Three Things You Didn’t Know About Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

A long time ago, toward the beginning of the 2020 quarantine, I posted this joke:

And well YOU ASKED FOR IT.

So here are my top three break-down theories on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Spoilers. But if you haven’t seen this movie yet, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for)

1 Cameron Fry is the protagonist. Ferris Bueller is the narrator

The last time I watched this movie, I thought to myself, “This would make an excellent YA novel from the point of view of Cameron Fry.” That’s when the dynamic really became clear. This movie is Cameron’s story. Not Ferris’.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Ferris Bueller… super cool, untouchable, clever, and mischievous. And at the end of the movie, we see Ferris Bueller… super cool, untouchable, clever, and mischievous. He remains constant throughout the movie, he doesn’t have an arc. He doesn’t change. And he’s not supposed to! He acts as a constant change agent that shapes all the other characters around him. (More on that in point two).

In the contrast, we see Cameron at the beginning of the movie- sick, miserable, “not dying, just can’t think of anything good to do”. The character has a problem to be solved, like all good and compelling protagonists. He’s about to make a change. It’s The Hero’s Journey. He’s had the literal “call to adventure” and is now being forced out of his comfort zone into this crazy escapade with his best friend.

It’s not even Ferris’ DAY OFF, if you think about it. Ferris has already missed school nine times up to this point. This is Cameron’s Day Off.

Ferris is the narrator for Cameron’s story. Even stylistically, he breaks the fourth wall to look into the camera and address the audience directly. If you still don’t believe Cameron is the main character, consider this: Ferris doesn’t talk about the other characters. He’s not telling you how he met Sloane. Hardly the only thing he says about Jeanie is that she got a car and he didn’t. Throughout the movie, he tells the audience about Cameron. His cold relationships with his parents, his character flaws. Cameron Fry is the focus because he is about to make the biggest change (AKA protagonist)

2. Ferris helps the characters grow up not down

At a quick glance, you might think that Ferris is encouraging his friends to go off on a childish adventure. But he’s not. He’s forcing them to challenge authority and assume their own identities as adults. They’re not skipping school to go to the local arcade (which is what Rooney thinks they’re doing). He’s taking them to art museums, fine restaurants, and even the stock exchange. At every moment he’s challenging them to give up their passive childhood for an independent adulthood. Even Sloane is challenged by Ferris in this way when he asks her if she wants to get married.

It’s not about the irresponsibility, although he knows how to do that well. As the active change agent in the story he has a motive for each person. For example, it’s not about stealing the car, he’s getting Cameron to challenge his father.

In the B story, Jeanie is also forced to change in this way. She constantly gripes and moans about having no control in her life (If I was BLEEDING out my eyes you’d still make me go to school). Then after a therapeutic conversation with Charlie Sheen, she has FERRIS busting his a$$ to beat her home and SHE is the one to save him from Rooney. In parellel to Cameron’s story, she takes back her control.

3. Ferris Bueller is actually John Lennon

You really think I could go one blog post without mentioning this guy??

Okay but this is FOR REAL. I know a fellow Lennon-obsessed writer when I see one. And Hughes no-doubt-in-my-mind modeled Ferris Bueller after John Lennon. He basically tells us upfront.

Ferris first directly name drops Lennon to the audience, by quoting; “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Then he tells us, “I could be The Walrus.”

Ferris spends the movie as the leader, challenging authority and encouraging mischief and mayhem a la “A Hard Day’s Night”. Hughes even recreated the same shot of them jumping in slow motion with their arms raised.

Then of course to cap it all off. He lip syncs to Twist and Shout on the parade float. And I really don’t know how you can get anymore obvious than that.

If you don’t believe that Hughes would go to such lengths to model a character after Lennon, consider The Breakfast Club, when the janitor readily admits that he wanted to “grow up and become John Lennon”. Or when Brian the Brain whispers to himself about being The Walrus.

At the very end of the film, Ferris leans back in his hands and says the classic line, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and a while you could miss it.”

…Which is supposedly a derivative of this quote…

BONUS!

I truly feel that I would be amiss to not lead you into this excellent conspiracy theory from the inner depth of Redditt. The theory is that Ferris is actually a figment of Cameron’s imagination. It’s a more compelling theory than you would think! I’ll leave the video here, so you can have your mind blown.

The 20 Worst Things About Playing ‘Among Us’

My family and I are in love with this little game… but there are definitely some downsides… here are the top 20 worst parts about playing ‘Among Us’ online:

1 .02 seconds after everyone pops into your room and start bombarding the chat with this

RED: Start

PURPLE: Start

YELLOW: strt

RED: Start

RED: Start

YELLOW: strt pls

2 But then half of the players bail the same second they find out they’re not The Imposter

SelfAbsorbed has just left the game.

3 When someone slams the emergency button just to tell you this

WHITE: Guys, I have scan. Watch me?

4 Or when someone comes on the chat with this bullcrap

LIME: Who wants to date? How old are you?

CYAN: 12

LIME: Cool! Uh yeah, me too.

ME:

5 And all the preteens make fun of you when you lecture them not to give out their personal info

CYAN: lol it’s my phone number not my social security number

6 When you witness and report the murder and everyone votes you off instead

BLACK: self report

7 When none of the other ghosts want to have a spooky side chat

PURPLE: Pink did me, who killed u?

