Life Moves Pretty Fast

Leisure rules with enduring endearing slacker: Meridian Parks & Rec presents the John Hughes teen comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for free Outdoor Movie Night at the Lomax Amphitheater April 16

MERIDIAN – Everybody from any generation is sure to remember skipping school at some time or other. But nobody goes to such lengths to make that day extra memorable as lovable rogue Ferris Bueller, his reluctant friend Cameron and elegant-but-game girlfriend Sloane as the truant trio takes on Chicago. Using elaborate ruses to fake out the adults, the trio “borrow” a 1961 250GT California Spyder Ferrari and “go to town.” Oh Yeah!

Even while school mates organize a fundraiser for his health, the only ones not buying Beuller’s feigned sickness is a very annoyed sister Jeanie and very frustrated High School Principal Ed Rooney. Jeanie spends most of the movie resentful of Ferris's popularity and his seeming ability to get away with anything. Rooney says Bueller jeopardizes his ability to effectively govern the student body and that he gives good kids bad ideas.

Come see a day in Chicago with the “righteous dude” possessing a boundless amount of “cool” as Meridian Parks & Recreation presents the iconic 1980s teen comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off for its free Outdoor Movie Night at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian Park at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. In the case of inclement weather, the movie presentation will be moved inside across the street at the Meridian Civic Center.

Entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m. with pre-movie music played over the state-of-the-art sound system, followed by a classic cartoon short and preview of upcoming movies prior to the featured film. As always, the Meridian Parks & Rec will be providing free hot dogs, popcorn, water and various other treats while supplies last.

Written, directed and co-produced by gifted film maker John Hughes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a 1986 American teen comedy starring Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara and Alan Ruck. It is an ode to Bueller’s youthful energy and exuberance, a study into Cameron’s teen angst and melancholy world view, and the stage for the happy-to-tag along pretty girlfriend.

“This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count,” Bueller explains at the beginning of the movie, breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience.

According to “While The Breakfast Club has become iconic for its honest and sympathetic depiction of teenagers and their struggles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off offered the audience a protagonist who was self-assured, knew how to work the system, and might be the coolest teenager ever.”

The songs, the zany day’s activities, Broderick talking directly to the audience, the iconic quotes all add to the fun of the movie, but it’s Bueller’s cool that has everybody wishing they could be more like him.

School Secretary Grace sums it up when she tells Rooney: “Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.”

First Lady Barbara Bush even paraphrased the film in her 1990 commencement address at Wellesley College: "Find the joy in life, because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, 'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!'"

At the core of the film lies the fact that Ferris is just trying to do right by his friend, get him to loosen up, so that in the future he’ll get more out of life – this gives the movie significant depth.

The line by Bueller “Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond,” captures his uptight friend perfectly.

Essayist Steve Almond called Ferris “the most sophisticated teen movie [he] had ever seen," adding that while Hughes had made a lot of good movies, Ferris was the "one film [he] would consider true art, [the] only one that reaches toward the ecstatic power of teendom and, at the same time, exposes the true, piercing woe of that age." Almond also applauded Ruck's performance, going so far as saying he deserved the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1986: "His performance is what elevates the film, allows it to assume the power of a modern parable," Almond said.

In 2006, Entertainment Weekly ranked Ferris Beuller’s Day Off number 10 on it's 50 Best High School Movies. Hughes’ The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off were both inducted into the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress for being culturally significant.

Whereas most critics loved the movie, others were less enamored taking issue with the film's "rebel without a cause" hedonism. The film was Hughes's love letter to Chicago: "I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could. Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit."

During the parade, several of the people seen dancing – including the construction worker and the window washer – originally had nothing to do with the film. They were simply dancing to the music being played, and Hughes found it so humorous that he told the camera operators to record it.

Enjoy the fun-packed day as the truant trio goes to the top of the Sears Tower, attends a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, sing in the Von Steuben German American Day celebration parade, visit the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, contemplate art at Chicago’s Art Institute, eat at a fancy French restaurant and finally wreck the fabulous chariot that took them to Chicago.

This leads to Cameron’s catharsis he has to change his attitude to life and him saying “I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it.”

Hughes filled the movie with personal touches – Ferris' bedroom mirrored mostly on his own bedroom when he was in high school. Hughes said that the room was a disorganized series of pop references and other things, because it would represent Ferris' mind. The Chicago Art Institute was one of Hughes’ favorite places to visit. The address of Ferris's house is Hughes’ address when he was a kid. And the scene where Bueller picks up Sloane from school, acting as her father is in front of Hughes’ former high school

Because it was too expensive to rent one, the Ferrari was not a real Ferrari. Three replicas were made, using an MG chassis, each with a fiberglass body. The producers received several angry letters from car enthusiasts who thought it was a real invaluable Ferrari that was wrecked.

Ben Stein – the economics teacher famous for his “Class? Anyone? Anyone?” – was exceptionally moved by the film, calling it "the most life-affirming movie possibly of the entire post-war period."

"It will never die, because it responds to, and calls forth such human emotions,” Stein added. “It isn't dirty. There's nothing mean-spirited about it. There's nothing sneering or sniggering about it. It's just wholesome. We want to be free. We want to have a good time. We know we're not going to be able to all our lives. We know we're going to have to buckle down and work. We know we're going to have to eventually become family men and women, and have responsibilities and pay our bills. But just give us a couple of good days that we can look back on."

Except for Principal Rooney, almost everyone in this film is left satisfied, which in turn is satisfying for the audience. So much so, that they stay after the end credits, just to see Bueller come out into the hall way with a puzzled look saying: "You're still here? It's over. Go home. Go"

So be sure to check out Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Saturday at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian Park. After all, as Ferris points out, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


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