Save Ferris, I: A Look Back at Ferris Bueller

By Michael Andrew Dellapi

Via Livestream

If you’re reading this right now, congratulations! You happened upon the first ever edition
of “Save Ferris,” a column concerned with eighties movies and absolutely nothing else as far as I know. From the cringeworthy to the commendable, we’re going to look at all the films of the decade that made it so memorable in the first place. As the title of the column and the title of the piece might suggest, this review is going to look at “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and why you should know this movie just in case anyone tries to quiz you on your eighties film knowledge. You’d be surprised by how often that seems to happen actually.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a film about a popular teenage boy who decides to skip school one day with his friends to explore what Chicago has to offer. That’s the movie. The entire movie is essentially centered around a ditch day. There are smaller conflicts surrounding that premise, including a principal’s almost obsessive desire to catch Ferris in the act or his sister’s almost obsessive desire to do…the same thing. There is an unimaginable amount of beauty in how simple the premise of the film inherently is.

Simplicity is a common trend amongst some of the most popular films of the eighties, and no film did simplicity better than “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at the time. Through the rather open-­ended nature of the plot, considering that there is no distinct objective established by the film’s protagonist, the audience is invited to explore the dynamics of a multitude of ridiculously memorable characters. Initially, it seems as if the characters are one-dimensional figures. Ferris as the apathetic and popular everyman, Cameron as the overly cautious sidekick, etc. However, the film explores the complexities behind many of these archetypes and in turn comes to the conclusion that every teenager is essentially looking for the same thing: an opportunity to seize the day. Herein lies what is so important about “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” as a film. The message it conveys is completely universal, applicable regardless of the decade that it was released.

The movie is so much more than just about sending a “screw you” to going to school and pretending to be sick. It’s more than just tricking authority. Instead, it’s about the importance of appreciating every moment of your freedom, whatever that freedom means to whoever is watching. As Ferris says at the end of the film “life moves pretty fast.” This is just the beginning of my fast-­paced college experience, so I’m in part writing this to remind myself to appreciate everything that comes my way and to keep my priorities in line: watching eighties movies and writing about them on the internet.

See you all next week!

Michael Andrew Dellapi is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email him at


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