U2 Pop Culture Database

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Writer and Director:
John Hughes [Mr. Mom; Vacation; Sixteen Candles; The Breakfast Club; European Vacation; Weird Science; Pretty In Pink; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Some Kind Of Wonderful; She's Having A Baby; Uncle Buck; Christmas Vacation; Home Alone; Career Opportunities; Only The Lonely; Curly Sue; Beethoven; Home Alone 2: Lost In New York]
Principal Cast:
Ferris Bueller.....Matthew Broderick [WarGames; Ladyhawke; Project X; Biloxi Blues; Torch Song Trilogy; She's Having A Baby; MichaelVox Top Five Film: Glory; Family Business; The Freshman; The Night We Never Met; The Lion King; Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle; The Cable Guy; Addicted To Love; Godzilla; Election; You Can Count On Me]
Cameron Frye.....Alan Ruck [Bad Boys; Class; Three Fugitives; Young Guns II; Speed; Twister; Spin City; From The Earth To The Moon]
Sloane Peterson.....Mia Sara [Timecop]
Edward R. "Ed" Rooney, Dean Of Students.....Jeffrey Jones [Amadeus; Beetlejuice; Valmont; The Hunt For Red October; Ed Wood; Houseguest; The Crucible; The Devil's Advocate; Sleepy Hollow]
Jean "Jeanie" Bueller.....Jennifer Grey [Red Dawn; Reckless; American Flyers; Dirty Dancing; Wind; It's Like, You Know...; Bounce]
Boy In Police Station.....Charlie Sheen [Red Dawn; Platoon; Lucas; Wall Street; Young Guns; Eight Men Out; Major League; Men At Work; The Rookie; Cadence; Hot Shots!; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Major League II; The Arrival; Being John Malkovich]
Economics Teacher.....Ben Stein [Planes, Trains & Automobiles; The Wonder Years; Ghostbusters II; Soapdish; Honeymoon In Vegas; Dave; The Mask]
Simone Adamlee.....Kristy Swanson [Pretty In Pink; Hot Shots!; Buffy The Vampire Slayer; The Program; Higher Learning; Big Daddy]
Economics Student.....Max Perlich [L.A. Law; Gilmore Girls; NYPD Blue; Can't Buy Me Love; Lost Angels; Gross Anatomy; Gleaming The Cube; Drugstore Cowboy; Rush; MichaelVox's Number One Drama: Homicide: Life On The Street; Cliffhanger; Maverick; Georgia; Beautiful Girls; Blow]

Tagline: One man's struggle to take it easy.

U2 Pop Culture Reference:
[Film Time: 33:30] Ferris Bueller is playing hooky on a sunny Chicago day. He gets his friend, Cameron Frye to call the principal pretending to be Ferris' girlfriend's (Sloane Peterson) father in order to get her out of school as well. He says that her grandmother has died. After Ferris picks her up wearing a disguise, Principal Rooney tries to catch them in a lie. He calls Sloane Peterson's house where an answering machine message has a sobbing woman say that they can be reached at a different number. The secretary dials this new number for the principal.
Grace the secretary: OK
Principal Ed Rooney [to himself]: I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.
Answering Machine: You have reached the Coughlin Brothers Mortuary. We are deeply sorry we are unable to come to the phone right now but if you leave your name and number we'll get back to you as soon as is humanly possible. [Beep.]
Rooney: Something's going on God Damn It.
As the message is playing, we see that the answering machine is in Cameron's room. We can tell this by the medicine that's right beside the machine. On the wall behind the machine is a framed New Year's Day 45. The same photo of Peter Rowen holding what looks like a flag pole can be found on the CD single, but the 45 does not include the live tracks. The 7 inch single is Island Records Number 99915.

