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“Oh, well, he's very popular, Ed. The sportos, sluts, bloods, geeks, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads, they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.”

An almost legendary character we all know as Ferris Bueller emerged in 1986 and the world of cinema has never been the same. John Hughes penned teen films of the ‘80s are loved by many and detested by some. It’s understandable (not really) that The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles are not revered as masterpieces like they are by this reviewer, especially if your not a fan of Molly Ringwald. But I cannot imagine how anyone could not love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s just inconceivable.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition
Film
Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) decides he needs a day off from the stupidity of high school. With nine sick days already on his record, he’d better makes this one count. First he has to make his parents buy he’s sick. No problem, “The key to faking out the parents in the clammy hands” Ferris eloquently informs the audience in his soon to be frequent addresses to the camera. You would think he was dying by the way his parents treat him and as a bonus he manages to irritate his sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) with his inspired ‘get out of school’ routine. The most famous day off in history has just begun. Ferris makes his sick best pal Cameron (Alan Ruck) get out of bed so he can firstly get Ferris’s girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) out of school by impersonating her father on the phone to principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) and secondly, come and pick Ferris up so they can go and pick up Sloane in Cameron’s father’s red Ferrari. All the pieces are in place and the stage set for the outrageous day off adventures of Ferris Bueller. Every hero has a nemesis and Ferris is no exception. Dean of Students Ed Rooney despises being continually made to “look like an ass” by Ferris and with Ferris, Cameron and then Sloane all absent from school, Rooney makes it his mission to catch Ferris out and prove that he has been faking and hold him back a year and therefore stop him from graduating. The only other member of the entire population of Chicago who also wants to see Ferris caught out is his sister Jeannie who is also on Ferris’s tail throughout the day. But nothing is going stop Ferris from showing his best friend a day they will never forget.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is regarded by many as John Hughes finest film. Personally, I would regard The Breakfast Club as Hughes’ masterpiece, but Ferris Bueller would be a close second. There are so many reasons why this film has endured, but the major reason the film succeeds so well is that it presents two career defining performances: Broderick and Alan Ruck as best friends Ferris and Cameron. While the film is named after Broderick’s character, it’s the strength of Cameron’s story that makes the film more than simply another fun ‘80s teen romp. Cameron has no idea what he wants to do when he leaves high school, is unloved by his parents and has never had a girlfriend. He also happens to be best friends with the most popular guy in school who is everything he’s not. As is customary with John Hughes flicks, the film ends sweetly with Ferris’s self-involved actions influencing his sister and best friend to change their outlooks on life. Jeannie, with a little help from a drugged out Charlie Sheen, overcomes her animosity towards her brother and helps him out when it seems that Rooney finally has him cornered. Similarly, after experiencing the best day of his life, Cameron is faced with the reality that his father is going to find out he took the car. Instead of reacting with panic and fear, Cameron sees it as his moment to take control of his life and stand up to his father. Even Hughes most fun film has to end with a certain degree of sentimentality. It wouldn’t be a John Hughes film if it didn’t.

But Ferris Bueller’s Day Off isn’t just about the human characters. Hughes last great teen film of the eighties is also a love letter to his beloved Chicago. Ferris takes his friends to the Sears Tower, a museum, Wrigley Field and an upmarket restaurant where he precedes to sell himself as Abe Frohman, the sausage king of Chicago. The day is finally capped off with Ferris taking over a float in the German-American Appreciation Day parade and belting out Danke Schoen and The Beatles Twist and Shout. However, once again, the characters of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off reside in the Hughes invented Shermer, Illinois. A place where Del Griffith of Planes, Trains and Automobiles lives near John Bender of The Breakfast Club and Ferris has likely crossed paths with Samantha Baker of Sixteen Candles.

It should be obvious now that I huge fan of the John Hughes ‘80s teen universe. I appreciate that there are plenty of people out there who don’t share my enthusiasm for the unrecognised ‘80s teen movie genre. The genre produced more bad movies than good, so it’s easy to dismiss and rubbish any film that is categorised as a ‘80s teen film. However, there are a few that have managed to endure over the years, entertaining audiences that weren’t even born when the ‘80s teen film fad was in full swing. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is definitely one of the true teen comedy classics of the 1980s and I challenge anyone to argue otherwise.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition
Video
For those wondering whether this release offers a new, improved transfer, the answer is a resounding yes. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is only hindered by some minor aliasing and some slightly visible edge enhancement, otherwise this transfer is wonderful. The first transfer of the film had numerous film artefacts and a fair amount of grain affecting the image, however, all these issues have been resolved for this transfer and the results are impressive. Colours are strong and vibrant and flesh tones realistic. Details have also been improved, with both close up and background details sharp and clear. Comparing the two editions of the film, the superiority of this transfer is very obvious, especially in regards to colour and details. The old transfer appears very grainy and muted compared with this edition, so it’s nice that attention was paid to the transfer of the film and not just the inclusion of extra material.

