"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." – Ferris Bueller
It's been 30 years since the release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a simple film but like many by the late John Hughes, much more than it seems on the surface. After all, not many films get selected for preservation in the National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Let's take a look.
Brooklynite Mia Sara was just 16 when she starred as Princess Lili in her first major film, Legend, a vehicle for Tom Cruise's abs. Interviewed by UPI on a promotional tour for Ferris Bueller in 1986, she remarked how it was "love at first sight" with Legend director Ridley Scott. For her audition she read half a poem before Scott said that was all he needed to know.
Her next movie cemented her forever as Ferris Bueller's lovely, funny and smart girlfriend, Sloane Peterson, who knew how to rock white boots and a white fringe leather jacket with enormous shoulder pads. It wasn't love at first sight with her and Hughes, but it was for the film's fans.
Cameron Frye is a neurotic hypochondriac. With an overbearing father. Ferris just wants him to unwind a little.
Alan Ruck, who played high school senior Cameron at the age of 30, is a talented actor you've probably seen a dozen times and knew you'd seen him ... somewhere. Actually, everywhere, notably in NCIS and Burn Notice.
He hated the movie for years because it typecast him. But he's grown to love it.
So what's the story with a Chicago high school kid sporting a Gordie Howe jersey?
Through most of the film, Cameron wears a No. 9 Detroit Redwings jersey, the number and team of hockey legend Howe, who died Friday.
Director John Hughes was a huge, lifelong Howe fan, and struggled a bit as a resident of Chicago and lesser fan of the city's NHL Blackhawks. Hughes' son writes in Grantland about his dad's love of Howe and hockey and how the jersey ended up figuring prominently in Bueller, and how "Mr. Hockey" admirably returned the favor.
Even in 1986, Jack Nicholson was red hot in Hollywood. But he felt like Ferris Bueller left him in the dust of that 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California. He said at the time "that movie made me feel totally irrelevant to anything that any audience could want and 119 years old. ... I literally walked out of there thinking my days are numbered. These people are trying to kill me."
Broderick and Jeffrey Jones, who played the sniveling principal in Ferris Bueller, met again on screen in the forgettable "Welcome to Buzzsaw." Or is it "Out on a Limb"? It's both, actually. Regardless, not many people remember either. It has no score on Rotten Tomatoes, but one surviving review from the Washington Post refers to it as "An oafish farce about a successful young stockbroker (see, you're yawning already), it stars Matthew Broderick, who ... exudes the charisma of elm pulp."
"All this talking has made me kinda light headed, I think I oughta lie down." – Ferris Bueller
Jeffrey Jones first showed up on Hollywood's radar in Amadeus but achieved immortal fame as Ferris Bueller's academic foil. When he met Broderick on a movie set again, he played identical twins bent on killing his former celluloid nemesis. He talked with UPI over a pasta lunch in West Hollywood, describing the challenges of the role.
Bonus: The film stars John C Reilly as one of the two Jims.
McDonald's and NBC made a millionaire out of Chester Dorough, an unlikely Ferris Bueller viewer from Birmingham, Ala., who was in his 80s when he won a "McMillions" promotion in 1990, raking in $8 million for matching numbers he saw while watching the movie on TV.
He didn't have much to say about the film, but said the cash would help him and his progeny pay off some debts. He planned to keep his 11-year-old Toyota Corolla hatchback but was considering a new suit.
Rare in film, Ferris Bueller frequently breaks the "fourth wall," speaking directly to the audience. It's one of the things that makes the movie unique. Who knew it was so easy to fake out your parents? Thanks, Ferris!