It’s been 30 years since Ferris Bueller fulfilled every one of our teenage dreams and skipped school to take the most legendary day off ever. We’ve been saluting him ever since. While there are plenty of on-line tutorials that will give you the inside scoop on how to faithfully recreate Bueller’s big day, there’s no denying that his chosen activities would be very different in 2016 — a time in which Uber, Snapchat, and vaping (yes, Ferris would totally be a vaper) exist. That’s why we’ve created this timeline of what Bueller, Cameron, and Sloane’s day might look like in 2016.
Of course, we can’t even begin talking about Bueller’s movements without giving you an update on what the main characters would look like today, so let’s imagine that first.
In 2016, a kid like Ferris would be all over social media and you wouldn’t catch him dead without his formidable arsenal of devices, which would include the latest smartphone loaded with every social media app known to man, a fake ID (he got it off the dark net, obvs), and his trusty vape pen. He doesn’t get stoned, though. He just likes to blow giant clouds of Cinnabon-flavored smoke when he’s relaxing. It helps him concentrate.
We would hazard to guess that the truly sick Cameron would have spent his day reblogging depression memes on Tumblr and posting a confession bear about his true feelings on Imgur. Would he have gotten all the support he needed from the Internet? Probably not.
Considering that Sloane was supposed to personify elegance, she’d probably be a popular beauty vlogger. And since it’s never fully explained whether Sloane and Ferris are really together (even though the teenage psychopath promises to marry her), there’d probably be at least one scene in which she and Ferris discuss whether they’re Facebook official or not.
And now… let’s look at the gang’s day.
Ferris Covers His Tracks
Throughout the film, Ferris continually breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience. Today, that audience would probably be all of his followers on Snapchat — because all of that disappears immediately and adults don’t know how to use it. Would Ferris be able to sneak into his school’s computer and change the number of days he’s been absent? Probably. It wasn’t so hard in 1986 and school networks aren’t impervious to hacks now, especially when people (including Mark Zuckerberg) don’t change their passwords.
Ferris’ biggest goal would be to convince everyone he knows he is truly sick. That’s much easier to do in 2016. He’d update his status on Facebook — “omg, so sick you guys! Miss u!” — on which he’d totally be friends with his parents on, tweet out that he was having a horrible day “but I don’t really want to talk about it,” and then wait for all the likes and retweets to roll in. We all lie on social media, but who wouldn’t defend Ferris to the death to protect the polite fiction that everything we post on the internet is the real honest truth, so help me god?
Getting Cameron To Agree To Take His Dad’s Car Out
It’s 2016, Ferris must have Apple Pay, and if his parents are anything like many of ours, they’re probably not going to read an itemized list of day-to-day charges. This would put Ferris right in the clear to call an Uber (because the Lyft guys make you talk to them too much, right?), pick up his friends, and then hightail it out of their neighborhood. Cameron doesn’t want to come? He doesn’t have to! His wheels are no longer a requirement.
The Sears (Now Willis) Tower
It’s still the tallest building in Chicago, and that’s pretty cool, so it’s likely Ferris and Co. might have visited it during their shenanigans. But you know what’s more peaceful and romantic than standing atop a skyscraper with your girlfriend and neurotic bestie? A trip to Millennium Park to look at some chill architecture or a visit to the Shedd Aquarium where Cameron could have settled his frayed nerves by touching a stingray (it makes him feel so alive!). The gang may not be able to afford to touch a beluga, but the price to watch a shark feeding or meet a penguin is pretty reasonable. Plus, if Ferris really wants to propose to Sloane, the Shedd can make that happen… whales included. Put your money where your mouth is, Bueller! (Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?)
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange
In 1986, when capitalism was cool, Ferris and Co. took a trip to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Nowadays, the CME is no longer open for tours and visitors, but the average hip millennial wouldn’t head there on their day of exploration, anyway. Instead, Ferris would probably drag his friends to a Trump campaign rally to protest. Because even in 2016, Ferris is not a supporter of “isms,” especially “Trumpism.”