8 When The Imposter executes a perfect “stack kill” and you can’t tell who it was.

RED: skip i guess

BROWN: skip

9 When you’re fixing wires and you see someone run up behind you

10 When The Imposter keeps turning the lights off but AIN’T NO WAY YOU GOIN INTO THE DARK ELECTRIC ROOM TO FIX IT

11 When you sus the wrong person and then you look sus for getting them thrown off

12 When someone dies and their pet mourns them in the cafeteria

13 When the settings are on 3,800 tasks rather than 4-5

14 Or when the voting time is a full ten minutes…

15 And there’s always that one guy who takes the full ten minutes to vote

RED: BLUE!!! VOTE!!

PINK: Kick him!!

16. When the speed isn’t what you’re used to and you’re either crawling through mud or slamming around like a pinball

ORANGE: Purple sus he was running into walls instead of fixing reactor

PURPLE: Bruh! This 3X player speed is out of control!

17. When you’re waiting for the game to start and someone asks

BROWN: Hey can I have pink?

18. Even worse when someone responds with

PINK: No.

19. When someone shows up with the same cheese hat as you and you have to change into a pair of candy canes

20. When it’s two in the morning and you finally have to stop playing

ME: Okay one more game.

ME: Okay one more.

ME: One more game.

5 Reason’s Why you Loved The Queen’s Gambit

A TV show about chess. Why were we so obsessed?

I binged this show in a handful of days. MESMERIZED TO TEARS. This was one of the few series that reminds me how desperately passionate I am about storytelling. Here are my authorly reasons why this series was so captivating. (lite spoilers)

1. They take their time in a meaningful way

Personally, as a writer I’m terrible at this, so I was just in AWE of how flawlessly they pulled this off. It was really a genius move to make a limited series rather than a full movie. They slowed everything down to fully develop the story and the characters throughout the episodes, but it didn’t FEEL slow. And that’s because each shot and scene were purposeful toward the narrative.

You don’t have any of that heavy misplaced exposition. You don’t hear some character droning on about how “Margret from high school became a sad alcoholic.” The MC runs into Margret at the store and hears the liquor bottles clink under the baby carriage. And that’s it. It’s never explicitly said. But we know exactly what it means.  Proving that YES, you can pull off show vs tell in a cinematic sense. 

The Queen’s Gambit is FULL of this brilliant storytelling. Taking time to really show what the other characters are thinking and feeling without saying it. I think the most capital example is the way the Borgov raises his eyebrows when Beth resigns her Paris game in tears. That expression alone. That .04 seconds of screen time and YOU KNOW. You know that character is not the ruthless Soviet antagonist. You know Borgov is a sympathetic man who completely understands Beth. That shot perfectly sets up his warm reaction toward her in the end. (Which made me bawl by the way thank you very much) Such dynamic characters! LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT!

2. The characters are real

Be honest… did you or did you not Google whether Beth Harmon was a real person? BECAUSE IT FELT LIKE A TRUE STORY. If you told me it was a true story, I wouldn’t have flinched! And not just Beth but each character is so carefully developed and detailed with their own voices and experiences. They’re not just pegs of a stool holding up the protagonist, any ONE of them could have had a compelling series themselves.

I never stop complaining about “the generic good-looking cast” that so many movies dish out. It makes the whole movie seem like a catalog ad and not a believable set of people. So I really appreciated that they let the people LOOK real. Even Beth, who in the show is called “pretty” many times, and yeah she is, but in a REAL kind of way. Like someone you would sit across from at the airport. Not a matte photo of a model at a beach shoot.

Another thing I noticed, is they would introduce a seemingly small character and then bring them back a few episodes later. This happened over and over again! Which said one thing to me… this writer loved their characters. This writer loved their characters so much that they had to bring them back and add more and more details. Their crooked teeth. The knife they carry. The full detailed life they had since they last saw Beth. I fell in love with these characters because the creators loved them. And they were actual meaningful driving forces in the protagonists life.


3. The simplicity

I just imagine the original author pitching the novel like:

Tevis: Okay, so there’s this orphan…

Publisher: Yeah?

Tevis: And she’s really good at chess.

Publisher: Okay.

Tevis: Like… super good.

Publisher: … … Can she at least have an addiction of some sort?

Tevis: Yeah, probably. But it’s mostly that she’s really good at chess.

(On my TBD list)

I have never been SO invested in chess in all my life. I never thought I would be on the edge of my seat watching so many chess matches. Caring SO MUCH whether or not this character was going to win. And that’s it! I do think the addiction aspect gave Beth a nice arc and made a clear self-antagonist… but really I cared way more about the chess than anything else. Because BETH cares about the chess more than anything else! We get it! Through the story-telling we understand that for this character, chess is the goal, the motivation and the stakes. And we believe the simplicity. She’s passionate about chess and that’s it.

4. Let’s talk about that actress!

Anya Taylor-Joy. Girl. Wow.

A trait of the Beth Harmon character is that she is solemn and mostly expressionless. That would be SUCH a challenge to portray well. I don’t know HOW they pulled this off, but they really did! I was completely sucked into her emotions. At every moment you knew how she was feeling without obvious expression on her face. Brilliantly done! If she were losing a chess match, fists up to the sides of her temples. If she were winning, fingers clasped under the chin. The consistency was flawless. Not just the adult actress but her childhood counterpart as well. They seamlessly made the character one.

5. THE PRODUCTION WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND DETAILED

I love the sixties. I mean, obviously I do. And I love time period dramas. Of course. SO HELLO! No wonder I was a little biased towards this show. The music was SO good! So fitting too! And THE OUTFITS!! THE PRETTY PRETTY OUTFITS! ALL THE OUTFITS! GIVE ME ALL THE OUTFITS MORE MORE MORE

Excuse me while I swoon over this show for another three months.