Every week, Criticwire asks film critics a question and brings you their responses in The Criticwire Survey. We also ask each member of the poll to pick the best film currently playing in theaters. The most popular choices can be found at the bottom of this post. But first, this week’s question:
Q: On June 11th, 1986, John Hughes released his seminal teen comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Where do you think Ferris Bueller wound up? Where would he be on June 11th, 2013?
The critics’ answers:
“On June 11, 2013 Ferris Bueller wakes up in a drab, modestly-furnished Chicago apartment. He’s hung over, and the ashtray on his bedside table is full. Ferris looks at his smartphone, and he has a text message from Sloane: ‘Where’s my alimony asshole?!’ He coughs, scratches his crotch, and dimly wanders to the bathroom. ‘Life moves pretty fast,’ he says to the camera. ‘If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, your kids could stop calling you back.’ He runs to the toilet and vomits, then there is a knock at the door. Ferris opens it, and Cameron stands there with a sharp-looking suit and keys to a convertible. Ferris asks, ‘Why can’t you let me rot in peace?’
Cameron replies with, ‘If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away?’ He tosses the keys to Ferris, who smiles as he catches them. We see glimmers of the smart, ambitious kid from the original film. Ferris replies with, ‘Me either.'”
“I like to imagine that Ferris Bueller grew up to be Rob Delaney. But really, Ferris was a selfish jerk. Parading his gorgeous girlfriend around his sad-sack friend, whom he only used for a ride. Laaaaame. On second thought Ferris Bueller is probably a lawyer for Disney now.”
“In the West Village, trying to keep up with SJP.”
“Ferris Bueller would be dead. Let me explain: I always figured that contrary to his uplifting speech to Cameron, Cameron’s dad would come home and beat the shit out of his son for wrecking the car. Cameron would snap, kill his dad, and go to prison. Meanwhile, Ferris would become a highly successful salesman, as his ability to make anybody believe anything would take him a long way. When Cameron finally comes up for parole, though, he’s going to have just one thing on his mind: revenge. And he’s the only guy who knows all of Ferris’ tricks. ‘Who’s ready to die? Anyone? Bueller?'”
“I’d love to say that Ferris Bueller would still be the free-spirited, fun-loving guy he was in high school, but the truth is, he’d be a middle-aged, married man working a boring desk job that spends most of his time longing for his high school glory days. He and Sloane never would have been able to make their relationship work once he left for college and although he had a blast partying through his college years, reality hit him like a ton of bricks and before he knew it, he was no longer the cool kid. Marriage, mortgage, kids, divorce and corporate America have a way of bringing even the coolest kids down.”
“What happened to Ferris Bueller after the movie? After he graduated high school in 1986, Ferris attended New York University, where he graduated in 5 years with a Bachelor’s in communications. Next, he worked the NYC stand-up circuit, and did well enough after a year or so to catch the eye of an MTV talent scout, so Ferris soon became a VJ. He was successful enough to get some interest from the broadcast networks in developing and starring in his own sitcom, inspired by his stand-up and hosting career. Unfortunately, ‘Ferris!’ only lasted a full season on NBC — though some critics, such as Alan Sepinwall, would call it one of the brilliant but cancelled series of the 1990s. Once the show was axed, he kept performing stand-up while growing bitter as other comics, like Louis C.K., slowly surpassed him with more impressive writing and performing opportunities.
A few years into the new century, Ferris’s popularity was boosted after winning ‘Last Comic Standing,’ despite a tete-a-tete with host Jay Mohr that nearly ended in a fist fight, as Mohr gleefully mocked Ferris’ failed TV series and his catchphrase: ‘You lookin’ for me?’ Still, the win, plus his shrewd choice to hop onto MySpace before it reached worldwide popularity, helped Ferris become huge on the touring circuit, as he began to demand audiences as large as that of Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno. However, Ferris became desperate for new material so he started cribbing from lesser-known comics. Eventually, some of his peers, like Patton Oswalt, found him out and exposed him as a copycat. Though Ferris kept performing across the country, as well as in Canada and Europe, his plagiarism tarnished his reputation. He appeared on an episode of Marc Maron’s podcast in 2010 to clear the air — Maron, unsurprisingly, had beef with him — but nothing could wipe away the past. Eventually, as the touring profits dwindled, Ferris followed the lead of Rob Thomas and Zach Braff, and created a Kickstarter to revive ‘Ferris!’ (The rest of the cast was happy to return for scale, even William Devane, who played his irascible father.) And so, we arrive at Ferris on June 11, 2013, with 9 days left in the Kickstarter and only $478,000 of a proposed $3,000,000 pledged, hunched over his laptop in his Hollywood Hills studio apartment, clicking refresh.”
“Dead. Heroin overdose.”
“A notorious former president who recklessly launched wars and nearly destroyed the world? In a piece in the July 21, 1986 edition of New York Magazine, David Denby crowed, ‘What is Ferris Bueller if not a junior George Bush? He can screw around because he knows he will soon own everything.’ Enjoy that, Obama Nation.”
