This past week, the internet went ablaze with the release of a teaser trailer featuring Matthew Broderick saying an iconic line from his most iconic role … no, not the fish guy from Godzilla. Ferris Bueller!
While I don’t think many people expected this to be a trailer for a new movie, I was curious to what it could be. Maybe just a short film for fun? Or a promotion for a new edition of the film on DVD or Blu-Ray? Well, no. It’s a Super Bowl car commercial … and it wasn’t for a Ferrari.
In short, I think the commercial was clever (albeit still a sellout move) and having it be Matthew Broderick playing himself instead of Ferris was smart, but there have been rumblings on the internet about how awesome a sequel would be. As much as I love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I have a very good reason why I’m relieved they aren’t making a sequel.
Let’s assume the sequel would be about Ferris skipping work like Broderick was skipping work in the commercial. There are two basic ways his life could have gone (and yes, these are broad generalizations, but go with me on this):
1). Ferris Bueller has an awesome job.
This might seem like a given, since Ferris is awesome and cool and a righteous dude. But while Ferris was a righteous dude in the movie, he was also the David standing up to the Goliath of asshole authority figure. Yes, his breaking the rules was 95% about his own fulfillment, but for fans of the movie he was breaking out for all kids everywhere. If an adult Ferris has a great job, having him skip work wouldn’t make him a rebel anymore … it would make him a jerk who doesn’t appreciate having an awesome job in this economy. Or …
2). Ferris Bueller has a crappy job.
So you might be saying, “Well, problem solved! He has a crappy job just like he had to spend his days at the boring crappy school.” Well reader, the problem is that back in school, Ferris was forced to go to school. That’s one of the big driving forces of practically every 80s high school movie … being a minor keeps you from doing all the crazy things you dream of. When Ferris leaves the school for a day, he has an amazing adventure. When it comes to the kid who went from driving his dream car to dining in a five star restaurant to sporadically becoming the headliner of an entire parade, you’d expect him to do something amazing with his life. I don’t think we want to see him stuck in a deep rut.
I’m not saying that it would be impossible for one of these two ideas to make a good movie (it could be possible with the right people behind it), but I do think it would ultimately disappoint fans because Ferris is such an iconic character. And really, there are just certain movies that should never, ever have a sequel. I don’t even think Ferris Bueller should ever be remake. It’s one of those perfectly quirky, well-written movies with a huge dose of John Hughes magic. You just can’t improve on it.
While a Ferris Bueller would be loved by generations, they shouldn't because I highly doubt they could match quite what made that film great, the stuff you mention plus the teenage fantasy of breaking authority in a good way and having a great time.
Part of me is frightened that the desire that this commercial stirred up could be read by Hollywood as a desire to actually make a sequel. And given the state of mainstream film-making, they would go and do it. And fans of the original would go weep into their beer.