Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Blu-ray

by Johnny Bray

Writer/director John Hughes spent much of the 1980's making a variety of teen flicks, from "The Breakfast Club" to "Sixteen Candles."

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is kind of a departure, in that rather than featuring an ensemble cast telling a variety of stories, it follows the fortunes of Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a popular kid who decides that life's too short to spend a particularly beautiful Spring day slaving over the books at school.

So he decides to cut class, with an involved and well-planned "sickness" alibi. Ferris is quite bright and very inventive, and uses all the tools at hand to make his story work.

He drags his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and best friend (Alan Ruck) along with him, brazenly springing his love right out of the classroom, and the trio head for adventure in the heart of Chicago snuggled into Ruck's Dad's classic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, one of the most beautiful sports cars ever built. These cars are extremely rare and valuable, so we can only assume the one they used in this movie - considering what happens to it - was a ringer.

We certainly hope so!

Suffice it to say they have a wonderful time on their day off....

"Ferris" features the unique touch of having Broderick spend a good part of the film talking to the audience, and the tactic works for the most part. The casting is inspired; Broderick plays the role of the likable Ferris with just the right twinkle in his eye, Ruck is appropriately put upon but loyal, and Sara is warm and pretty. Jeffrey Jones plays the "villain," Ferris' school principal who knows a rat when he smells one and spends most of the movie's 102 minutes trying to trap it.

Naturally, he's no match for Ferris, and his misadventures foreshadow those of the bad guys in Hughes' later "Home Alone" movies.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is a likable movie, lighthearted and free spirited, and has some good laughs and funny situations. It'll never go down in Hollywood's history as a true classic, but it's an enjoyable bit of fluff nonetheless.

The “Bueller…Bueller” special edition DVD has essentially been ported over to Blu-ray, albeit with a new-ish transfer. Indeed, Ferris Bueller looks quite nice in high definition, but there’s nothing really noteworthy (positive or negative) about the whole thing. The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, but doesn’t really benefit from the extra storage space. There’s no question this is the definitive version of the film, it’s just that it would be hard to justify an upgrade if you already own the DVD.

In terms of extras, they seem to have been brought over from the special edition, but the John Hughes audio commentary from the initial release is still surprisingly absent. Nevertheless…

“Getting the Class Together” is a typical cast retrospective featurette with interviews from most of the main players (there are no new Mia Sara or John Hughes interviews) spliced together with behind-the-scenes footage. There are plenty of amusing anecdotes here, and at less than half an hour the piece doesn’t go on too long. “The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a shorter piece that doesn’t focus so exclusively on the actors, but is otherwise essentially the same thing as the first featurette.

“Who is Ferris Bueller” takes ten minutes to examine the title character and Matthew Broderick’s portrayal of him. “The World According to Ben Stein” is another ten-minute piece that allows Mr. Stein to talk about the film and his accomplishments. It may not be the most entertaining piece out there, but we’ve always liked Ben Stein, so it’s okay.

Finally, “The Lost Tapes” is a collection of old interviews and whatever-else, brought together in a pretty entertaining montage. There are clips aplenty of the cast goofing around, and Broderick and Ruck talking about their friendship on and off screen. Pretty fun.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, from Paramount Home Entertainment
102 minutes, 1080p High Definition (2.35:1), Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Starring Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck
Produced by John Hughes and Tom Jacobson
Written and directed by John Hughes

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

Buy the eBook
Ransom for the stars
of Jim Bray's
fantastic Sci-Fi Adventure