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Monday, September 03, 2012

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Good morning, everybody, and for those of you who are observing it, I wish you all a very happy Labour Day (or Labor Day if you happen to be American).

I have to say that this Labour Day is especially going to be a great one because it is the first one since 2004 where I have not had to go in for work!  That makes this particular Labour Day even more special for me.

In fact, I think I’m going to celebrate Labour Day by doing as little labour as humanly possible.  After all, in order to get today off, I had to work seven in a row.

(I really don’t recommend working seven days in a row, by the way.)

So, considering that today is Labour Day, I thought that I would choose a movie in which someone else celebrates a day off.  Can you imagine just how enjoyable a day off can be?  Imagine having a day where you have zero commitments.  Twenty-four hours of doing whatever you want to do.  I think everyone deserves to have a day like that every now and again.

Now imagine a day where you admittedly blow off your responsibilities and your duties, and you go ahead and do what you want to do anyway.  Does that sound like fun?

And, yes, I am talking about playing hooky.

I’ll admit this right now.  I have never faked being sick in order to get out of a shift at work.  However, I’ll readily admit to skipping school a few times.  My parents would actually kill me if they ever read this, but since it’s been years since I have been in high school, I would often use my allergy symptoms to my advantage.  Yes, it’s true...I used to fake being sick on a few occasions...and since I already had sniffles from my allergies, I could be quite convincing.  Though I also admit that when I was playing hooky from school, it wasn’t necessarily due to wanting to get out of tests or major assignments.  It was more along the lines of “I don’t really want to be picked on today, so I deserve a day in which I can avoid it”. 

But that was when I was sixteen and emo.  I’ve matured since then.  But at any rate, I don’t regret skipping the odd day of school because those days really allowed me to get to know myself a little bit better.

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT an invitation for any of you to skip school.  Though, I readily admit that my disclaimer pretty much means zip at this point...I just wanted to put it there so that I can say that I at least WARNED people not to skip school.

Anyway, today’s movie is all about a guy who just wanted to play hooky from school.  He just wanted a day off, like everyone else, and he planned to spend the day in downtown Chicago with his best friend and girlfriend.  But with so many people standing in his way to stop his fun, is there any way that he can relax and enjoy his spontaneous day off from school without being caught?

That’s the question that a teenage boy named Ferris Bueller asked himself one spring day in 1986.

The movie that we’re going to be studying is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.  Released on June 11, 1986, the film starred Matthew Broderick in the title role.  In fact, if my memory serves me, this movie was the one that cemented Matthew Broderick’s status on the Hollywood A-List.  But Matthew Broderick wasn’t the only person to make a name for himself by appearing in the film.  Other people who had roles in the film were Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Ben Stein, Kristy Swanson, and Charlie Sheen.

Unlike most Monday Matinee features that I have done in the past, where I leap heavily into plot discussion, I won’t really go into much detail here.  Basically, the whole movie is about Ferris Bueller skipping school, and having one last adventure before he and his friends go off to college.  There’s a lot of fourth-wall breaking, a lot of Mr. Rooney (Jones) getting himself in one precarious position after another, and a rather surprise ending that one can view upon watching the closing credits.

Oh, and of course, there’s this famous scene.

I’ll have more scenes from the movie as we go along...but seeing as how this is my day off, I didn’t really want to bore you with details of the plot when you could just watch and enjoy the movie.

But what I think I will do this time around is give you some behind the scenes information about this movie.  I’ve done this before with some of the television shows that we have talked about in this blog before, and I thought that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was deserving of the behind the scenes spotlight.  After all, I found out some interesting things about the casting, the filming, the soundtrack, and other miscellaneous goodies about this film classic.

It’s been twenty-six years since Ferris Bueller took his day off.  Now let’s learn about what went into the production with this list of trivia.

1 – The film opened in 1,330 theatres and made over $70 million at the box office, making it the tenth most successful film of 1986.

