Has there ever been a more perfect encapsulation of wish fulfillment than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? The John Hughes classic turns 30 next week, and despite the decades since its release, it still rings true today: life is precious, and sometimes you need to play hooky to appreciate that. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race, and all of a sudden, you forget how awesome it is just to live.
Hopefully, you have a friend like Ferris to help you out of your rut (or, better yet, you are the Ferris of your group) and prove that sometimes you have to cut loose, sing “Danke Schoen,” and crash a sports car. Okay, maybe not that last one. Still, there’s a lot of you can learn about living life to the fullest from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
“Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.” — Ferris
If any character needed to seize the day and take a break, it’s Cameron Fry. The conflict between cautious Cameron and carefree Ferris is the crux of the film, and they could both learn a thing or two from each other. While Ferris could become a bit more considerate, Cameron needs to break free from parental expectations as much as you need to stop worrying about every little thing at work.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris
It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of waking up early, sleepwalking through work, paying your bills, and back again. If you learn just one thing from Ferris Bueller, let it be this: as adulthood looms, don’t forget to break your routine from time to time to metaphorically (or literally if that’s your thing) to smell the roses.
“Cameron has never been in love — at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like sh*t because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.” — Ferris
Cameron is so caught up in his cycle of fear and repression that it is hindering his ability to let go and live his life. Ferris may not take all of his issues into account when planning their day, but he really did want to help Cameron out. Learning to love yourself is the first step to loving others.
“The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh… you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.” — Ferris
Sure, you’re an adult now, so you don’t have to convince your parents to stay home sick. Still, a little trickery for the sake of seizing the day is good once in a while. Even if you’re just convincing yourself that you need a day off, use that sick day. You deserve it.
“Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” — Ferris
Ferris Bueller is nothing if not bold. Not everyone is a natural risk-taker, but pushing yourself to try new things is the spice of life. You don’t have to crash a giant parade to make a splash. Just a few small changes can make you twist and shout to a better you.
“I’m dying.” — Cameron
“You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do.” — Ferris
Boredom can be a real creativity killer. If you’re trapped by your own dull habits, your body and mind may turn on you like the mundane cycles of Cameron’s life did to him. Why waste your time hiding in a blanket cocoon? There’s a great big world out there. You should go see some of it.
“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.” — Cameron
By the end of the movie, Cameron is ready to take control of his own life. Expensive property damage might not be the way to go, but the metaphor remains. Whatever it is that is holding you back, send it hurtling into the woods and out of your life.
“Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.” — Ferris
Ferris is not one to be held down by convention. Well-behaved people rarely make history, so if you’re too busy toeing the line, you could miss out on all life has to offer. It all starts with singing in the shower. Next thing you know, you’re eating fancy food and visiting art museums in the middle of the day.
“What’s your name?” — Guy In Police Station
“It’s Jean, but most guys call me Shauna.” — Jeannie
“Okay, Jean.” — Guy In Police Station
Sometimes you just need a little danger to shake things up. Now, I’m not condoning hooking up with strange, strung out men you meet at the police station, but sometimes something that’s a little bad for you will do you some good. Just ask Jeannie Bueller.
“Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?” — Economics Teacher
Seize the day. Leave The Man wondering where you skipped off to.
The Ferris Bueller 30th Anniversary Edition is available on Digital HD now.