Also someone e-mailed saying that on Ferris' wall is a big poster for Jah Wobble's album Snake Charmer, which Edge plays on. I haven't heard the album, but he plays a slide guitar solo on "Snake Charmer" and "Snake Charmer (reprise)" as well as lead guitar on "Hold On To Your Dreams" There are only five total songs on the album, so Edge appears on more than half of it. [Thanks to Tara for the Jah Wobble submission.]

I've recently learned that there is a early script for FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF on the internet. I found it here, as part of a fantastic FERRIS-related website. I can't vouch for its validity, but let's just assume it's a real, but early, draft. It contains two U2 references that would have made the film even more enjoyable, had they stayed in the finished version. One is a song, and the rights may have been too expensive to secure. If you read enough of this script you'll see that Hughes' final product is quite a bit better than some of the dialogue in this early script. Read it for yourself.
Here are the two references:

U2 Reference One.
We are early in the film, when Ferris is talking to the camera about how he fooled his parents into thinking he was sick. This is after his shower and as he's walking around his house.
Ferris comes down the stairs. He's wearing a completely different outfit. Ferris: One very serious danger in playing sick is that it's possible to believe your own act.
Interior Kitchen
Ferris comes into the kitchen and crosses to the refrigerator.
Ferris: That and boredom. A lot of people ditch and feel great for about an hour. Then they realize there's nothing to do. TV and food. I myself have ditched and gotten so bored I did homework. Figure that shit out.
He takes a sip out of a bottle of orange juice.
Ferris: You have to plan things out before you take the day off. Otherwise you get all nervous worrying about what to do and all you get is grief and the whole point is to take it easy, cut loose and enjoy.
He crosses to the pantry.
Ferris: You blow your day and at about three o'clock, when everybody's out of school, you're going to wish you'd gone to school so you could be out having fun.
He emerges from the pantry with a handful of Oreos.
Ferris: Avoid the misery. Plan your day. Do it right.
Interior Family Room
Ferris walks in and flops down in an armchair.
Ferris: There's a lot of pressure at work in my age group. And it's not always recognized.
He reaches over and picks up the telephone. He sets it in his lap.
Ferris: Some guy whose hair is falling out and his stomach's hanging over his belt and everything he eats makes him fart, he looks at someone like me and thinks, "This kid's young and strong and has a full, rich future ahead of him, what's he got to bitch about?"
Close Up Phone
He punches out a number.
Interior Family Room
He remote controls the TV on.
Ferris: That's just one reason why I need a day off every now and then.
Exterior Another House
A sleek, modern house on a couple of deeply wooded acres. A prime house in a prime location. A telephone rings.
Interior Boy's Bedroom
It's a dark, dreary sick room. Shades drawn, floor strewn with used tissues, nightstand a still-life of over the counter remedies. A high school boy, Cameron Frye, is laying in bed. We don't see his face, only a silhouette with a thermometer sticking out his mouth. U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is playing. He's mumbling random words.
Cameron: Food...shelter...no...yes...
The phone rings. His hand reaches back and hits the speaker phone button.
Cameron [weak]: Hello?
Ferris [voice]: Cameron! What's happening?
Cameron: Very little.
Ferris [voice]: How do you feel?
Cameron: Shredded.
Ferris [voice]: Is your mother in the room?
Cameron takes the thermometer out of his mouth.
Cameron: She's not home. Where are you?
Ferris [voice]: Home.
Interior Ferris' Family Room
Ferris is sprawled out in the chair.
Ferris: I'm taking the day off. Get dressed and come over.
Cameron: I can't. I'm sick.
Ferris: It's all in your head. Come on over.
Interior Cameron's Room
Cameron's insistent.
Cameron: I feel like complete shit, Ferris. I can't go anywhere.
Ferris [voice]: I'm sorry to hear that. Now, come on over and pick me up.
Ferris disconnects. Cameron slowly hangs up the phone.
Cameron: I'm dying.
The phone rings again. Cameron hits the speaker button.
Ferris [voice]: You're not dying. You just can't think of anything good to do.
Interior Ferris' Family Room
Ferris hangs up.
Ferris: If anybody needs a day off, it's Cameron. He has a lot of things to sort out before he graduates. He can't be wound this tight and go to college. His roommate'll kill him. I've come close myself. But I like him. He's a little easier to take when you know why he's like he is. The boy cannot relax. 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....And Cameron would worry that he'd owe taxes on it.

