Monday, September 27, 2010

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (DVD)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (DVD) Release date: 1986. Performers: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey. Studio: Paramount Pictures. Director: John Hughes. Screenplay: John Hughes. ISBN: 0097360313345.

Plot summary: Well-known 1980’s teen movie writer and director John Hughes introduces the world to one of his most famous characters in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Played by Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller is fun-loving, popular, and charismatic, and, for one day, decides he has no other choice but to take the day off from school. Ferris begins his day by explaining to the audience in detail how to successfully fake sick, then goes on to enlist the help of best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to help get girlfriend Simone (Mia Sara) out of school too. The trio spend a whirlwind day experiencing all that downtown Chicago has to offer, including art museums, baseball games, the Sears Tower, and a ritzy lunch. School principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), however, realizes he has been outsmarted by Ferris one too many times, and spends the day attempting to catch Ferris in the act and prove he is not really as sick as they have been lead to believe. Also determined to ensure Ferris’ day goes awry is his bitter younger sister, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), who is tired of playing second fiddle to her brother’s popularity. Will Ferris be able to have the exciting day off he has planned without getting caught, or will Mr. Rooney and Jeanie finally get their revenge?

Critical evaluation: Few films stand the test of time quite like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has managed. Although it was released almost 25 years ago, the plot and characters are still just as appealing to teens and adults as they were in 1986. Perhaps one of the primary reasons this movie is still considered one of the finest for the high school audience is the charisma and lovability of Matthew Broderick as Ferris. Broderick’s endearing and believable portrayal of a character who, based on his actions, is actually quite deceptive and crafty drives the majority of the film. Never once does the audience want Ferris to fail, relishing instead in the increasingly bizarre predicaments of Ferris’ principal, Mr. Rooney, and sister, Jeanie. Not to be overlooked in the film, however, are the very real, hard-hitting issues raised by Ferris’ neglected, neurotic best friend, Cameron. From the start of the movie, it is clear that Cameron is the embodiment of the struggles many teens have with their parents, particularly the fragile father-son relationship. Cameron's efforts to work through these issues as Ferris tries his best to show him a good time create an important and touching sub-plot. Overall, a very relevant and entertaining film for teens and adults, despite its age.

Reader's annotation: Ferris Bueller rules his high school, but today he can't see any way around taking the day off. Watch as Ferris, his best friend, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Simone, try to outwit their menancing principal while having as much fun as possible in one day!

About the author (screenplay): John Hughes was one of the most well-known writers and directors of teen movies in the 1980s and early 1990s. Born in 1950 and passing away just recently in August of 2009, Hughes' films are among the most famous and beloved of their time. Besides Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Hughes was also the mind behind National Lampoon's Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Uncle Buck, and Home Alone. Many of Hughes' films stand out due to many of the characteristics they share. Typically, Hughes' films take place in Illinois, which plays a large role in the plot. Hughes' scripts also included characters speaking directly to the audience, something that was usually looked down upon in films up until that point. Hughes also emphasized popular culture and music in his films, making them veritable time capsules for their generation. Despite retreating from the public eye in 1994, Hughes' films are universally acknowledged as some of the best, not only for teens, but for all ages to love and enjoy. Hughes died peacefully in New York of a heart attack at age 59. (from

Genre: Comedy

Curriculum ties:

1980's pop-culture

Booktalking ideas:

Skipping school/school attendance
Relationships between students, teachers and administrators
Father-son relationships
Sibling rivalry
1980's pop-culture

Reading level/Interest age: MPAA PG-13

Challenge issues:
Lying to parents, teachers and administrators

Challenge counterpoints:
MPAA rating of PG-13 acts as guide for parent.
Recommend parent watch film before children if concerned about content.
Recommend parent discuss items checked out from library with children if concerned child might check-out item from library and view without their knowledge.
Recommend parent watch film with child.
Recommend parent discuss truancy with child and set-up family policy.

Reasons for inclusion:
Crically acclaimed and popular. Written and directed by John Hughes, one of most notable writer/directors in young adult films.

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