Wednesday, March 18, 2015

it's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school

"Sportoes, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads--they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." Don't we all? Even though he's a bit of a selfish jerk, his heart's in the right place.

He--being Ferris Bueller. Class clown... perhaps; in the film we never see him in school, of course, and we'll ignore the follow-up TV series for now. "Righteous dude." And, maybe a bit of a pied piper out to inspire his fellow teens.

Day 1 with a movie I've seen many times, I should have a lot to say, but I find myself just sitting here enjoying the show. I suppose what matters here is what Ferris Bueller's Day Off adds to the conversation I've gotten going with Porky's and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The initial topic worth discussing is adults. In Porky's, the adults were either the enemy or just as bad as the teenagers--remember, Officer Jarvis and Coach Brackett join in the final conflict with Porky.

(Sidenote: this museum montage makes me want to go to an art museum.)

In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, aside from Mr. Hand, adults are pretty much absent. Mr. Hand represents a strange mix of fascist control and genuine concern for youths. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, adults are clueless, irrelevant except inasmuch as the young people let them exercise agency.

A second topic that comes to mind here on Day 1 is school itself. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is the only one of these films to show us the classroom--well, we see Sloan sitting in a very boring English class and we see Ben Stein teaching a boring Economics class, but we don't really see school in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

What these movies tell us about teenagers in the 1980s is that, well, school is just not the most important thing. Hell, it probably doesn't make the top 10. For teenagers, school is an opportunity to socialize with friends, hook up... Their personal lives, their extracurricular accomplishments, their relationships--these are the most important things in the world. Getting laid at Porky's, losing your virginity, or just having a great day away from all of the bullshit that adults make you do day in and day out--this is what matters.

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