U2 Reference Two.
We are now towards the end of the film. They are all back from their adventure and are in Cameron's garage trying to roll back the odometer by driving the car in reverse.
Closeup of Odometer
Nothing is happening.
Interior of Garage
Cameron pulls his head out of the car.
Cameron: Ferris? It's not working.
Ferris looks up.
Cameron: The miles aren't coming off, running it in reverse.
Ferris: I thought that might be a problem. Let's crack open the odometer and roll it back by hand.
Cameron shakes his head.
Cameron: I got a better idea. It's cool.
He walks back around behind the Ferrari.
Cameron: Seventeen years and I've never taken a stand. Now, I'm gonna do it. I'm taking a stand against my father, against my family, against myself, against my past, my present and my future. I will not sit idly by as events that affect me unfold to change the course of my life. I will take a stand and I will defend it. When my father comes home tonight, he's finally going to have to deal with me. Good or bad, I'm taking a stand.
Closeup of Ferris. He Turns To Camera
Ferris: This is a big U-2 fan.
Closeup of Sloane. She smiles proudly at Cameron. She applauds him.
Closeup of Cameron. He's serious and determined. He has made up his mind and it appears that it won't be changed by anyone but himself.
Closeup of Tires. They're spinning wildly.
Closeup of Mercedes Bumper. Cameron's foot rests on the bumper. A beat and it gives a mighty shove.
Closeup of Tire. The spinning tires slam down on the cement.
Interior of Garage. Cameron has kicked the Ferrari off the jack. It squeals out of the garage in a cloud of blue tire smoke. A $50,000 unmanned investment heading backwards down a driveway.
Closeup of Sloane and Ferris. They're in shock.
Exterior of House. The Ferrari shoots down the driveway.
Interior of Garage. Cameron watches the car go. He's strangely placcid about the impending disaster. Ferris and Sloane are bewildered.

Extra notes: in the script the band is spelled U2 once and U-2 the second time.....Hughes felt like there needed to be a reason for Cameron to finally fight back, apparently being a U2 fan was the reason he wanted to go with.....the car switches from a Mercedes to the Ferrari we remember from the film.....the car crashing through the window into the woods below turned out to be much better than the early script which had it tearing down a driveway. [Thank you to Stephane "Joker" for telling me about this script.]

Besides U2, is it worth watching?
What would we have done in the 80s without Mr. Hughes to make us laugh and cry. Although many would give the nod to THE BREAKFAST CLUB, FERRIS BUELLER is his true masterwork. You get the official Hughes location of Chicago, including a Cubs game and the Sears Tower. You get onscreen graphics (how to fake out the parents). You get the protagonist talking to the camera (remember when he covers his own eyes and washes his groin in the shower?). There are cool camera angles (Ferris jumping over the fence at the end, Cameron staring at the painting, the car jumping while the STAR WARS theme plays.) And most of all, you get the patented Hughes soundtrack, including the best use of Yello's OH YEAH, the heartbreaking rendition of The Smith's PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME GET WHAT I WANT performed by the Dream Academy while they look at artwork in a gallery, the sappy, but perfect for the era's THE EDGE OF FOREVER also by Dream Academy, and the clincher, Sigue Sigue Sputnick's LOVE MISSILE F1-11. When I worked at a cool Orange County record store in 1985, LOVE MISSILE F1-11 was the single most played record in the store. This just about as funny a film on its tenth viewing as it is on its first. There is also quite a cast of then-unknowns.

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copyright © 2001 Michael Warner Cummins
Most recent update: 6/20/02 5:25:08 PM
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