“Ferris Bueller would have been 17 or 18 in 1986. As a senior in high school, we didn’t see anything that might keep him from graduating since he had defeated the Dean of Students, Mr. Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), and it was more as if he took his friends on their own senior ditch day. On June 11th, 2013, he would be about 44, just ripe for a midlife crisis. Bueller would have gone on to college, gathering a huge following in Chicago, particularly after his parade stunt. During college, he’d have gotten together with Cameron (Alan Ruck) and restored that 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. As someone who appreciated classic cars, he’s then start a little business restoring classic cars after finally buying his own, perhaps a 1957 convertible Ford Thunderbird. After graduating in 1990, he’d taken off for a year with either Cameron or Sloane (Mia Sara) or both on a road trip across America in the Ferrari or his Thunderbird. Along the way there would be more parades, more singing, more examining of great works of art and more friends. He’d tell Cameron and Sloane, ‘The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?” Cameron would meet up with his future wife during this trip and Sloane and Ferris would get married.
Mr. Rooney’s secretary, Grace (Edie McClurg), noted that Ferris Bueller was popular with the ‘sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads’ and that they all adored him. A person with such popularity should become a politician, a salesperson, or a TV personality. Being a politician would have forced Bueller to work hard and work within the confines of the bureaucracy and that would have killed his exuberance for life. Sales can be competitive and requires a driven personality; that wouldn’t suit Bueller either. We know that Bueller was clever enough to change his number of absences from nine to two by using the computer his parents had given him. The 1990s was the time when the Internet became commercialized and it would seem logical that Bueller would be in on some sort of social Internet project, becoming a TV personality as part of the Dot-com boom in the late 1990s. He’d be one of those early dot-com millionaires, perhaps living in Silicon Valley, however, he’d jump out and cash in his stock before the dot-com bubble burst. After all, he’d think, ‘How could I possibly be expected to handle work during a year like this?’ Having foreseen the dot-com dot-gone era, he’d enlarge his fan base by becoming motivational speaker on how to ideate and enjoy life: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ Married, he’d have two kids who would probably be homeschooled. Their home would be completely off the grid because Bueller wasn’t a man who thrived under restrictions and liked making his own rules.
By 2013, he’s be ready for another car: a Tesla roadster and yet this time, he’d celebrate his midlife with an identity crisis and might actually want to learn about European socialism (and socialized medicine). In June of 2013, he’d be preparing to take his family on a one-year trip to see the world because having seen them grow up so fast he’d realize just how fast life was moving now and he’d want to hold on to their childhood and this family unit for a little bit longer. As the family sets off on their journey, he’d tell them: ‘The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?””
“Kids who goofed off or coasted in high school usually find that the real world is a lot harder, so I’ll assume Ferris initially found it rough going when he graduated and was thrust into the workplace. But since he was extremely resourceful, he probably bounced right back, more wily than ever before. His smarts certainly would have foreseen the way technology would change our society, and someone as rebellious as he would have wanted to somehow keep challenging conventional attitudes. Therefore, my best guess is that he made a fortune as the inventor of a cell phone app that generated coughing/wheezing/puking noises, perfect for kids who need to convincingly call in sick from school.”
“If this were a pitch for a film, he’d obviously be stuck in a rut of some sort and in need of a day off, just dodging professional responsibilities instead of scholarly ones. Ferris would be in his mid 40s, so I think in all actuality he’d probably be something of a man-child, perpetually frustrating yet winning over Sloane time and time again. My guess is he’d likely also have a kid following in his footsteps, if not now, then soon. Reading this back, did I just put him into a slightly alternate version of ‘Before Midnight?’ Oh well.”
“Sitting behind his desk as the CEO of ExxonMobil, still attempting (unsuccessfully) to play the clarinet.”
“Buzzfeed, but just laid off because he ran out of things to post. So now he’s going to take an internship at Yahoo.”
“He probably would have made millions creating something spectacularly fun yet beautifully simple, like apple sauce packets or the Red Zone Channel on DirecTV, or an app that lets you find parties going on nearby wherever you are. He probably would have left Shermer, Illinois, but wouldn’t have gone too far — a penthouse in a high rise on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, perhaps, where he’d throw infamously wild bashes every year after the St. Patrick’s Day parade. And he’d have married Sloane, just like he promised — with Wayne Newton performing at the reception, naturally.”
“I am not a fan of Ferris so can’t say I have given him a thought since 1986. (I also think ‘The Breakfast Club’ was a bunch of stereotypes complaining that they were stereotypes.)”
“Evading the line to buy lunch from the actual sausage king of Chicago.”
“Today Ferris would be a sad broken man who long ago realized you can’t take a day off from life’s many disappointments. He’s most likely a drinker who wore out his welcome at the local dive bar after telling that ‘time I took over the parade’ story for the umpteenth time. He doesn’t understand this world and doesn’t have a place in it anymore. On June 11th he breaks down crying on a park bench and passersby don’t acknowledge him which only makes him cry harder. There’s no one left who can save him. Poor bastard.”
“Making ads for Honda.”
