought to look if he'd been working at the school in the 60s ... I think, in retrospect, he was ALMOST, but not quite, old enough; I think he would have started in the late 60s or early 70s. Anyway, I was in a playgroup with his youngest daughter when I was 3. And he was still Dean of Students when I went to high school. He was a bit of a rules-lawyer and relatively hard-assed about the rules, as well as having a sort of sarcastic sense of humor, but he was not unkind. But then I'd known him since I was 3, so he probably wouldn't have been mean to me anyway. Except the one time he gave me a Saturday detention for a parking ticket.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:16 PM on March 14, 2011


You have to assume a lot and ignore a lot to reach the conclusion that Ferris had any interest in helping anyone.

Not really, he explicitly says part of wanting to ditch is to show Cameron a good time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on March 14, 2011


You have to assume a lot and ignore a lot to reach the conclusion that Ferris had any interest in helping anyone.

Not at all. As I already said, Ferris looks right into the camera and says "If anyone needs a day off it's Cameron. He's got a lot of issues to work out before he graduates. Can't be pent up this bad and go to college; his roommate would kill him. Pardon my french, but Cameron is so uptight, if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in 2 weeks, you'd have a diamond."

To interpret that as "Cameron needs a day off and he needs to not be so uptight. Even though I'm forcing him to have a day off, and even though I'm helping him not be so uptight today, I still have no interest in helping others" is bizarre.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:37 PM on March 14, 2011


To interpret that as "Cameron needs a day off and he needs to not be so uptight. Even though I'm forcing him to have a day off, and even though I'm helping him not be so uptight today, I still have no interest in helping others" is bizarre.

That's not how I interpret it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:42 PM on March 14, 2011


Before this thread I had no idea how layered FBDO was...then I look on wikipedia and its entry has an "Academic Analysis" section. Go figure. I'm going to have to watch this again...
posted by jnnla at 12:52 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not how I interpret it.

You already said that you think that Ferris has no interest in helping others. If that's what you think, then how do you reconcile that with the scene where he looks into the camera and says that Cameron needs a day off and needs to not be so uptight? What did Ferris mean when he said that, if not "Today is going to be about helping Cameron"?
posted by 23skidoo at 1:01 PM on March 14, 2011


What did Ferris mean when he said that, if not "Today is going to be about helping Cameron"?

He was offering the audience his justification for selfishly dragging his sick friend on a journey designed solely to gratify Ferris' own desires in spite of it being clear and foreseeable that it would be to Cameron's significant detriment. Ferris is talking himself into it while he talks Cameron into it. Ferris is a dick to Cameron and any benefit or redemption that Cameron gains from Ferris' self-serving day off is Cameron's own doing.
posted by The World Famous at 1:13 PM on March 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love how there are people here defending one of the great movie villains of all time.

Look, Ferris isn't burning down the school. Yes, he changed his grades and maybe he'll pay for that down the road, yes he has an obscene amount of cool stuff in his bedroom and maybe he'll regret not being successful enough as an adult to support his tastes but that's not the message of the film, and everything else is speculation.

People who go through life and follow all the rules without questioning them can still end being mediocre and miserable like Rooney. It's important to stop and reflect when you're at major turning points in your life. It sucks when parents don't value their children.

I don't see how those messages are made more dilute by not having Ferris be a poor kid from the south side or a first generation Vietnamese immigrant, although Hughes might have chosen to make his film with those characters if that was the background he knew.

Some of my best friends grew rich. Those are the kids that need to question assumptions the most. Ferris Bueller shaped more than a few minds. As one of those young minds, I can tell the message I did *not* take away was that it's cool that rich kids can get away with whatever they want.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:07 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's grew UP rich...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:10 PM on March 14, 2011


Also, how is Cameron no better off at the end of the film? Ferris immediately offers to take the blame but Cameron finally makes a decision to deal with his shit, specifically stating as I recall that everything is going to be alright. I mean are you arguing that even though Ferris states Cameron is his best friend, he states he wants to do something nice for Cameron, he offers to take the blame when things go wrong, and Cameron is still better off at the end, Ferris must have this hidden agenda to use and manipulate people?

