Why 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' Would Be Impossible to Remake Today
30 years ago this week, Matthew Broderick led his friends on the best day off ever. No way that would happen in 2016.
A wise young man once said, “Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” For decades, audiences have heeded his advice and eagerly watched writer/director John Hughes’s classic film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off since it was released on June 11, 1986.
As in most of his movies, Hughes — the great bard of 1980s adolescents — populated his epic farce, about a trio of Chicago teens playing the ultimate game of hooky from school, with purposefully recognizable characters: Ferris (Matthew Broderick), the charmingly sharp everyman lead; Sloane (Mia Sara), the dependable ally and girlfriend; and Cameron (Alan Ruck), the troubled but self-deprecating companion. Countless fans have identified with the characters in the three decades since it was released — even if technology has turned it into a relic.
Simply put, what Ferris pulled off in 1986 would be impossible to pull off in the modern world, rendering a re-make of the classic film off-limits.
Ferris Bueller belongs to a special breed of young, charming leading men in escapist ‘80s movies, cut from the same cloth as Back to the Future’s Marty McFly. Things are easy for Ferris: the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, and dickheads at school all adore him. He is, to paraphrase Grace, Principal Rooney’s mousy administrative assistant, a “righteous dude.”
But it’s weird that an audience would embrace him all these years. Really, they should side with Jeannie (Jennifer Grey), Ferris’s sister, who moans about her brother’s infallibility. “Why should everything work out for him?” she asks. “What makes him so goddamn special? Screw him.”
But movies are often steered by unlikely heroes, and it’s hard not to fall for Ferris’s sense of rebelliousness and adventure. So that’s not really the issue.
When the film was first made, Hughes knew that a savvy kid could pull off a whole lot of crazy shit — much of which he couldn’t possibly get away with today. This isn’t to say the movie is without its truthful or earnest moments. Cameron’s Ferrari would definitely get ripped off, the Chicago Institute of Art is a life-changing place, school records are very hackable, Sloane would be excused from school when her grandmother “dies” – and Ferris’s tech wizardry, which helps him fake sick, is even more likely today. But there are many more big examples of things that don’t hold up.
Principal Rooney Would Be Fired For Stalking Ferris
Learning that Ferris skipped school, Rooney actually breaks into the Bueller residence and suffers a series of increasingly humiliating moments. He’s attacked by the family dog, his car is towed, and Jeannie, having skipped class to return home to catch Ferris, drop kicks Rooney in the face. In the movie the only punishment he gets is having to ride the bus back to school. There’s no way that the fallout from this wouldn’t be some kind of crazy local scandal.
Chicago Wouldn’t Put Up With Some Random Kid at a Major Parade
Today, in the extremely unlikely event that some kid cut into the Von Steuben Day Parade in Chicago and cues up “Twist and Shout” to incite a dance riot, that shit would be a viral video before the song was even over. And everyone at school would be retweeting it almost immediately.
The same principle applies to his sick catch at the Cubs game. No way that doesn’t get replayed on Sports Center or internet highlights.
There’s No Way Ferris Would Have Easily Posed as Abe “Sausage King of Chicago” Froman
Ferris got a table at a swanky restaurant simply by looking at the reservation list, and claiming he was Abe Froman, who he soon found out was the self-appointed Sausage King of Chicago. Today, a host could quickly Google that info on his or her phone, just to make sure. Or call the cell phone number on the reservation and see if Ferris’s phone rang.
Ferris Is a Terrible Friend And Would Never Get to Play Hookie From School Like That In the First Place
No matter where he went, Ferris’s actions would be recorded by modern surveillance technology, with text messages and security cameras providing plenty of evidence of their antics. Rooney could probably find out that they stopped to look at “Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte” at the art museum and just ask them for their security footage to bust this pesky student.
More importantly, Ferris’s mind games are basically charming for a careless 1980s teen, but if Cameron was a depressed rich teen nowadays, he wouldn’t need his best friend to ruin his father’s favorite car just to make him embrace life. He’d just blog about his feelings.