The Screening Room
ferris bueller
Perhaps no other film epitomized '80s teens better than "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Perhaps no other writer/director better reflected the trials & tribulations of being a suburban teen better than John Hughes.  

“Ferris Bueller's Day Off” is now available on Blu-ray.

Matthew Broderick portrayed an everyday teen during the 1980s. Actors like Matt Dillon and Tom Cruise usually played rough and tumble teens with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Broderick usually played a geek who was hip and smart. "WarGames" (1983) showed us what a teen computer hacker could do, even before we knew what a hacker was. In "Ferris," Broderick did what nearly every teenager wanted to do; ditch school. In a sense, he was the guy we looked up to.

No other director captured the angst and fun side of being a teen in the 1980 better than Hughes. He had a finger on the pulse of American teen culture, even if it was rooted in suburban reality. Most of the kids in his films came from upper middle class households. At least one of the kids had an issue with their parents. Other kids had solid relationships with at least one of their parents. Seeing these kids complain, moan, and cry, it might be difficult to feel sorry for a kid who has everything. Yet Hughes looked deeper and found that even kids with silver spoons had issues to deal with.

"Ferris" takes the Hughes formula and creates a near-perfect package. Ferris, though rebellious, isn't out to hurt hurt anyone or destroy property. He's looking to have fun. His best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) wants to stay good, yet Ferris brings it out in him to let loose. Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) is out to prove that Ferris is ditching school and provides not only for a great comic foil.

The core of the story is to get out and enjoy life. Ferris is the perfect guy to do this, and we easily get caught up in his scheme. Broderick is so likable that we'd follow him anywhere. What harm will it cause? Cameron's story of dealing with his neglectful father is poignant, and Ruck does a great job in being Cameron, yet Hughes doesn't let it overwhelm the movie. In fact, every character in the film is completely wonderful, from Ferris's parents, to Grace the Secretary (Edie McClurg).          

The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack offers a nice audio experience, but I don't believe the original theatrical soundtrack was very powerful to begin with. Most 1980s films that were released in Dolby Stereo (which this was mixed in) weren't audio spectaculars. Being a comedy, most of the sound is dialogue with spurts of pop music. The scene in which Rooney is cranked called features a good orchestral "ta-dum" on the soundtrack. Other than that, it's not a soundtrack that will blow you away. It's better than DVD either way. 

The Blu-ray picture quality is excellent and shows off Tak Fujimoto's cinematography. I didn't see the film theatrically in 1986, so I was surprised to find it was shot in Super 35. The Blu-ray preserves the widescreen frame and grain is fairly minimal. The result is a natural looking picture. 
The film is a classic and holds up very well. Get past the '80s styles and pulsating pop score, the film continues to bring out some heavy laughs. Hughes created an infectious story of teen rebellion that wasn't too destructive (with exception of the Ferrari), mean spirited, or depressing. This is a great movie from the 1980s.
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: © Paramount. All rights reserved.
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse



Awesome John Hughes movie

Director: John Hughes  

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck

"Making of," vintage footage and more


Picture: Excellent
Sound: Good

Tak Fujimoto's cinematography looks fantastic on Blu-ray

Aspect Ratio (2.39:1)

Dolby TrueHD 5.1

May 5, 2009
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