One of our very favorite movies in this house is the 1986 released Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. While in Chicago last weekend for a homeschool conference, my daughter and I learned from Chicago’s talk radio WLS that the writer/director John Hughes unexpectedly passed from a heart attack.
Who’d have known that Dan Quayle and I had this preference in common?
An academic shared her analysis of Ferris’ sister Jeanie Bueller (with her secret Shauna life), along with many questions that could likely only be researched by an academic who gets paid to do such:
Places of Empirical Subjects in the Event of Mass Culture
Jeannie Bueller and Idealogy– Janet Staiger
During the 1990 US presidential campaign, various contenders were asked their favorite movie, perhaps, as one columnist explained, just in case everything else evened out for the undecided voter. Youthful forty-two-year-old Dan Quayle picked Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, explaining: "it reminded me of my time in school."
For a critical theroist, such a choice would seem to indicate something worth considering, but the question is, just what does Quayle’s choice mean? Why was he so perfectly the subject addressed by that film? What was its productions of meaning for him? Or rather, how can we use a film such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to consider and reconsider Louis Althusser’s [Marxist philosopher] theories of ideology, aesthetics, institutions such as schools and families, and mass culture?
Despite his grassroots acclaim, John Hughes never won a major award in his field. He retired to an Illinois working farm. My kinda guy.
I always thought that Ferris Bueller’s day off in the Windy City was the epitome of what homeschooling teens should and often do experience. The trio’s slow trek through the Art Institute is a prime example. No official field trip, no crowds, no hurry while enjoying great art. That would be an enjoyable learning experience that sticks.
Here’s some of my faves from Day Off.
- This is my ninth sick day this semester. It’s getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I’m probably gonna have to barf up a lung.
- Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
- Not that I condone fascism, or any ism for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: "I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus, but I’d still have to bum rides off of people.
Principal Ed Rooney: What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas. Last thing I need at this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls. He jeopardizes my ability to effectively govern this student body.
Grace: He makes you look like an ass, is what he does, Ed.
Ed Rooney: Thank you, Grace, but I think you’re wrong.
Grace: Oh, he’s very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.
Ed Rooney: That is why I need to show these kids that the example he sets is a first-class ticket to nowhere!
This last quote below reminds me of a precocious redhead (setting off on a successful adventure the traditional way) and his Dude best friend (my son following the non-traditional route).
Ferris: If you’re not over here in fifteen minutes, you can find a new best friend.
Cameron: You’ve been saying that since the fifth grade.
Ferris: I’m takin’ the day off. Now get dressed and come on over.
Rest in peace and God Bless, Mr. Hughes.