[Ferris Bueller’s Day Off] Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Director: John Hughes

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck

Screenplay: John Hughes

104 mins. Rated PG-13.

 

Apparently, today is Ferris Bueller’s Actual Day Off, or at least the best approximation. There’s no set date but research was done that June 5 as the most likely day that Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick, The Producers, Wonder Park) took off back in the 80s, and it seems a good time to actually celebrate this day in honor of all the kids who didn’t get to skip school in 2020 because school was skipped for them.

Ferris Bueller is the most popular kid in school, and he’s decided to take a day off of school by faking sick. His best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck, Twister, TV’s Succession), is out of class today as well because he can’t find a reason to get out of bed. Ferris convinces his buddy to partake in a day’s adventure in Chicago alongside Ferris’s girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara, Timecop, Daughter of Darkness), all the while evading his parents and school principal Ed Rooney, who has a vendetta against Bueller.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has a mood all its own, and there are elements of it in other John Hughes (Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Breakfast Club), it stands all on its own. With the inclusion of Yello’s “Oh Yeah,” a song that wasn’t in the pop culture landscape before its release, this film is every high school student’s dream movie. I saw it for the first time as a child, and I said to myself, “That’s going to be me one day.” Long story short, it wasn’t. More often than not, I was Cameron. There were moments of Ferris, but I leaned into Cameron too.

That’s what is so great about the characters in this film. At times, we are all a Ferris and we are all a Cameron. Broderick finds a way to make a wildly unrealistic character like Ferris into an incredibly relatable idol. He’s a guy who has an answer for every situation, but he also finds himself taking advantage of those around him that doesn’t always have solid consequences. When he confronts some of his own faults later in the film, and he finds that his skills don’t always work, he has to let go of his ego…slightly.

Cameron is another character that, while relatable, could have been very annoying. Cameron is the kind of character that isn’t always easy to translate, but having suffered with confidence and self-worth in the past, his arc works quite well. He’s struggling the whole film with trying to find his worth and trying to connect with a distant parent, and all of Ferris’s pokes and prods are unable to empower him. Cameron’s strength needs to come from within, but he is unable to bring it forth.

The question comes up a lot as to who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist of the film, and I guess there’s no clear answer. While some would call Cameron the protagonist and Ferris the antagonist, I would go the simpler route of protagonist Ferris as the protagonist and Rooney as the antagonist. There’s even talk about whether or not Ferris is even real or just an imagined friend for Cameron. That’s a lot of crazy talk. Ferris the protagonist who gets the ball rolling on the plot and Rooney is a classic antagonist. Rooney is not inherently a bad guy but he is against Ferris.

None of that matters, though, because however you choose to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it’s a damn enjoyable film. It’s very unrealistic, but writer/director John Hughes pulls off a movie that works on so many levels. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it takes advantage of a interesting world (is the Shermerverse a thing?) of fun characters and uniquely-tense situations. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is worth revisiting or seeing for the first time. It hasn’t even aged all that much. See it now. Go on, take the day off.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Anthony Michael Hall Joins Halloween Kills as…Tommy Doyle?

Anthony Michael Hall, most well-known for appearing in The Dark Knight and The Breakfast Club, has joined the cast of the upcoming Halloween Kills.

As reported by Variety, Hall will be playing Tommy Doyle, a character known to fans of the original 1978 Halloween. Tommy Doyle was the boy Laurie Strode was babysitting on that horrific night when Michael Myers went on his killing spree. The last we saw of the character was in the now-decanonized Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, where he was portrayed as an adult by Paul Rudd.

As of right now, Hall is only listed as appearing in Halloween Kills, which is a smart move, considering this is a slasher series and not much is known about the size of the role. Personally, I see Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends as being a two-parter where Kills will end with some sort of a shock or a cliffhanger. For me, the death of Tommy Doyle could be that cliffhanger. That could be what sets in motion the events of this purported final chapter, and not knowing if he’ll be in the final film leaves him in danger for the film. I really hope more unique and interesting casting announcements continue to drop for Halloween Kills, and I hope that none of them list casting for Halloween Ends until after Kills comes out.

So what do you think? Is casting Anthony Michael Hall a good choice for Tommy Doyle in Halloween Kills? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[12 Days of Christmas] On the Eighth Day… Home Alone (1990)

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Director: Chris Columbus

Cast: Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara

Screenplay: John Hughes

103 mins. Rated PG.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Music, Original Song “Somewhere in My Memory”
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Music, Original Score

 

Growing up, I was not a major fan of Home Alone. I can’t really say why, but perhaps I feel like the film was oversaturated and existed in such a wide capacity that it was just too much. Every year with this film, and I often confused the events of the first film with those of the second which was very jarring.

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At the behest of my mother, who adores the film, I took a look back on it a few years back. My feelings were very different that time around.

Kevin McAllister (Macauley Culkin, Richie Rich, Sex and Breakfast) doesn’t connect with his family. In fact, he wishes he never had a family. When he awakens one morning to discover that his family is gone, he is overjoyed that his wish came true. Kevin’s family has gone to France without him, but now he is home alone while two criminals named Harry (Joe Pesci, GoodFellas, The Good Shepherd) and Marv (Daniel Stern, TV’s Manhattan, City Slickers), known as the Wet Bandits, try to break into his home. It is up to Kevin to protect his home and himself while his mother (Catherine O’Hara, The Nightmare Before Christmas, A.C.O.D.) attempts to get back home to spend Christmas with her son.

I like this movie much more as an adult. There is something about returning to the imagination like a situation like this actually happening. I didn’t have the growing up experience where I wanted to get rid of my family. I enjoyed Macauley Culkin’s ability to carry this movie and the great supporting work from Pesci and Stern certainly help. John Hughes (Vacation, The Breakfast Club) knows how to write a screenplay, and this is one drastically different from his 1980’s teen comedy work. Then there’s Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), who isn’t so much a good director as he is a capable one. He does fine work here assisted by a powerful and unsettling score from John Williams.

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Looking back, Home Alone was a fun time to watch a movie. It has the insane premise which amazingly works quite well, it isn’t derailed by a less-than-amazing Chris Columbus or the bumbling thieves or even the quite rude family members. Still a fun time; still a Christmas miracle.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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