Also, Cameron was faking being sick just like Ferris before he got called, he was just doing it for different reasons. He was going to miss school anyway.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2011


Something I never really noticed before watching it again last night is that Jeannie spends the entire day skipping class as well - first just walking the halls and then straight-up going home. But she doesn't seem to realize it herself. The distinction, as she sees it, seems to be not one of breaking the rules, but of having a good day when you're not supposed to. After her scene with Charlie/Garth, she seems to understand this herself, as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:26 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure whether you're talking to me or someone else, Slarty Bartfast. But I'll respond anyway. People are complicated. Even charismatic, spoiled, manipulative, selfish, and somehow likeble people like Ferris Bueller. You never had a friend in High School who was simultaneously a friend and also a dick to you? Sure, Cameron is better off at the end of the film in some respects. He's a character with an arc, after all. But his growth as a character is in spite of and in part because of the fact that he was the victim of Ferris' having selfishly taken advantage of him. And that's a lot like real life.

One of the reasons that FBDO is entertaining and has lasting appeal, in my opinion, is that most viewers identify with Cameron - the victim (and beneficiary) of a selfish friend who messes up the lives of everyone around him and somehow seems to get away with it while leaving destruction in his wake. And the lesson (or one of the lessons) of the film is that yes, Ferris totally gets away with it and everyone else suffers, but real growth and happiness is achieved not by following Ferris' example and getting away with it, but by following Cameron's example and entering adulthood by taking responsibility and facing up to the good and the bad that comes with it.

I don't see how those messages are made more dilute by not having Ferris be a poor kid from the south side or a first generation Vietnamese immigrant, although Hughes might have chosen to make his film with those characters if that was the background he knew.

Again, I'm not sure whether you're talking to me or someone else here. But I don't think the message is made more dilute by having Ferris be a spoiled, selfish rich kid.

Also, Cameron was faking being sick just like Ferris before he got called, he was just doing it for different reasons. He was going to miss school anyway.

Maybe he was faking and maybe he wasn't. But he wasn't planning on that being the day that he would destroy a million-dollar Ferrari, destroy his house, and then have to face his father for the first time as an adult. And Ferris had no intention of causing whatever benefits Cameron got from that process. Ferris wanted to have fun, wanted to have someone to hang out with, and just didn't care what havoc he caused in the lives of others.
posted by The World Famous at 2:35 PM on March 14, 2011


Clearly one of the early questions when evaluating a potential mate is "Was Ferris Bueller a villain or not?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on March 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cameron was faking being sick just like Ferris before he got called [...]

Faking? Do you know what his diastolic is??
posted by stennieville at 2:52 PM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread turned out so much better than I ever expected it to. I'm thrilled.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 4:24 PM on March 14, 2011


The World Famous: I hope you know this dissection has been very fun for me and I am in not entirely dismissing your interpretation. I just find Ferris to be a very likable character in a very likable film and am arguing with good humor the viewpoint opposing yours. Also, Ferris would be too busy having fun and not hurting anyone to care whether anyone thought he was a dick or not. :P
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:01 PM on March 14, 2011


Oh, I agree, Slarty Bartfast. It's a great discussion and I am in no way stuck with the positions I've taken so far. It's just fun to discuss.
posted by The World Famous at 5:23 PM on March 14, 2011


The fact that people consider Ferris Bueller a villain for not following rules of high school - high school! - points to that pedantic, joyless strain in Metafilter.
I always wish i had the balls to do what he did
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:52 PM on March 14, 2011


The fact that people consider Ferris Bueller a villain for not following rules of high school - high school! - points to that pedantic, joyless strain in Metafilter.

That's not at all the reason people are saying he's a villain.

(It's because he's kind of a narcissistic dick.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:46 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, you know on reflection, the whole thing really does work better with Ferris being a figment of Cameron's imagination. I think we all can agree on this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:07 PM on March 14, 2011


Nah.
I just realized - Ferris kinda works as a Manic Pixie Dream Best Friend to Cameron.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:43 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(It's because he's kind of a narcissistic dick.)

i never noticed that before. that sort of charismatic confidence is what you get in cult leaders, rock stars, and people who can give you the sort of day Ferris can

i'm just watching Season 4 of Dexter... think there was a Ferris Bueller reference, but i don't wanna spoil it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:44 PM on March 14, 2011


Actually, you know on reflection, the whole thing really does work better with Ferris being a figment of Cameron's imagination. I think we all can agree on this.

no, we can't. It's an idiotic idea that bears no relation to the movie's world. Nobody will pushing it or swallowing it if it wasn't for Fight Club.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 PM on March 14, 2011


Please don't call me an idiot. Yes, it bears no relation to the movie world. It's a just-for-fun thing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:56 AM on March 15, 2011


no, we can't. It's a cute idea that bears no relation to the movie's reality. Nobody would be pushing or swallowing it if not for Fight Club.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on March 15, 2011


It's not just Fight Club. Movie characters often represent various facets of one personality. Speculating on whether these imaginary beings are part of the slightly-less-imaginary person or not is basically meaningless.
posted by bingo at 11:26 AM on March 15, 2011


As a longtime FBDO fan, I love both the "Ferris is Cameron's fantasy" and "Cameron is Ferris' fantasy" theories.

