The Greatest Stories Ever Told

The 2010 Paramount Summer Film Classics

The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Daring Enterprise: 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

I don't mean to brag, but I was valedictorian of my grade school class of 15 students. In my rousing speech to fellow students and parents, I quoted the immortal Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." This remarkably inappropriate statement – what were we doing at that age if not staring confounded at life? – would echo in my brain during the summer before high school. Ninth grade promised to liberate us. Little did I know that graduation wasn't freedom but a move to a larger prison (but that's a subject for The Breakfast Club to hash out).

Bueller and his epic day of hooky easily meet Polti's criteria for a "daring enterprise." The main ingredient is a bold leader, and Ferris oozes sangfroid from every pore. When you have even the wastoids thinking you're a "righteous dude," it instills a sense of confidence. The adversary is, of course, the bumbling hunter and principal Ed Rooney, whose Dirty Harry vocal tendencies barely mask his insecurities. The last ingredient is an object. To what end is this endeavor into the Windy City when there is gym class waiting at school? Is it to impress Sloane? No, she's long been smitten. Is it to help get Cameron out of his shell before graduation separates him from Ferris? That's more likely, but our protagonist is a bit selfish for that. Even after dedicating "Danke Schoen" to his sad-sack friend, one gets the feeling Ferris really just wants to flirt with the parade's St. Pauli Girls.

So what's the point? Why lick your palms and put in a cassette of snoring sounds just to get out of a solitary day of school? It's because Ferris knew what I didn't back in grade school: Graduation meant more responsibility, not freedom. The object of Ferris' day off is to make one more memorable go of it before barfing up a lung becomes necessary to have some fun. Perhaps it's a dark interpretation, but John Hughes movies have always been inspirational to the young and rose-colored nostalgia for the rest of us.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off screens Tuesday, Aug. 3, 1 & 7pm, and Wednesday, Aug. 4, 9:05pm.

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