2 – Director John Hughes kept a spiral notebook on him to record the progress of the film as it was being shot!

3 – The reason behind John Hughes’ decision to make Chicago the primary setting for the movie was because he wanted to make the movie a “love letter to the city”, and Hughes especially wanted to capture the spirit of the city on film. 

4 – John Hughes specifically wrote the screenplay with Broderick in mind for the lead role.

5 – Initially, Hughes wanted someone older to play the role of 17-year-old Sloane Peterson, but when eighteen-year-old Mia Sara auditioned, John gave her the part on the spot.

6 – Molly Ringwald was also interested in the role, but John Hughes decided not to cast her, believing that the part was not big enough for her.  It made sense, given that Molly had just starred in “Pretty in Pink” just four months earlier.

7 – In the movie, the role of Cameron Frye was supposed to be in his late teens.  Alan Ruck, who played Cameron was 29 when he was cast.

8 – Here’s an interesting connection between Alan Ruck and Emilio Estevez.  Initially, Ruck had auditioned for the role of Bender in “The Breakfast Club”, which starred Estevez.  Although the role eventually went to Judd Nelson, Hughes remembered Ruck’s audition and cast him for the role of Cameron Frye.  To make this connection even more stunning, Emilio Estevez was originally offered the role of Cameron, but he turned it down!  Talk about great luck for Alan Ruck!

(And, no, I didn’t intentionally mean for that to rhyme.)

9 – Filming for the film began in September 1985 and lasted until November.  The iconic parade scene (featured below) was filmed on September 28, 1985.

10 – The parade scene caused a lot of apprehension for Matthew Broderick because he was nervous about performing on top of a float in front of thousands of people.  In the end, it worked out well.

11 – Funny story about that parade scene.  Would you like to know how the movie ended up getting so many people to show up?  It was all thanks to a couple of radio stations advertising the film shoot, asking people if they wanted to appear in a John Hughes movie.  Close to 10,000 people showed up!  No wonder Matthew Broderick was initially afraid!

12 – Although choreographer Kenny Ortega had taught Broderick some dance steps to perform in the film, due to a knee injury that Broderick sustained during filming, most of the routines had to be scrapped.  In fact, Broderick’s performance during the Twist and Shout segment was completely improvised.

13 – There was at least one person who wasn’t a fan of the “Twist and Shout” segment.  Paul McCartney was quoted as saying that while he liked the film, he hated that the version of the Beatles “Twist and Shout” was overdubbed with a brass band. 

14 – “Twist and Shout wasn’t the only song that appeared in the film’s soundtrack.  Other artists who contributed to the film’s soundtrack included Wayne Newton, The Dream Academy, The (English) Beat, and this song featured below.

ARTIST:  Yello
SONG:  Oh Yeah
ALBUM:  Stella
DATE RELEASED:  July 11, 1985

15 – Matthew Broderick was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the film.

16 – Contrary to what one may believe, no real 1961 Ferrari GT California convertibles were destroyed during the filming of the movie.  The ones that were damaged were replicas.

17 – Wrigley Field celebrated the 25th anniversary of the film’s release in October 2011 showed the film on three huge screens on the infield.

18 – At the 1990 commencement speech for the graduating class of Wellesley College, then First Lady Barbara Bush paraphrased a quote uttered by Ferris Bueller in the movie.  The quote was “Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

19 – A short-lived television series based on the movie once aired in 1990 on NBC.  The sitcom starred Charlie Schlatter as Ferris Bueller, and the series also starred Jennifer Aniston and Ami Dolenz.  The show only lasted half a season before getting cancelled.

20 – Matthew Broderick filmed a spoof of Ferris Bueller for a 2012 Super Bowl commercial.  To conclude this entry, let’s watch the commercial.  J

Coming up next week on the Monday Matinee, we'll be looking at a film that was released over thirty years ago that made us look at archaeologists and gigantic boulders through a different angle.

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