I don't *buy* either of them, they're just fun and interesting to think about.
posted by crickets at 3:07 PM on March 15, 2011


The fact that people consider Ferris Bueller a villain for not following rules of high school - high school! - points to that pedantic, joyless strain in Metafilter.

I'm pretty sure "don't be a dick to your best friend" is a rule that transcends high school.
posted by The World Famous at 5:03 PM on March 15, 2011


I'm pretty sure the bar for "being a dick" should be placed a little higher than "bullied a friend into taking their dad's car without permission." Ferris bullied Cameron into taking his dad's Ferrari. That's it. If it weren't for joyriding parking attendants and Cameron's simmering rage, the worst that Cameron would've had to endure was explaining to his dad why there were like 50 extra miles on the car.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:54 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude, that's the very definition of being a dick.
posted by The World Famous at 8:44 AM on March 16, 2011


This thread got me to watch the movie again last night, with all the discussion above. It's a great film and I enjoyed watching it, I feel 14 again.

Ferris is absolutely a dick. The film starts with him whining to Cameron about how he needs a ride because he doesn't have a car. Cameron's sick, feeling like he's dying, and Ferris continually badgers him to leave the house and give him a ride. It makes Cameron very angry. Yeah it's all for a good purpose, but it's obnoxious, the way trickster gods are kinda dickish. Also Ferris is a dick because he keeps making out with Sloane every 15 minutes, at one point sucking face with Cameron sitting not two feet away. That's dickish. He's a lovable dick, and he means well, but he's a dick.

Neither alternate reading holds up well. I love the "Ferris is a figment of Cameron's imagination" interpretation because it helped me think of the movie in a new light, as Cameron's story. But the film is not really about Cameron: there's 10 minutes of Ferris before Cameron is introduced, 15 minutes of Ferris after Cameron leaves, and too many Ferris/Sloane scenes without Cameron for it to make sense. I also like the Cameron-is-an-angel interpretation, but other than the wing motif there's just not enough going on there to support the idea. In particular Ferris is never sad or remorseful, not once.

One thing I did appreciate on watching the film again is how great both Cameron and Jeanie are as characters. Cameron's story is really the strongest part of the film, IMO, and Alan Ruck played the hell out of it; surprised his career isn't more famous. Jeanie's transformation because of Charlie Sheen's kissing powers is also touching. The parts featuring Ferris are the most tedious: he's a static character, more of a force of nature than a person. Also Sloane and Rooney are lamentably cartoonish, although props to Jeffrey Jones for working every trick in the comedy book to play Rooney.

Finally: Ferris Bueller has the hippest band posters in his room ever. Cabaret Voltaire, Simple Minds, I think Killing Joke, all that's missing is Joy Division. There sure as hell isn't a Duran Duran or Genesis poster.
posted by Nelson at 9:36 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cameron's sick, feeling like he's dying, and Ferris continually badgers him to leave the house and give him a ride.

Yeah, that cold really kept Cameron down all day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on March 16, 2011


I forgot to mention: did you know there was a Ferris Bueller tv spinoff? Apparently it was as bad as it sounds. One of Jennifer Aniston's first roles!
posted by Nelson at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2011


Yeah it's all for a good purpose, but it's obnoxious, the way trickster gods are kinda dickish. Totally. I also tend to think of trickster gods as villains. Certainly you cannot trust them to consider your interests or take into account potential negative consequences to you. Ferris completely fails to afford any concern to consequences that other people will suffer because he never has to suffer his own. He is abundant in his sympathy toward his friends, but lacking in empathy for their wholly unfamiliar trials. As a result, he's a bit of a bully and a dick. He dismisses other people's concerns, reservations or alternate goals, not because he knows better or has a good solution but because he doesn't believe those concerns, reservations or goals are legitimate.

