Loving Ferris Bueller's Day Off doesn't make you weird. That's normal for any child of the '80s. Even more normal is feeling pissed off at Honda for its "Ferris Bueller" Super Bowl ad.
That's because the amount of money being spent on this ad and general attitude of the cast towards the film mean it's as close as we'll ever get to a real Ferris Bueller sequel. Sorry guys, but Matthew Broderick really was Ferris — and this ad means Ferris grew up to be a really lame-ass adult.
When I say there will never be a Ferris Bueller sequel it isn't my fanboy argument about preserving the past, it's the opinion of the cast. The film's eponymous star has said so himself, multiple times. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Matthew Broderick had this to say:
"'Ferris Bueller is about the week before you leave school, it's about the end of school — in some way, it doesn't have a sequel. It's a little moment and it's a lightning flash in your life."
Alan Ruck, who played Cameron, has been even more dismissive of the idea. Hollywood could resurrect a prequel or a sequel with another cast, but we're never getting Matthew Broderick playing Ferris. That dream is as dead as John Hughes.
So this is it. This is the only sequel we get. And it is a sequel. They got Broderick back. They hired The Hangover director Todd Phillips to put it together. They're going to spend millions producing and airing it — a total that could be as much as a third or a half of the original (non adjusted) budget of roughly $6 million.
If corporations are people then so are films. Honda has resurrected the peacefully sleeping corpse of Ferris Bueller and… for what? A CR-V? That's it? A dependable but milquetoast crossover?
I'm not averse to commercializing dead people, but you only get to do it once and you have to do it right. If someone wants to pay my widow and heirs a bunch of money to sell something that's ok. It just needs to make sense. So, in my case, it needs to be a CG version of me selling Shiner Bock beer and pajamas.
For instance, when Ford resurrected Steve McQueen for an advertisement they put him in the seat of a new Mustang and had him doing burnouts through a cornfield. Sure, it was corny, but at least the product made perfect sense. It was a tribute, even if it was for a commercial. This commercial — with a Honda CR-V rather than a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California (or even a new Ferrari California) — is more like Gene Kelly selling vacuums.
Flims carry great meaning for the people who watch them. Like all art, we may interpret the meanings differently, but the general consensus among the films fans has to be expressed in Bueller's own words:
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
This doesn't mean Ferris wouldn't eventually go to college, sell-out, or otherwise be an adult. Of course he would. The genius of Ferris Bueller is that he isn't an anarchist or a nihilist. He is philosophically against having a philosophy beyond his own limited pursuit of a bit of self-gratification in the face of pointless effort (i.e. the last days of school).
He's not even anti-work. No one works harder in the film than Ferris does. He just works within the existing power structure to achieve his own goal, which in the film is to avoid the fruitless work required by the school. It's why Ed Rooney, as the representative of the system, works so hard to catch him. Bueller isn't a threat to himself, he's a threat to the integrity of the system.
Matthew Broderick isn't attempting to subvert the system in the commercial. That's impossible. It is a commercial. He's just hoping to blow off his work — an entertainer's work at that — because it's a nice day and does so by lying to his agent and wife.
And even that, I think, would be ok. Maybe Matthew Broderick/Ferris Bueller drives a Honda CR-V. But why? I'd accept that Broderick/Bueller is now trapped in a dull, monotonous life and he's found an escape in the form of his car. That would mean that Ferris does evolve.
There's no evolution in this. No character growth. He's just living the same day over-and-over again while wearing a ton of makeup so that he looks vaguely young. It's just sad.
This gets to my other disappointment with this. You get one shot for a sequel and if you're going to do it wrong you at least ought to do it big and to do it big you need more of the cast back. As Jason Kottke pointed on Twitter: "That shit ain't right without Cameron."
Cameron is the ying to the Ferris yang. An example of a life not richly lived that eventually opens his mind and frees himself from the systems he's in to ultimately find happiness. He's also hilarious.
I also think they should have brought Sloane back, but maybe for different and more personal reasons. We get why Rooney can't be involved.
If you're going to resurrect Ferris Bueller and do it for the purposes of a commercial and mangle the philosophical underpinnings of the original the least you could do is make it awesome. This is just ok.
So I'm going to pretend this didn't happen. The only way to "Save Ferris" is to do to the advertisement what Ferris himself did to school: skip it.
I know it's just a commercial and all that, but I bet Parker Lewis wouldn't pull this shit.