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How John Hughes and Ferris Bueller Taught Us All to Relax

By Carrie Stemke · November 8, 2014

Some movies are great because they represent an ideal world for us: a world in which everybody likes us, where we can do whatever we want and get away with it, where we can slow down and just have fun for a while, and in which our enemies get their just deserts. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off portrays this world perfectly. Everybody likes Ferris (except his nemesis, Principal Rooney, and his sister until the end), even the audience: he’s a great character because despite his mischief, he has a magnetic positive attitude and he’s not a bad person who wants to hurt other people. If he were real, we’d all want to be friends with him. He has a beautiful girlfriend, loving (albeit clueless) parents, and he takes action: he makes his day off the greatest day off in the history of days off. He gets away with things that none of us could ever actually get away with in real life. And best of all, there are no consequences: the audience isn’t led to believe that Ferris doesn’t have a great life because of one day of slacking in high school and he doesn’t get in trouble with his parents, the police, or the school.

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In a way, a great movie like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the reason that we like to go to the movies. It’s chance to be in someone else’s world for a little while, and forget about the stress and cares of our own. It’s the kind of movie where the fact that you have to suspend reality a little bit doesn’t matter. And, Ferris contains an interesting piece of movie magic formula that audiences have appreciated for decades: in the movie, only the people who “deserve” it are the ones who get hurt. It’s part of how you know they’re the nemesis in the film – bad things happen to them, and you can see it coming from a mile away. Again, this is part of the ideal world that movies can create for us, because in an ideal world, nothing bad would happen to people who are good, only to the people who really deserve it.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off could easily be called one of the most fun movies ever made. It’s a genuine, classic trip into a world in which it’s okay to suspend reality and just enjoy yourself for a while. 

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