I think Brer Rabbit is the exception to this--I don't recall ever thinking of Brer Rabbit as the villain. Of course, there's no way to think of him as having the merest smidge of the power that a trickster god would. Too much is stacked against him. I think it's this complete lack of worldly advantage that keeps Brer Rabbit from being a villainous trickster god in my view.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


He dismisses other people's concerns, reservations or alternate goals, not because he knows better or has a good solution but because he doesn't believe those concerns, reservations or goals are legitimate.

Examples, please?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on March 16, 2011


Certainly you cannot trust them to consider your interests or take into account potential negative consequences to you. Ferris completely fails to afford any concern to consequences that other people will suffer because he never has to suffer his own.

I think it's more that he believes that he is immune to any kind of negative consequences because he can always come up with a scheme to avoid those negative consequences, and that he can do the same for his friends. So he didn't make Cameron "borrow" his father's car because he didn't care if Cameron got in trouble for it, he did it because he thought he could do it in a way that Cameron wouldn't get in trouble for it. So when the car had an obviously higher odometer value, he tried the scheme of driving it in reverse, and when that didn't work he was going to attempt to manually reset the mileage. Even when Cameron accidentally destroyed the car, Ferris seemed genuinely willing to accept the blame rather than let Cameron take the heat, and only relented when Cameron himself argued that it was time for him to stand up for himself and face his father.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude, that's the very definition of being a dick.

Really? That's all someone has to do to be a dick? I guess I see why you think Ferris Beuller is so awful then.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:11 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to derail this discussion too much, but I think this trailer from SXSW for an "indie" Mario movie is fantastic.
posted by gladly at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2011


Brer Rabbit. Now there's a dick. I hate that asshole.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:19 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? That's all someone has to do to be a dick? I guess I see why you think Ferris Beuller is so awful then.

Imagine a Venn diagram. There's a huge circle labeled "being a dick." Inside that circle there's a small circle labeled "bullying your friends." Inside that small circle there's an even smaller circle labeled "bullying your friends into taking their dad's car without permission." And inside that circle there's a tiny circle labeled "bullying your friend into taking one of the most valuable cars on earth without permission - an act which, regardless of valet parking hijinks, will foreseeably cause massive financial harm in addition to the emotional harm that will occur to your friend."

Now imagine another Venn diagram. This one has a big circle labeled "being a colossal dick and a terrible friend." Ferris Bueller is in that one, too.

It's funny in the movie. But in real life, people like Ferris Bueller are complete dicks. I knew people like that in high school. I had a couple of friends like that. And if you didn't and you don't think that what you, yourself, referred to as Ferris having "bullied a friend" constitutes "being a dick," there's a good chance you were that person. So yeah, in case you didn't realize it before now, bullying your friends makes you a dick.
posted by The World Famous at 9:01 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


So Cameron is moving from being pushed around by his dick father to being pushed around by his dick friend? Interesting. Because you're right, there are people like this in real life. I cede the point.

But there is affection in the relationship, no? And some people benefit from a push, right? I'm willing to accept that Ferris is a flawed character, probably one that needs to learn some lessons that aren't addressed by the film, but it's still a good transformative story about young people questioning their place in the world and rejecting certain negative authoritarian influences. I guess this has nothing to do with a discussion of "dickishness."

In the end "flawed" and being a dick is a matter of degree and perspective, what the motivation for being a dick is, and what the dick's redeeming personality traits are. I was no Cameron, but one of my best friends in high school was a Ferris. I got into a lot of trouble because of this person, but I also had some of the best times in my life because of this person and unquestionably he helped shape who I am today. In the end, I needed to put some distance between him and I because I recognized that there was a certain amount of destructiveness in the relationship but I still consider him a good friend 20 years later and interact with him often. I wouldn't call him a dick, I just have to assert my own well being into the relationship when it is threatened. I would expect Cameron to do the same. Placing all the blame on Ferris only solidifies Cameron's victimhood.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:23 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if you didn't and you don't think that what you, yourself, referred to as Ferris having "bullied a friend" constitutes "being a dick," there's a good chance you were that person. So yeah, in case you didn't realize it before now, bullying your friends makes you a dick.

Imagining Venn diagrams doesn't give me any new insight into WHY you think Ferris is a dick. I can just as easily imagine a Venn diagram with 2 overlapping circles, one labeled "Things that dicks do" and the other labeled "Things that people have to be bullied into". I don't think that you can divorce bullying from the intent behind it when deciding whether said bullying is a dick move or not, and you've said nothing beyond "Ferris is a dick because I that's how I define being a dick", so I don't think I'm gonna change my mind.

