12 things you didn’t know about ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

SHARE 12 things you didn’t know about ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
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Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and Matthew Broderick in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” | Paramount Pictures

For the record: No, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is NOT my favorite movie of all time.

I’ve been hearing that one for at least 20 years now, usually along the lines of, “He’s no film critic, he says ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day’ is the greatest movie ever!”

That would be madness. The greatest movie ever, of course, is “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

KIDDING.

While “Ferris” certainly doesn’t rank with my all-time favorites such as “The Godfather I and II,” “Goodfellas,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I do love every single silly (and serious) second of the film, and it’s my privilege to be hosting a 30th anniversaryscreening of “Ferris” May 21 at the John and Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest, followed by a panel discussion with five of the supporting players from the film.

In any case, straight from my best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who saw Ferris passed out at 31 Flavors last night, here are a few Ferris Factoids you might not know about. (Thank you Simone.)

1.A simple and obvious indication Cameron is a quiet rebel who doesn’t go along with the norm: Throughout the film, this suburban Chicago kid wears a DETROIT RED WINGS sweater. (Hughes also happened to be a Red Wings fan, having grown up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.)

2.Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett, who played Ferris’ parents and will join me at the screening May 21, started dating during production of the movie and were married a few months later. They had two children, were divorced in 1992, but remain close.

3.Broderick and Jennifer Grey, who played his resentful little sister Jeannie, got engaged just before “Ferris” was released.

4.According to Ed Rooney in his phone call to Ferris’ mom, Ferris was absent nine times his senior year. Nine is also the number of times Ferris changes clothes before ever leaving the house.

5.Ferris also lounges by the pool (wielding a hilariously large cordless phone), takes a long shower, addresses the audience and plays the clarinet before starting his Day Off. That’s some long morning. In fact, if you charted and mapped out all of the activities Ferris, Cameron and Sloane undertake over the course of a single day, from driving downtown to visiting the Mercto an interlude at the Art Institute to lunching at Chez Quis to the Cubs game, etc., etc., by the time Ferris was racing to get back home and hop into bed, it would have been about 9pm.

Ferris (Matthew Broderick) sings on a parade float in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” | Paramount Pictures

Ferris (Matthew Broderick) sings on a parade float in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” | Paramount Pictures

6.The restaurant name “Chez Quis” is a play on a pizza chain: Shakey’s.

7.Charlie Sheen’s drugged-out philosopher character is named Garth Volbeck. Ed Rooney’s car is towed by Volbeck’s Wrecking Service.

8. Sheen’s older brother Emilio Estevez, who starred in Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club,” turned down the role of Cameron. Alan Ruck gave a memorable performance as the troubled 17-year-old, even though he was nearly 30 at the time of filming.

9.Bueller-ologists say the Cubs game playing on the TV in the restaurant where Ed Rooney just misses seeing Ferris after Ferris caught a foul ball was a June 5, 1985, matchup between the Cubs and the Braves. That’s a little late in the year for a day off from school, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. (When we see Ferris, Sloane and Cameron actually at Wrigley, it appears the Cubs are hosting the Montreal Expos.)

10.Mia Sara, who played Sloane, has been married to the sons of two show business legends. Sara was married to Jason Connery, son of Sean Connery, from 1996 to 2002. She is now married to Brian Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

11.The closing film of the 2006 Chicago Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park was “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” As the city’s skyline surrendered to the dark of the summer night and the movie played on an enormous outdoor screen, I circled the park and marveled at the sight of thousands of Ferris fans camped out on the lawn, enjoying a movie that was 20 years old at the time. How the city had changed from 1986 — and how much more it has evolved since then.

Imagine a 48-year-old Ferris taking an Uber past the Art Institute and remembering his kiss with Sloane in front of the stained-glass windows, and marveling at how much the Loop has transformedsince then, from the building of so many residential skyscrapers to Millennium Park and the Bean.

12.After a phone conversation with Ferris, Cameron hangs up, huddles in bed with the covers to his chin and says in a voice of quiet desperation, “I’m dying.”

The phone rings. Cameron picks up. Ferris says, “You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do.”

Surreal, absurd comedy? Sure. But it’s just one of many reasons I still maintain “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is really “Cameron’s Day Off,” as Ferris spends the day showing Cameron the wonders of a beautiful day in Chicago and reminding Cameron what he tells the audience at the end of the movie: Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

More than 600 movie theaters across the country, including many in the greater Chicago area, will be screening “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”at 2 and 7 p.m. May 15 and 18. For a theater near you, visit fathomevents.com. Click here for more anniversary events.

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