80s Odyssey Double Feature: Teen Wolf & Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

While reading Ready Player One, I felt the urge to watch some 80s movies, as I’m sure plenty of other people have since the book came out six years ago. With that in mind, I took to both Netflix and Amazon Prime to make that happen. I didn’t wind up with films directly mentioned in the book (if memory serves, which it doesn’t always), but did come up with a pair of favorites: Teen Wolf and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Sometimes after watching a movie, I get all excited with these ideas I want to be sure and get down on the blog only to realize I already did it! That’s what happened with Teen Wolf. I knew I had seen the movie in the past 5-ish years and had a great time with it, but didn’t realize I already wrote about. It’s a fun coincidence that the same year Cline published Ready Player One, I was on a HUGE 80s movie kick that resulted in a Teen Wolf review that almost perfectly reflects how I felt about this movie more recently.

I still love the werewolf make-up, Michael J. Fox’s relationship with his dad, Stiles and the inevitable questions of identity that come along with this 1985 Rod Daniel film. I know a lot of teen flicks don’t always hold up for later generations, but if kids can get past the basketball team’s short shorts, the teased hair and lack of cell phones, I think there’s a lot in here to enjoy.

On the other hand, I’ve never even mentioned Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here on the site. It’s a big favorite for a lot of peopl and rightly so, but I feel like I come at it from a slightly different angle. I’ve said before that a big reason I got into 80s comedies was because my dad loved them and would share them with me. But, those were mostly the films made by SNL alums around that time and not the teen stuff. As such, while I’ve seen most of John Hughes’ classic films, I don’t have the same relationship with them that many others have. In other words, I appreciate the ones I like as films that I saw in their entirety as an older viewer and don’t necessarily have the emotional connection that comes from seeing something as a kid (and usually over and over and over again on cable).

That being said, as a somewhat objective adult, I can say that I absolutely love this film. Hughes hit a total home run in casting Broderick as Bueller because the could have easily come across as the kind of arrogant, know-it-all who gets his friends in trouble without really thinking about the consequences. Instead, he comes off as a guy who, on some level, understands that he’s looking at entering the real world where no one cares if Ferris is sick or not.

He also has a fundamental understanding of his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) that comes across as sympathetic. Though it makes part of my brain itch, another person can disrupt your life, take over for a bit and leave you in a better place. In other words, if it wasn’t evident, I’m more of a Cameron in real life minus the parental issues.

These characters are just the best, Jennifer Grey makes for an excellent vindictive sister (just imagine if everyone loved your brother and had no idea who you were) and Jeffrey Jones’ Ed Rooney is the perfect over-the-top villain for this kind of thing. Boy, he sure was on a kick in the 80s between this, Beetlejuice, Who’s Harry Crumb and Howard the Duck!

Add all that to the fact that most people would kill to have a day as fun as Ferris, Cameron and Mia Sara’s Sloan (she’s absolutely my favorite young actress of this era) and you’ve got a classic that fully lives up to its hype.

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