There is NOTHING foreseeable about "massive financial harm" occurring to the Ferrari. Seriously, if that was foreseeable, Cameron would've said "Dude, I think we can both foresee this costing a shit ton of money". The only foreseeable thing was that miles were going to be put on the car. Same thing with "emotional harm". All that emo shit that Cameron barfed up at the end was ALREADY inside him. Taking the Ferrari didn't turn Cameron into an emotional wreck. His parents did that.

Sorry, but there's really no correlation between "thinking Ferris Bueller is not a dick" and "being a dick in high school". I hate to burst your bubble, but I was a real straight arrow. Probably more of a Cameron than anything else. And I didn't have a Ferris trying to get me to do stuff, either.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:33 PM on March 17, 2011


So Cameron is moving from being pushed around by his dick father to being pushed around by his dick friend?

Don't stop there: Cameron goes from being pushed around by his dick father, to being pushed around by his best friend, to being NOT-push-aroundable by anyone. The Cameron story arc is bookended by two events. In the beginning of the movie, Ferris tells Cameron that he has to drive over there and get him, and Cameron just rolls over. He hates himself for doing it, but he does it. At the end of the movie, when they're trying to get the miles off the Ferrari, Cameron says this:

"I realized it was ridiculous. Being afraid. Worrying about everything, wishing I was dead, all that shit. I'm tired of it. This was the best day of my life."

And when the miles aren't coming off, Ferris tries to tell Cameron that they're going to crack open the odometer. And Cameron tells him "No." Cameron wrecks the car, Ferris is all "Let me take the fall for this," and Cameron tells him "no" again. By the end of the movie, Ferris can't even tell Cameron what to do.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:45 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is NOTHING foreseeable about "massive financial harm" occurring to the Ferrari.

Just driving that particular Ferrari affects its value. That is not only technically correct assuming it was the actual car that it is purported to be (and not the replica used in the film) but consistent with the premise set forth in the film.

Seriously, if that was foreseeable, Cameron would've said "Dude, I think we can both foresee this costing a shit ton of money".

I'm starting to wonder if you've actually seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Have you seen the movie? Do you not remember the scene where they discuss that? Where they point out that less than 100 of the car were made? The screenplay even cites the dollar amount that the car was worth at the time.

Sorry, but there's really no correlation between "thinking Ferris Bueller is not a dick" and "being a dick in high school". I hate to burst your bubble, but I was a real straight arrow. Probably more of a Cameron than anything else. And I didn't have a Ferris trying to get me to do stuff, either.

I guess it makes sense that someone who didn't have a Ferris in their life might not understand why those of us who knew plenty of Ferrises in real life think he's a dick.

But I don't know how anyone can watch the movie and not think Ferris is a dick and a terrible friend. And I especially don't know how anyone can watch the scene where Ferris bullies Cameron into taking the Ferrari out and not think Ferris is a dick. Seriously, that scene says it all. And even more, I don't know how you can say that someone who, in your own words, "bullied his friend" is not a dick. Anyone who bullies their friends is a dick, period.

I can just as easily imagine a Venn diagram with 2 overlapping circles, one labeled "Things that dicks do" and the other labeled "Things that people have to be bullied into".

I'm not saying Ferris was bullied into being a dick. I'm saying that he was the one bullying and that he is, therefore, a dick.

Seriously, watch the scene where Ferris bullies Cameron into taking out the Ferrari and tell me Ferris isn't being a dick. I'm honestly asking you this, 23skidoo: After watching that scene - right now - can you please explain to me how it is that you don't think Ferris was being a dick during that scene.
posted by The World Famous at 5:02 PM on March 17, 2011


After watching that scene - right now - can you please explain to me how it is that you don't think Ferris was being a dick during that scene.

Ferris didn't make Cameron do anything Cameron didn't want to do. Seriously, it was not hard to convince Cameron to take the car, not at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:20 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ferris didn't make Cameron do anything Cameron didn't want to do. Seriously, it was not hard to convince Cameron to take the car, not at all.

Was that an answer to my question? Are you saying that, because you don't think it was hard for Ferris to convince Cameron, Ferris was, therefore, not being a dick?
posted by The World Famous at 5:24 PM on March 17, 2011


I'm starting to wonder if you've actually seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Have you seen the movie?

