Time Moves On, Yet Stands Still With “Ferris Bueller”

I am 46 years old and most of the time, I mentally fell like I’m still that 17-year-old kid ruling the school [at least in my mind] and looking forward to my senior year at Gov. John R. Rogers High School in Puyallup, Wash. Ferris_Bueller's_Day_Off

If there is ever a time to feel immortal, it is your senior year of high school. Especially when you are down to your last few weeks in the classroom. Sure, there may be a final or two to go through, but for the most part, you are on cruise control. Chances are good that your grades are in, you have been accepted at at least one college, and, barring something insane like setting fire to the school’s theater, graduation is a fait accompli and all you have to worry about is spending the next three months of summer partying with your buddies and trying to score with your girlfriend. And let’s admit it; for about 99.8% of us, that is EXACTLY how you spent your last summer vacation before heading off to college.

But, as Neil Peart wrote and Geddy Lee sang in the Rush song, “Dreamline”…”We’re only immortal/For a limited time.” And today, nothing is showing me how mortal I am than the John Hughes classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

Why today? Because on June 5, 1985, 29 years ago, “Ferris” premiered at movie theaters across the country. For a generation of kids born in the late 60s, who went through grade school in the 70s and grew up loving Ronald Reagan and hating the Russians in the 80s, “Ferris” was our “Godfather”. Everyone saw it, usually more than once, everyone loved it, and we all imagined ourselves to be as cool as Ferris even if we were more like his hypochondriac best friend Cameron.

Yeah, time doesn’t really matter to Ferris. As played by Matthew Broderick in the role that still defines him, Ferris is able to:

–Convince his parents he’s sick enough to stay home from school.

–Hack into the school’s computer to re-jigger his number of days off.

–Cajole Cameron into letting him race his dad’s Ferrari around Chicago.

–Go to the observation deck of the Sears Tower

–Have lunch at a posh restaurant

–Visit a museum

–Take in a Cubs afternoon game where he ends up on TV after catching a foul ball

–And, in one of the most-famous scenes in any movie from the 80s or any decade, commandeer a float in a parade in downtown Chicago and lead a crowd of thousands in a a version of “Twist and Shout” that must have netted the Beatles at least a few perfomers’ royalty checks.

Rarely have I left a movie so overjoyed than when I exited the theater after seeing “Ferris”. I’m sure I saw it with a few of my buddies, and it was probably at the Puyallup Cinemas back when we could score a coupon for Thursday night for $1.50. This was back when the regular price of $4.50 a ticket was astronomical.

I still love “Ferris” and watch it a couple of times a year, either on DVD or Netflix, where it is currently streaming. Yeah, parts of it are dated, as are parts of all John Hughes films. It’s tagline was “Leisure Rules” and when I watch it, I feel like there’s still a chance that I, too, can embrace leisure and have a day off as incredible as Ferris.

Time changes as it passes and you get older. “Ferris” came out 29 years ago, and yet, those nearly three decades seem as close as yesterday. It’s all color and good times. But when I think about 29 years before “Ferris”, it’s a black-and-white world. I mean, 1956? The Suez Crisis? Ike getting elected to a second term? James Dean in “Giant”? Was there even a color TV on the market then?

Today, I am 46. And Twenty nine years from now, if I am still around, I will be 75. That’s three generations removed from “Ferris'” debut. I am sure my kids will look back on the iPads and events on today and feel they are as ancient as those days of 1956 were to me when I was 17.

But Ferris will remain the same age. And although I am older, and now matter how old I get, when I watch “Ferris” I know I will always feel like “Leisure Rules” and it’s possible to still have a great, and young-feeling day off.



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