Ferris Bueller's Day Off: I Love the 80s edition

The film—and Ferris—is still as fresh and fun, witty and irreverent as ever. It’s a true classic, a pinnacle of its genre.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Subtitle: I Love The 80s Edition
Director: John Hughes
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jason Robert Alderman, Louie Anderson, Stephanie Blake, Virginia Capers
Studio: Paramount
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
MPAA rating: N/A
First date: 2008
US DVD Release Date: 2008-08-05

In considering Paramount Home Entertainment’s “I Love the 80s” edition of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I found myself wondering what the point of this release could be. Sure, Paramount has partnered with VH1 to promote a whole line of DVDs celebrating the ‘80s and its influential films, and to be sure, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the best-loved and most influential films of that era. But it received anniversary edition DVD treatment only two short years ago. So the point of this release must be purely financial. Perhaps the studio is hoping it will lend a little of the Bueller magic to the line’s other movies.

And it does have a certain magic to it, which undoubtedly explains why this movie is still so popular. Ferris himself, of course, leads the ultimate charmed life, but John Hughes, in creating such a character and then bringing him to life within Matthew Broderick's note-perfect performance, also possesses an undeniable magic touch.

Paramount is releasing 40 films in new “retro” packaging, highlighting many of Hughes' teen flicks like Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful, as well as some of his other 80s work such as Planes, Trains & AutomobilesNational Lampoon's Vacation and She’s Having a Baby. Also among the rereleases are other iconic 80s films including Beverly Hills Cop, Footloose, Top Gun, Fatal Attraction, American Gigolo, and Urban Cowboy. Obviously, because so many of these titles are culled from the teen movie genre of the mid-’80s (and therefore, naturally, several of them are also John Hughes films), these films still resonate with audiences.

As a writer and director Hughes, in particular, seemed to have tapped into the psyche of those on the verge of impending adulthood (which is the main theme in Ferris Bueller, one last burst of childlike wonderment and free-thinking abandon before growing up) in a way no one before, or since, has been able to. Everyone can relate to a Hughes film because everyone is, or has been, a teen. My mother has a favorite Hughes film, as do my far younger siblings and my son. Because I was the target audience when they were originally released. Unlike other films aimed at adolescent audiences, which tend to talk down to teens or trivialize their experiences, a Hughes brand teen film is character-driven, clever, and treats members of its audience as equals.

It's the focus on characters that make even the outlandish adventures of Ferris Bueller into something universal. Because being that age and having that relationship with the world around you is universal. For those who were not teens in the mid-to-late '80s, Hughes' movies nevertheless have a way of reminding you what its truly like to be 17. For those not yet alive when Ferris conned Cameron into taking the car, Hughes still manages to convey that understanding of what's happening to you right now.

If you were a teen at the height of the era, John Hughes movies, and Ferris Bueller especially, have a way of instantly taking you back to what you were feeling and thinking as you attempted to navigate your world of changing priorities and adult responsibilities. Watching these films immediately places you right back in the confusion and excitement of youth, just like hearing the quintessential songs of the era (many of which Hughes used to genius effect on soundtracks and scores) can.

Speaking of the songs, each "I Love The 80s" DVD is packaged with a bonus CD featuring four classic tracks: “Take on Me” from a-ha, “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo & The Bunnymen, “Need You Tonight” from INXS and Erasure’s “Chains of Love”. This so-called bonus also receives another resounding, “Why?” None of these tracks are featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, nor are they included in any of the other films in the series, to my knowledge.

Maybe I’m just being cynical. After all they are great, iconic songs of the decade in question, but shouldn’t Paramount have included some of the great, lesser known songs from Ferris Bueller (Some Big Audio Dynamite, the English Beat or the Flowerpot Men’s “Beat City” would have been great!), or even the INXS and Echo & the Bunnymen tracks that actually do appear on some of those other film’s soundtracks? I might be willing to consider that to be something of a bonus.

And speaking of bonuses, the 20th anniversary “Bueller, Bueller” Special Collector’s Edition is far superior—though by no means perfect—to this one, in its bonus features, with fun behind-the-scenes cast and crew commentary that makes it clear everyone involved truly loves this film even 20 years on. Some of the interviews are from earlier editions, and do seem dated.

The “I Love the 80s” version, in contrast, only includes a single special feature, the director’s commentary track with John Hughes from the original DVD release. While it is interesting to hear the ideas behind both the story and the film’s production (Hughes also wrote the screenplay), to get the director’s impressions of his then young and rising star and to note that many of the high school sets were shared with Hughes’ other movies, the commentary isn’t an exciting enough extra to excuse the lack of other features, especially given the fact that the list price for this version is actually more than any of the previous DVD releases.

Of course, cynicism aside, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is still a fabulous movie. Matthew Broderick is as brilliant as can be, his interaction with the other actors, especially Alan Ruck as Cameron, is a marvel of the mastery of comic timing. The only thing that seems dated at all, in fact, is the characters’ clothing.

The film—and Ferris—is still as fresh and fun, witty and irreverent as ever. It’s a true classic, a pinnacle of its genre. But, unfortunately, that’s no reason to cough up for this particular DVD. If you already own a version of Ferris Bueller on DVD, don’t bother with this one. If you don’t have it, look for an earlier version. Or just wait a couple years for the next one.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.