Oh, gawd. I've quoted the crap out of the movie. I've mentioned tons of plot points. Suggesting I haven't seen the movie? Weak sauce. I've seen the movie, a lot. I have said waaaaaay more in this thread about things that actually happen in the movie than you have. If anyone has to prove they've seen the movie, it's you.

After watching that scene - right now - can you please explain to me how it is that you don't think Ferris was being a dick during that scene.

Exactly like Brandon Blatcher said: Cameron WANTED to take the car, too. In the previous scene, Ferris says he has to ask for a favor to pick Sloane. Next scene, they're standing in front of the car. What exactly did Cameron think Ferris was asking for? To see the car before they went to get Sloane? He knew Ferris wanted the car, but he took him there anyways. As I mentioned before, Cameron is afraid to be alive. He wants to take the car, but he's too scared.

A major part of being a dick is forcing things on people. That's a big part of my definition of being a dick. And yes, that TOTALLY answers your question.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:35 PM on March 17, 2011


I have said waaaaaay more in this thread about things that actually happen in the movie than you have. If anyone has to prove they've seen the movie, it's you.

I'm not asking you to prove anything.

Exactly like Brandon Blatcher said: Cameron WANTED to take the car, too. In the previous scene, Ferris says he has to ask for a favor to pick Sloane. Next scene, they're standing in front of the car. What exactly did Cameron think Ferris was asking for? To see the car before they went to get Sloane? He knew Ferris wanted the car, but he took him there anyways. As I mentioned before, Cameron is afraid to be alive. He wants to take the car, but he's too scared.

How does that make Ferris not a dick? "The victim was asking for it" isn't the greatest defense, is it?

A major part of being a dick is forcing things on people. That's a big part of my definition of being a dick. And yes, that TOTALLY answers your question.

Yes, you answered my question. And I'm sorry, but if you don't think Ferris Bueller is a dick to Cameron, you have a broken dickometer.
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on March 17, 2011


But I don't know how anyone can watch the movie and not think Ferris is a dick and a terrible friend.

How does that make Ferris not a dick? "The victim was asking for it" isn't the greatest defense, is it?

You're defining 'victim' way too broadly. Say it's Thursday night. I've got work the next day, but realistically I can come in hungover and nobody will care. My best friend wants me to go out drinking. I make some half-hearted protests. "man, i REALLY should be responsible". but because he's more charismatic I end up going out. am I a 'victim'?

i LIKE having Ferrises around. they make my life more interesting and keep me from sinking into depression. and if one of my friends is spending too much time doing nothing i like to encourage them to come out and have fun
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:43 PM on March 17, 2011


I'm not asking you to prove anything.

No, you're just suggesting I haven't seen the movie because you disagree with my interpretation of it.

How does that make Ferris not a dick? "The victim was asking for it" isn't the greatest defense, is it?

It would be helpful if you made ANY attempt to define what characteristics you think dicks possess. Because right now, you're just coughing up circular logic: Ferris is a dick because he behaves like dicks do. There's nothing to your argument.

How does that make Ferris not a dick? "The victim was asking for it" isn't the greatest defense, is it?

I'm guessing that since you haven't made any attempt to define what a "dick" is, you're probably never going to define what a "victim" is.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:50 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wouldn't take no for an answer. Textbook dick.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:58 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, you're just suggesting I haven't seen the movie because you disagree with my interpretation of it.

No, I'm suggesting you haven't seen the movie because you asserted that it did not contain a scene that is not only in the movie but that I linked to. Unless you meant that the only way that emotional and financial damage was foreseeable would be if the movie literally contained the verbatim quote that you provided, in which case I stand corrected but respectfully disagree.

But come on - the reason that scene works is precisely because horrible consequences are totally foreseeable. The audience is cringing right along with Cameron and knows that the tension of the movie is going to include crazy stuff happening to the car. Why would the filmmakers include a scene that is all about what a bad idea it is to take this extra special super valuable one of only one hundred made 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California if it was unforeseeable that financial and emotional harm would result from taking it? Why not just use a beat-up 1968 VW Beetle and just have Cameron say "yeah, but my dad really likes it a lot?" Seriously, you're telling me that you sat in that movie and did not think there was any chance of economic harm coming from that? You totally didn't see it coming?

It would be helpful if you made ANY attempt to define what characteristics you think dicks possess. Because right now, you're just coughing up circular logic: Ferris is a dick because he behaves like dicks do. There's nothing to your argument.

