It’s been almost 33 years since juvenile delinquent Ferris Bueller faked being sick and took the city of Chicago by storm but the charm hasn’t worn off in the slightest. In fact, the public’s fascination with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remains so significant that in recent years pop culture enthusiasts have released a series of articles attempting to deduce which day Bueller took off on his adventure.
The HuffPost article “Here’s Proof That Today Is The Day Ferris Bueller Took Off” documents the trail of clues that led to the popular conclusion that June 5, 1985 was the day the events of the movie took place. “Hughes never explicitly revealed the date in the movie. But sportswriter Larry Granillo wanted to figure it out,” the article explains. “So he looked into the Chicago Cubs’ 1985 season trying to decipher the specific baseball game the teens attend in the movie in hopes of solving the decades-long mystery.” Granillo consulted Baseball Reference to determine which Cubs game the movie referenced, concluding it was June 5, 1985 when the Cubs lost to the Atlanta Braves 4-2. Hollywood Reporter article “Did ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ Take Place on June 5, 1985?” confirms this conclusion saying, “The movie shows Cubs pitcher Lee Smith (No. 46) pitching against the Braves. Baseball Prospectus says the foul ball Ferris catches was hit by Atlanta right fielder Claudell Washington in the top of the 11th with the game tied 2-2 …”
But why do we still care enough to dig through the details of a baseball game that took place more than three decades ago? Especially taking into account the fact that pop culture legend John Hughes famously wrote the script for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in just six days after originally pitching Paramount executive Ned Tanen just one sentence: “I want to do this movie about a kid who takes a day off from school and … that’s all I know so far.” How does a story that took six days to write several decades ago continue to resonate so strongly with contemporary audiences?
According to Go Into the Story’s “Great Characters: Ferris Bueller” the answer is simple: Ferris Bueller’s desire to skip out on his responsibilities is just so dang sympathetic. “Pretending to be sick on a school day that is way too sunny for social studies lectures is a wildly relatable desire. That nagging need to replace what we have to do with what we’d rather do is not just some irresponsible teen phase … Freedom is a human need that we never quite grow out of, and Ferris is that free-spirited wish fulfillment, the dude who gets exactly what he wants because he simply chose to grab it instead of letting it fade away.”
While Ferris’ character engenders awe and respect, there’s no denying that he also inspires no small degree of envy. While his parents are at work, while his classmates are at school, while the rest of the world is going about its routine, Ferris is living his best life, cruising around Chicago in a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, eating at pretentious restaurants and hot tubbing with his girlfriend. Ferris’ big sister Jeanie is certainly envious—“Why should he get to ditch school when everybody else has to go?” she famous asks—and Principal Rooney devotes his entire day to catching the delinquent in the act. But, as the movie not-so-subtly indicates, envy does not lead to happiness; ditching your responsibilities leads to happiness. This June 5, take a page from Ferris Bueller’s book of tricks and shirk your responsibilities. Instead of reporting to work or school grab your bestie and repeat after Ferris Bueller: “The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?’”
In the spirit of seizing the day we’ve assembled a checklist of activities to help guide you through your day of adventure.
- Tell a lie to blow off your responsibilities. Is it ethical? No. Is it responsible? No. But that’s kind of the point.
- Score some hot tub time.
- Make sure to bring a friend with you. They might have called it Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it would have been a sad adventure indeed without Cameron and Sloane.
- See an art exhibit. The trio went to the Art Institute but you can go anywhere you like. After all, it’s your day off.
- Rent or borrow your dream car.
- Eat at a restaurant you wouldn’t normally go to. Ferris and crew ate at Chez Quis but we think the point is not to eat somewhere ritzy and expensive so much as it is to go somewhere unexpected.
- Take in a game. It could be sports. It could be baseball. But it’s also soccer season and quidditch is always in season. Just in case here’s the MLB schedule.
- Score some trampoline time. Sure, it only represents a few seconds of screen time but doesn’t it sound like fun?
- Drink an elaborate, tropical beverage from a Tiki cup. That’s how Ferris starts off his day (after convincing his parents he’s sick, of course).
- Get in some dancing. It might be impractical to commandeer your own float in a parade but don’t let that stop you from shaking your groove thing.
“Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton
“Twist and Shout” The Beatles
“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” The Dream Academy
“Taking the Day Off” by General Public
“March of the Swivelheads” The English Beat
"B.A.D." Big Audio Dynamite
“Oh Yeah” Yello
“Radio People” Zapp
“Beat City” The Flowerpot Men
“I’m Afraid” Blue Room