Audio
The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mix for this film has to not only showcases the quotable dialogue of the film, but also the often spectacular music included in the film. Thankfully, it delivers in both of these areas in spades. Essentially this is a front and centre affair, with dialogue always clear and audible, but when the Stars Wars theme begins, or when Ferris is on the float singing Danke Schoen and Twist and Shout, the rear channels spring to life offering a well balanced and particularly strong soundtrack.

Extras
Now this is where this Bueller......Bueller Edition has to really impressive. The one big disappointment for completeness is that the John Hughes commentary available on the first release of the film is not included here due to ownership issues. This could mean there will be another edition of the film somewhere down the track. For now, if you own the first release of the film, it’s probably worth holding onto just for the commentary track, which provides quite a lot of production information that is not covered in the following features. The commentary also offers the reflective thoughts of Hughes, who is only present in these extras in vintage interview clips. The other less important disappointment is that there is no theatrical trailer on this release. My view of trailers on DVDs is pretty simple. They should be mandatory, especially on a special edition release.

‘Getting the Class Together: The Cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ is the first extra and includes interviews with almost every member of the cast, including some with minor parts. The only major cast member who is absent is Mia Sara. It’s a shame that she managed to find time to be interviewed for the Legend Ultimate Edition DVD, but couldn’t find time to participate in a release of a film she will likely be best remembered for. Anyway, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey, Jeffrey Jones and many others are all newly interviewed for this feature and they all offer reflections on how each got their respective parts and how they first interacted with their fellow cast mates. This thirty minute feature could have been better produced and it’s sometimes quite off putting to see a mulleted John Hughes in a 1987 interview talking so extensively about the film and then swiftly move to a new interview with a cast member, but otherwise this is a nice featurette.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition
‘The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ mixes behind the scenes footage with new interviews and looks at the various production elements that brought the film together. At just over fifteen minutes, there are more John Hughes vintage interview segments, as well interviews with Broderick, Ruck and Grey. It’s a little strange that this feature wasn’t simply merged with the first featurette and more vintage behind the scenes footage would have been nice. ‘Who is Ferris Bueller?’ is ten minute profile of both Ferris and the actor who played him. There is a lot of love here for Matthew Broderick whom everyone agrees shares Ferris’s confidence and easy going demeanour. Jeffrey Jones, in particular, is very insightful about the appeal of the character of Ferris and why Broderick pulled off the role so successfully.

‘The World According to Ben Stein’ is another ten minute featurette focusing on the man who played the economics teacher whose role call is the namesake for this edition of the film. In both vintage and new interview clips, Stein discusses his career in detail and states that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is his career highlight. Stein actually seems to be the most fond of the film amongst all the cast members. He has both a fondness for the experience, the director and the on going appeal of the film, which is all evident in this fine featurette.

‘Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes’ is the highlight of this release and on its own is a reason to purchase this edition. Running exactly ten minutes, this is a series of vintage on set interviews conducted by Broderick as well as a lost scene. Broderick starts off by interviewing Alan Ruck about his experience of making the film. It should be pointed out that these interviews are far from serious and both Ruck and Broderick spend a lot of time teasing each other about what they each say. Next up, an off camera Broderick interviews Ruck again, however, this time Mia Sara is also present. Neither can get a word out without laughing and usually all they can eventually muster is a “yeah, it’s great” etc. The lost scene is entitled ‘The Isles of Langerhans’ and it involves the three teenagers trying to order in the French restaurant. The footage is very grainy and muted and is obviously not the finished scene, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Roving reporter Broderick then interviews Jeffrey Jones in a segment called ‘Meet the Principal’. These two are very relaxed with each other and discuss the reasons why Rooney is so hell bent on catching Ferris. Finally, it’s back to Ruck and Broderick for some lunacy. This is the kind of nostalgic extra that I live for, while also making me hope these kind of “lost” tapes exist for The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Utterly priceless. Lastly, there is the ‘Class Album’, which is a nicely presented photo gallery consisting of eighteen promotional shots of the famous trio of Ferris, Cameron and Sloane.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition
Overall
This release is not without disappointment. Without the inclusion of the Hughes commentary, this release cannot be called complete. Then there is also the lack of new interviews with Hughes and cast member Mia Sara. These are only minor complaints, but they have to be mentioned. When I think about my favourite films of all time, most of them were released in the ‘80s and most of them can be classified under the teen film genre, and most of them have only been released as bare bones DVDs. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the only John Hughes film and one of only a handful of teen films from the ‘80s to receive the special edition treatment, so this DVD could have included much less and I still would have been happy. So as it is, the extras included on this new edition should please devoted fans and the superb new video transfer is an added incentive to include this Bueller Bueller edition of one of the most fun and memorable films of the ‘80s in your collection.


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