I have said several times that one thing that dicks do is bully their friends. I have also said that anyone who bullies their friends is a dick. I went so far as to describe a Venn diagram to illustrate that aspect of the definition. You said that Ferris bullied Cameron. Under my definition of "dick," which includes, but is not limited to, all individuals who bully their friends, Ferris is a dick.

But I can see how you might be confused if you thought I was saying this whole time that Ferris Bueller is a 1940s detective. I would totally have been wrong about that.

I'm guessing that since you haven't made any attempt to define what a "dick" is, you're probably never going to define what a "victim" is.

Let's just go with the first definition that pops up in a Google search: "an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance"

Now, is Ferris' dickish conduct funny? Oh yes.
Does Ferris' dickish conduct ultimately contribute to Cameron's growth as a person? Sure. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, etc., or whatever.
posted by The World Famous at 6:15 PM on March 17, 2011


Was that an answer to my question? Are you saying that, because you don't think it was hard for Ferris to convince Cameron, Ferris was, therefore, not being a dick?

On the one hand you could that since Cameron is still stunted by his loveless childhood, he's still a child in some ways and that Ferris has some responsibility for looking out for his stunted friend. Taking the car was huge action, fraught with all types of consequences, which would mostly, if not totally fall on Cameron.

On the other hand, Cameron isn't stupid and understands the risk of taking the car, yet quite willingly goes along with it. He never attempts to stop Ferris at all, merely protests the action and when it's done, cautiously goes along with it.

Calling what Ferris a bully and Cameron his victim based on the above strikes me as out of left field. You could argue their relationship isn't the healthiest perhaps or that they both have issues, but the dynamic you keep insisting is there doesn't match what I see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Calling what Ferris a bully and Cameron his victim based on the above strikes me as out of left field. You could argue their relationship isn't the healthiest perhaps or that they both have issues, but the dynamic you keep insisting is there doesn't match what I see.

23skidoo is the one who characterized Ferris' actions as having "bullied a friend into taking their dad's car without permission." I've just been going with that characterization to ensure that there is no disagreement between 23skidoo and me about it. 23skidoo insisted above that "bull[ying] a friend into taking their dad's car without permission" does not rise to the level of being a dick, even when the car in question is one of the most valuable cars in the world.

Independent of my full technical analysis of the issue and silly arguments about the definition of "dick" and "victim," I just have a visceral reaction when watching that scene in particular but much of the rest of the movie, as well. I just react by thinking "man, what a dick." And by laughing, because it's hilarious.
posted by The World Famous at 6:42 PM on March 17, 2011


My best mate is like that. Honestly people hang around with him because he's a dick, but the right kind of dick. He's not going to hurt anyone or cause real trouble. He's just going to make life more annoying and interesting
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:01 PM on March 17, 2011


you have a broken dickometer

I know *exactly* how many miles are on my dick. Also, running it in reverse doesn't work.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:19 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The World Famous: I think you're definition of "dick" is perhaps flawed, at least as how I use the term. A "dick" is someone who is not just blind to consequences of their actions, a dick usually knows that there are negative consequences and doesn't care, their only motivation is self-interest. Dicks don't have friends, just people who let themselves be abused.

As I see it, most of the evidence points to Ferris having good intentions, for himself *and* his friends, and that he really believed he could handle the consequences if anything went wrong. I don't see how you can say Ferris either thinks things are likely to go wrong, or that he's going to let Cameron get screwed if they do. You can argue that he should have been more aware of the risks and adjusted his actions accordingly, but that's not the same thing has having a lack of concern for others. I mean, he's a teenager. And part of the reason why he's such a popular, successful kid, is that he's played his cards well and been able to deal with the consequences of his actions until now. Misguided and immature, maybe yes. A dick, no.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:38 PM on March 17, 2011


But I can see how you might be confused if you thought I was saying this whole time that Ferris Bueller is a 1940s detective.

Jesus. Seriously, I'd be much more inclined to listen to someone tell me that I didn't understand what being a dick meant if it wasn't coming from someone who was openly being a dick to me in this thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:11 PM on March 17, 2011


I'd be much more inclined to listen to someone tell me that I didn't understand what being a dick meant

It was a jokey response to your own repeated complaint that you thought I hadn't provided a precise enough definition of the word.

I was responding to the following statements that you made:

you've said nothing beyond "Ferris is a dick because I that's how I define being a dick", so I don't think I'm gonna change my mind.

It would be helpful if you made ANY attempt to define what characteristics you think dicks possess. Because right now, you're just coughing up circular logic: Ferris is a dick because he behaves like dicks do. There's nothing to your argument.

