Ferris Bueller cut school 25 years ago: Can we finally admit we're all Cameron?

Ferris-Bueller

Image Credit: Everett Collection

There’s a line in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which swept into theaters 25 years ago tomorrow, in which flustered principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) laments to his glue-sniffing secretary (Edie McClurg), “What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas.”

Rooney, of course, was right. If you were a teenager in 1986, Bueller’s on-screen exploits provided vicarious rebellion for kids who were naturally more Cameron Frye than Ferris. The idea of hacking the school’s computer, playing hooky, cruising to the city in a Ferrari convertible, impersonating a police officer, catching a Cubs game, and lip-syncing “Twist and Shout” on a parade float, all in the same day, forced real-life high school administrators to deal with amateur copycats who inevitably lacked the nerve and suavity to get away with even less-ambitious escapades. (For the record, a morning at Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, N.J., followed by an afternoon on a rusty backyard trampoline would never have dragged Cameron out of his deathbed. Still, it seemed audacious at the time.)

Watching Bueller today from the other side of the maturity chasm is a slightly different experience. Some have proposed that it’s a deeper, more interesting film viewed through a Fight Club lens, but I think it still holds up as what it intended it to be. Though I’m less entranced by Ferris’ contrived coolness, my sympathy hasn’t shifted towards the adults in the filmĀ  — Rooney and the teachers, Ferris’ blindly trusting parents, the snooty/snotty maitre d’ at Chez Quis — who are dolts all. Instead, Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) is my new Ferris. Her life is so unfair when it comes to her brother, and her ultimate reward for standing up for herself is making out with a drugged-out Charlie Sheen. Poor girl. I hope she blackmailed her bratty kid brother for years after his historic day off.

Can you believe that Ferris Bueller came out 25 years ago? Where would he be today? Certainly not a “fry cook on Venus,” as Cameron joked. Has 25 years shifted your loyalties or at least impacted the way you enjoy the movie? Can you admit now that you are and have always been more Cameron than Ferris — and that you really looked stupid wearing that Ferris-imitation vest and beret?

Read more:
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ as an awful dramedy
‘Ferris Bueller’ hits Twitter

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  • JP

    Ferris, you’re still a righteous dude! I was too much of a goody goody to cut school. But, it would’ve been nice to have done it back in the day.

    • LMFAO

      I still have a chub for Ferris’ GF.

  • Zach

    Save Ferris!

  • Nee Nee

    There’s no way in a million years I would have cut school with him. The time since that movie came out hasn’t changed my perspective. I actually already sympathized with his sister, and thought her life did suck. But I also really liked Ferris. I can’t feel any sympathy toward Principal Rooney, because that’s the kind of principal that’s just begging for everyone to break all of the rules.

  • Jay

    The very best teen comedy of all-time. And the “Ferris/Fight Club” theory is A) preposterous, and B) obviously created by college students with too much time (and drugs) on their hands.

  • Amy

    Ah love this movie and i just saw it as a young adult. (was too young when it was on theaters)
    Ferris is cool but i somewhat prefer Cameron, Jeannie is quite annoying and is very lucky to make out with a young Charlie Sheen (hey watch the movie, he is a freaking cool hottie on it..the guy you want to date when you are a teenager or even a young woman)

  • Karate Pants

    Ugh, worse than Cameron, I’m probably really more of a Jeanie.

    • Kristen

      Totally a Jeanie too. The smart one who never got away with crap because I would get busted EVERY TIME because life is unfair. That was me!

      • MelindaB

        Me, too, but I wouldn’t have been constantly tattling on others…then again, my sisters are all Jeanie, too, so there was nobody to tattle on. LOL

  • lee

    me and my friend actually skipped school told our parents we’d have football practice till 6pm and went to LA from 7 am to 4 pm it takes around 45 minutes to go from where we live to LA but we did it. this was 4 years ago and I’m proud to say our parents STILL don’t know about it. I’ll probably let them know in a year or so maybe in my college graduation :P

  • Mincha

    I’ve always thought there could be a sequel, with an older-but-not-much-more-mature Ferris calling in sick to a job that bores him, dragging Cameron away from a job that depresses him, and going on a road trip to stop Sloane (who’s either his ex-wife or the one who got away), from marrying some celebrity schmuck. Maybe he’d even have his teen son or daughter tag along. But without John Hughes, it wouldn’t be the same. FWIW, I was Cameron AND Jeannie.

  • Anne

    I am a female Cameron, except I would never have had the (figurative) stones to take the car.

    “Let my Cameron go.”

    • Sam J

      “My old man pushes me a rOOUUned. I NEVER SAY ANYTHING. I’m gonna take a stand.”

    • Laurie

      I still sing the Let My Cameron Go version of Go Down Moses whenever I am geeling oppressed.

      • Laurie

        *feeling*

  • Rebec

    It is hard to sympathize with Rooney when the actor who played him is a convicted pedophile.

    • Nicolaaaa

      ew. i forgot about that. kind of ruins it for me now.

    • Apos

      You said it.

  • Chris

    Sadly, I wasn’t even cool enough to be Cameron. Still not.

    • tracy bluth

      Same here….
      I still remember first watching this with a group of friends when it was on TV. All my friends were even more in love with Ferris than Sloane was, yet I had more of a crush on Cameron.

  • Jane

    While recently in Chicago I had the urge to relive Ferris’ adventures all over again. Even after 25 years. But alas I was a Cameron and couldn’t bring myself to do more than enjoy the Art Institute of Chicago.

    • Trocia

      My 14 year old daughter and I did the same thing at the art institue in Chicago this last fall. We recreated several film shots! It was fun!

  • Ashley

    I hated him and how he got away with everything. It was fun but . . . I hated him.

    • Sam J

      “I asked for a car, I got a computer. How’s that for bein’ born under a bad sign?”

  • MissM

    I admit when I rewatched it recently I was surprised at how much I sympathized with Jeannie, and how much I hated Ferris’s parents who were so blatant in showing their favoritism. That her mother showed her no sympathy after Jeannie told her she’d been attacked in her own home??? Great job, mom!

  • Dede

    Oh, I’m Cameron, all right, but my husband is a full-on Ferris Bueller. Only with more daring highjinx and an even better ability to talk his way out of trouble. I kind of love and hate him for his Ferris-ness.

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