The Grown Up Restaurant
These hipster vagabonds have certainly worked up an appetite, and while L’Orangerie, the stand in for the swanky French Chez Quis in the original, is both closed and actually in West Hollywood, these urban explorers aren’t into bougie French fare anyway. No way, they’re looking for the most ultra mod establishment that will photograph best for Instagram (to be posted long after the fact, of course). The Aviary is their restaurant of choice, with the focus on extravagant cocktails and tiny pretentious meals. The fake IDs that Ferris procured for them work surprisingly well, but, due to unacknowledged inexperience, they have no idea what to order. They don’t serve PBR, so Ferris is left with vaporized alcohol that doesn’t do the trick. As a straight edge, Cameron gets to feel superior as Ferris fumbles through this ill-advised charade. Being thoroughly unsatisfied and still hungry, they swing through the McDonald’s drive through for some all day breakfast. They make a pact to tell no one that they actually ate fast food.
While Wrigley Field is still a hallmark of the Chicago experience, Ferris would never be caught dead somewhere so mainstream (plus, he’s a secret Cardinals fan). Hell nah. Instead, they’re buying some scalped wristbands and heading to the Spring Awakening Music Festival for some body paint, EDM, and maybe a little molly. There are only so many hours in the day, so they just grab a quick set by Crystal Castle and deadmau5. Cameron eventually begins to panic thanks to the grinding bodies, strobe lights, and sweat, so they do what teens do: cut and run. Still, they wear the neon face paint with pride for the rest of the day.
The Art Institute Of Chicago
Why would Ferris, who doesn’t want to waste a beautiful day, spend so much time at the Art Institute? The answer is that he probably wouldn’t. In fact, that whole sequence was put into the movie because of the personal significance it had for John Hughes. That’s cool and all, but a high school senior like Ferris isn’t really here for all that old-timey art. If he did want to soak up some culture, he might hang out at Vertical Gallery — which features art that’s inspired by the urban environment and street culture — or RSVP, which bills itself as a “conceptual retail experience” where one could both see an art exhibition, catch a show, or just buy a cool jacket.
Sure, Ferris secretly watches the Rose Bowl Parade with Jeannie every year, but for the most part, that sort of manufactured merriment is only the object of his derision (like the average hipster, the irony is entirely lost on him). While he may have refrained from posting on social media to maintain the illusion, that doesn’t mean that he’s left Twitter and Instagram behind for good. Because he’s in the know, Ferris catches wind of a flashmob taking place downtown. Because it’s a #tbt themed event, Cameron gets stuck holding a boombox while Ferris and Sloane somehow end up in the middle of everything. He promises to be her bae forever, but they both know that’s a damn lie. Still, it’s fun in the moment and their picturesque make out is immortalized in dozens of Snapchat stories. They’re definitely breaking up before college, but they’re down to enjoy a fun thing while it lasts.
Cameron Destroys His Father’s Car
Even though Mr. Frye’s sports car remains intact, Cameron is going to blow up his dad’s life in a much more meaningful way. As it turns out, Mr. Frye is in hot water in more ways than one; on top of embezzling funds from his firm, his name was also leaked in the Ashley Madison debacle, and that profile was live as hell (Chicago was in the top ten cities with the most users, after all). Cameron spends enough time searching for meaning online that he has amassed enough evidence against his dad to ruin both his professional and personal life. After years of nagging him to “be a real man” and not be so weak, Cameron is left with the choice to either send his information to both his mother and his father’s boss, or blackmail his dad for personal gain. The ending is left ambiguous and the outcome rips apart Reddit threds for years after, but most fans think he shared that information Anonymous style. That just seems like the most Cameron-like move.
What We’ve Learned
If you grew up adoring the original Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you may well be horrified by what the 2016 version would look like. A wise man once said that, “life moves pretty fast,” and maybe you’re feeling that as you realize it’s been thirty years since the film debuted. But the important thing to take away from this film is that it’s not the contents of Ferris’ day, but the sense of adventure that propels him, Cameron, and Sloane. Hold onto that and you can still make your own day.