I'm guessing that since you haven't made any attempt to define what a "dick" is, you're probably never going to define what a "victim" is.

So sorry if I came across differently than I intended. I was trying to make light of how ridiculous it was to argue about semantic differences between apparently-unstated or misunderstood meanings of the term "dick." Ultimately, it's just a dumb and fun discussion about a funny movie. But it is also interesting to see that people apparently have different opinions as to whether friends who bully them are dicks. I'm of the opinion that friends who bully me are dicks. You apparently (clearly) disagree with that fairly absolutist position and think that friends who bully are not necessarily dicks if, what their heart is in the right place or something?

Anyway, sorry you think I'm being a dick. On the bright side, at least what you consider to be me being a dick doesn't cost you a few hundred thousand dollars like Ferris Bueller's conduct that you apparently don't consider dickish.
posted by The World Famous at 10:10 AM on March 18, 2011


Anyway, sorry you think I'm being a dick.

It's not that I *think* you're being a dick, you're just BEING a dick. Picking apart everything I say to try and show me that I'm wrong about my opinion is being dick. Insinuating I haven't seen the movie is being dick. Starting a sentence with "Sorry you think that..." is being a dick.

Being a dick has nothing to do with money, or how much things cost.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:08 AM on March 18, 2011


Oh for crying out loud. You think I'm a dick because I'm explaining why I disagree with you? But you explicitly state, yourself, that Ferris Bueller is a "manipulative liar" (your words), but you insist that he's not a dick? What the hell is your definition of "dick?"

Look: We've established that your definition of "dick" is different from mine and that's fine. We don't have to agree.

You say that "Ferris may be an overprivileged, rich, manipulative liar, but basically it takes someone like that to make Cameron come alive." I think that anyone who is an overprivileged, rich, manipulative liar is, by definition, a dick. In my opinion, there's no such thing as a manipulative liar who is not a dick. But you think that the word "dick" is a higher bar than just "manipulative liar." That's fine. We disagree.

I think bullying your friends is being a dick, and you don't.

Being a dick has nothing to do with money, or how much things cost.

I understand that that is your opinion. In my opinion, a manipulative liar who bullies their friend into joyriding one of the most valuable cars on earth is more of a dick than if they bullied their friend into joyriding a cheap POS car. Or, to remove the aspects of that example that you and I disagree about (i.e. the Ferris Bueller part), a dick who does something to me that costs me a million dollars is more of a dick than someone who costs me ten dollars.

Starting a sentence with "Sorry you think that..." is being a dick.

So I'm a dick if I don't agree with you when you call me a dick? Is there some way that I can respond to you calling me a dick where you won't keep calling me a dick?
posted by The World Famous at 11:30 AM on March 18, 2011


On the bright side, at least what you consider to be me being a dick doesn't cost you a few hundred thousand dollars like Ferris Bueller's conduct that you apparently don't consider dickish.

Leaving aside the whole contemplation on the nature of dickishness, the presentation of the car in the film is framed in a way that suggests that taking the car is the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint. As pointed out previously in the thread Ferris himself is not poor and has a lot of expensive crap, but rather than status symbols these are tools that he uses to have fun or do the things he wants to do (such as using his expensive stereo equipment to fake staying home, or using his computer for hacking).

Cameron's parents, on the other hand, buy expensive things and never use them, which in the film is presented in a very negative way. Cameron's house is described as being museum-like and he says that his father never actually drives the car, while at the same time his father loves the car more than he loves his family. Ferris' carpe diem attitude that dominates the film goes completely against this, because in this view living life to the fullest (with all of the inherent dangers and consequences of doing so) is more important than playing it safe. So while he clearly appreciates the value of the car, he also thinks it's absurd to buy it and keep it in a garage without ever using it.

The actual destruction of the car is the one point in the film where one of Ferris' close calls actually results in something truly bad happening, but from the film's perspective at least this is not suggested to be an indictment of Ferris' reckless behavior. Normally in these sorts of situations in films, it's a wake up call for the renegade character to think more about how their actions affect others, but in this one it's mostly a moment of catharsis for Cameron. Cameron could adopt an attitude like his father's that it's not worth having fun at the risk of negative consequences (such as driving a very expensive car), but instead rejects that by saying that the day was the best day of his life.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:33 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Amidst the massive aftermath of the earthquake and...  |  The Coca Cola Case is a 2009 N... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments