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Angelina’s ‘80s Archive: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Well, my friends, it’s about that time. Unfortunately, not “to bring forth the rhythm and the rhyme,” as Marky Mark would say, but to bring my Her Campus tenure to a close. 

When I started with HCBU in the fall of my sophomore year, I already knew that I enjoyed writing – I didn’t become an English major for no reason! However, I also knew that I rarely got to write in a creative or conversational style, which I really wanted to get back into after a childhood of writing short stories and dreaming of pursuing journalism. With a due date, I would be guaranteed to get done what I already wanted to do but never made time for. Her Campus was a very exciting opportunity to write the way I wanted to and do so every week. 

I decided to blend my enjoyment of writing with my passion for 1980’s films and pop culture, and “Angelina’s ‘80s Archive” was born. This column has allowed me to revisit favorite films or shows and provided me an excuse to watch new ones. It has given me the chance to share my favorite music and discover new songs when making playlists. I’ve covered fashion trends. I’ve compiled lists. I’ve pointed out films’ flaws and found their silver linings. I’ve laughed and, very often, cried. I have joyfully indulged in my own interests and, most importantly, gotten to share my passion with others. For all of this, I am eternally grateful. I will miss writing for Her Campus deeply when I graduate in the next couple of weeks.  

Though I feel extremely proud of the non-’80s articles I’ve written over the past few years, I’ve known since soon after I began that I would have to use my final article on the ‘80s movie that holds the most special place in my heart: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Here, for the last time, is your Bitchin’ Bio…

Release Date: June 11, 1986

Synopsis: Suburban high school senior and serial truant Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) elaborately fakes an illness to spend a day in Chicago with his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), and girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara). While the three are out on the town, Ferris’s sister, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), and Vice Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), who have had enough of him getting away with everything, both make their own attempts to prove Ferris is lying. 

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 1. John Hughes wrote, directed, and produced Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Kevin Bacon has a cameo in one John Hughes movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987), and stars in another, She’s Having a Baby (1988).  

Come For: A perfect Spring movie, complete with gorgeous, sunny, light jacket weather, a parade, a baseball game, and a joy ride in a classic Ferrari. When you’re so close, yet so far from the end of the school year, you’ll find a friend in Ferris.  

Stay For: Secondary characters who steal the show. The movie is, in many ways, Cameron’s story, as he tries to overcome his anxiety and stand up to both his (often pushy) best friend and his father. I totally sympathize with Jeanie as well, and Jennifer Grey shines comedically in the role. Edie McClurg as Rooney’s secretary, Grace, is perfectly strange, pulling pencils out of her big hair and sniffing white-out. And though there are many issues with Charlie Sheen as a person that I will not ignore, his role in this film never fails to make me laugh.    

Had I Seen It? I first watched this movie with my father when I was probably 13 years old. At that moment, I loved it. I kept rewatching it, and it continued to grow on me. It became something I could put on anytime I didn’t know what to watch. I would put it on to listen to as I was going to sleep because I knew it so well. I saw it with my father at a midnight showing at the Somerville Theater. I saw it with my cousins on the JumboTron at Fenway Park. I watch it any time I’m sick because seeing someone pretend to be sick somehow makes me feel better. It’s the first thing I watched when I got home from my wisdom teeth removal. I’ve long since lost track of the number of times that I’ve watched it.

Do I Like It? If you can’t tell, I feel very passionately about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I pretty much know it off by heart and have to force myself not to mouth or quote the lines if I watch it with other people. There are some phrases that trigger a quote in me every time I hear them. The movie makes me so indescribably happy, from the setting, to the characters, to the script, to the music, to every little background detail. 

I will acknowledge without hesitation that I am much more of a “Cameron” by nature – hesitant, rule-following, and maybe a little bit of a hypochondriac. I doubt whether I would like Ferris if I met him in real life. (Though, as I realized the most recent time I watched the movie, he truly seems to love Sloane. This is especially important because John Hughes married his high school sweetheart and was with her until he passed away, so this isn’t some castaway relationship). Whatever the case may be, there is just something about this movie. More accurately, there are so many little somethings that add up to make this my second-favorite movie of all time.

My love for Ferris Bueller began my interest in John Hughes. Though I’d seen many of his non-high school movies year after year since I was very young, this was the first time I ever fell in love with a director’s style and wanted to watch more of his films. This movie led me to some of my other favorites, like Pretty in Pink (1986) and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), and to find a new appreciation for movies he worked on that I’d always watched, like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Home Alone (1990).

I began to watch other ‘80s films and fell deeper in love with the movies of the decade. Films like Say Anything…(1989), The Outsiders (1983), Dirty Dancing (1987), Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), and The Lost Boys (1987, and my first ever column!) became other favorites, and  frequent rewatches.

I rewatched movies I had seen when I was little but largely forgotten, namely The Karate Kid (1984), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Adventures in Babysitting (1987), with my little sister. Pretty much classics to the world, they became special to the two of us, all probably taking their places in both of our top ten movie lists. Watching these movies and others with my sister during our specially dedicated film festival is the best start to the summer you can imagine.     

I have books about John Hughes and ‘80s teen films in general. I have watched horror, comedy, romance, and the two Coreys. I have taken fashion inspiration, bought and received t-shirts and posters, and worn Halloween costumes from ‘80s films. 

And at the center of it all is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Figuratively and literally – my poster of the movie hangs in the center of the ‘80s wall behind my bed. Ferris Bueller started my love for ‘80s *cinema.* Nearly a decade later, I am so appreciative of the path of entertainment and pop culture that the movie led me down. My ‘80s education may never be complete, but I am 100% open to adding some new favorite things to my list. 

I still dream of getting to Chicago in the near future for a John Hughes pilgrimage: it’s the least I can do for the man who gave me a decade. Now that I’ve ended my column with the film that started my love, I want to make that trip sooner rather than later. 

Thank you so much for joining me on this ride. I’ll never forget my time writing for Her Campus and the opportunity that HCBU gave me to blend together multiple things I love. I hope we can all be so lucky as to pursue our passions, whether that be for a career or for fun, as I have been able to for the past few years.

Have a wonderful summer! And to those I’ll be graduating alongside, don’t forget: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”       

Sincerely yours, 

Angelina’s ‘80s Archive  

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Angelina is a senior at BU, studying English in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a focus on Shakespeare. She is from Somerville, MA. In addition to writing for HCBU, Angelina is the Director of BU On Broadway Off Broadway and has been involved with theater through BU Shakespeare Society, Wandering Minds, and Stage Troupe. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, music, baking, and movie marathons. Her pop culture heart lives in the 1980's.