“Since Ferris was approximately 18 when the movie was released in 1986, he’d be 45 today. Which puts him right at the front door of middle age, and ready to begin drooling about buying the Ferrari he so blithely ‘borrowed’ as a kid. But as Ferris visits a vintage car showroom on June 11, 2013, to price the 1961 Ferrari GT California he and his pals tooled around with, he learns to his dismay that the cool wheels that cost $350,000 in ’86 now fetch $10,976,000, the most recent auction price (2008), making it one of the most expensive cars ever sold. How is Ferris ever going to get his hands on that steering wheel again? He’ll think of something.”
“I’d like to believe he is still in his hometown, divorced, broke and enviously reading the tweets and Facebook status updates from the marginally successful film critic he never invited on one of his sexy and thrilling adventures back in school.”
“While no one is exactly sure of Ferris Bueller’s exact location, most agree he is most likely on a Caribbean private island enjoying drinks and long soliloquies into a long forgotten fourth wall. After single handedly causing the housing crisis with his toxic asset advice, advice given while he was deep-sea fishing during a ‘family emergency,’ Ferris was forced to flee the country to avoid criminal charges. His business partner, Cameron, did not fare as well. Cameron is currently in a lovely minimum security facility in upstate New York.”
“I like to think that he married a hilarious and kindhearted woman who happens to be an heiress of a big banking fortune, which allows him not to have to work, but on the sly, the two of them come up with brilliant and damning protest actions against that same bank that are carried out by Occupy Wall Street.”
“Married to Cameron — obviously. A happy marriage? Well, I see Ferris hanging on to his beloved directionlessness, to the mounting frustration of friends and family, in stark contrast to Cameron, who liberated himself from crippling daddy issues ages ago. Ferris’ ‘days off’ sometimes turn into weeks and months, and they’re pathetic at best, a cry for intervention at worst. Ironically, or not so much, both are attracted to young men who have that androgynous, ‘young Matthew Broderick/Charlotte Gainsbourg’ look.”
“I thought it was common knowledge that Ferris is now a museum educator after being drummed out of the teaching profession for rigging a high school class president election.”
“It was another Hughes character, Allison Reynolds, who responded to the question of whether we’re all going to end up like our parents by saying, ‘It’s unavoidable. It just happens. When you grow up, your heart dies.’ If Allison is right, Ferris comes home from his middle management position at a Chicago technology corporation to the Highland Park split-level he shares with his wife and three kids. His relationship with each of them is described by the couple’s marriage counselor in her notes as ‘cordiality masking profound distance.’ His garage houses a 1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 that he only drives on Sunday excursions to the golf course. When asked why this model, he mumbles something about the ’61 250 GT California not performing well in rear collision tests. Every year on Von Steuben Day, he locks himself in his study to watch the parade while listening to the Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ on repeat. His family has never asked why. This July 11, he’ll watch the Cubs take on Cards at home after work and fall asleep in the top of the 6th.”
“After his father’s 1987 conviction and imprisonment for insider trading, Ferris Bueller’s life took a sharp downturn. His mother, both furious and embarrassed at her husband’s inability to cover his tracks, took to drink and became withdrawn. Her performance at work declined sharply and she was eventually let go; she spent her days roaming the formerly bright and joyous Bueller household giving off an air of vodka and despair. With no income, and Ferris’ ineligibility for financial aid due to his abysmal grades and constant violation of every rule in the school’s charter, he was expelled from college and returned home. These events deflated some of Ferris’ natural effervescence, and began to negatively impact his relationship with Sloane, as he became increasingly frantic about how to support himself (and, secondarily, his family) in the lifestyle to which he’d become accustomed. One fateful day when commiserating with his sister Jeannie, she introduced Ferris to her boyfriend, a low-level drug dealer with an uncanny resemblance to Charlie Sheen. He told Ferris that there was money to be made supplying the Chicago suburbs with high-end cocaine. Ferris, unable to think of any other way as profitable to keep what left of his family afloat, agreed, and began to move large quantities of product. At first, the money was good, and Ferris’ mother, unaware of how he was making the money, emerged from her gloom. But like all things that seem too good to be true, this was. Charlie Sheen was a confidential informant for the DEA, and when Ferris and Cameron (his ever-reluctant lieutenant) met with a gentleman from Medellin, they were arrested. On Cameron’s testimony as a state’s witness, Ferris was convicted of numerous federal drug charges, and got 25 to life. And so, in the fall of 1989, the autumn of the ’80s themselves, Ferris Bueller was sent to federal prison. Popular among the other inmates, the scourge of the warden’s and guards’ lives, Ferris Bueller remains there to this day, ineligible for parole. Occasionally, late at night, a melancholy voice singing ‘Danke Schoen’ can be heard from Ferris’ cell.”
“Did anyone say ‘fry cook on Venus’ yet?”
“Ferris would be writing ‘real’ movies or good copy for a real agency.”
“Isn’t he stumping for Honda? Other than that, he’s probably doing his best to avoid real work, and is therefore likely a fellow film critic.”
“Ferris Bueller became Jim McAllister, and having been so utterly disgraced a decade ago, he now teaches English as a foreign language somewhere in Southeast Asia. Ferris peaked in high school, and he knows it.”
Thanks to Josh Larsen for inspiring this week’s Criticwire Survey.