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Ferris or Cameron?

Ferris or Cameron?

After watching John Hughes’ 1986 classic Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, I gained some new perspectives.


Who would you rather be? Ferris Bueller? Or Cameron?  

I was watching John Hughes’ 1986 classic coming of age comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off on the plane to Israel the other day and I couldn’t help asking this question. In part it seems like a no brainer. Would you want to be the cool guy with tons of friends? Or the awkward, hypochondriac dork with only one real friend? The guy where everything seems to come effortlessly, easily, as if the entire universe seems to bend to his will? Or the dude with the mean father, the endless issues and whose life seems to be a constant test? 

Would you rather be the cool guy with tons of friends? Or the awkward, hypochondriac with only one friend?

Most of us, understandably are pretty into Ferris. The awesome dude who somehow manages to lip-sync the best rendition of “Shake it Up Baby” ever created. This guy even has a movie named after him. Yeah, Ferris's life basically rules. 

And Cameron? No, thank you. I would rather not be the dude that has to face a stern-as-all-heck father after crashing his Ferrari through the garage and into the (awesome) back yard. None of us would be. 

But I'll be honest, after watching the movie again, I couldn't help but feel that it wasn't really about Ferris. I mean, sure, Ferris is the guy who gets to sing on the float and have the super cool gorgeous girlfriend. But it is Cameron that we really care about. It is Cameron that goes on the true (inner) journey. Ferris gets a day off. Cameron's day is as on as it gets. 

There is hardly a moment in the movie when Ferris is challenged or tested. He coasts through life with nary a problem. And sure, it might seem cool to us, but what's interesting is that he also hardly grows towards the end of the movie. He's still the same carefree dude. 

Cameron, though, he faces obstacle after obstacle. And with each obstacle, with each rock placed in his path, Cameron steps onto it and raises himself higher and higher. Until we reach the end of the movie, the moment when Cameron says “It's gonna be good”; when we know Cameron has a reached a new plane of existence, a world where he can begin to love and stand up for himself. 

To be sure, we don't want tests. We don't want a G-d that makes our life difficult. To be Ferris Bueller would be nice. But this is the truth: most of us, if we didn't get these tests from up above, if we weren't put in Cameron's shoes sometimes in our lives, we would end up shallow. A pool that has never been dug to see how deep it can go. We need tests because they help us realize who we really are. 

Cameron, at the beginning of the movie, he seemed like a weakling. A nerd. But the truth, as we discover, is that Cameron is the strongest character in the movie. Not because he can charm an entire city. Not because he can get away with whatever he wants. But because of the experiences he went through. 

So, who would you rather be: Ferris? Or Cameron?

October 24, 2010

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) hannah, February 24, 2011 10:34 PM

best time movie

i watched this movie and never really thought i can compare ferris and cameron to a story like this and its really amazing.

(5) Andre Ranulfo, October 30, 2010 11:14 AM

Think about it...

I remember when this movie was aired on TV in the 80's. In the other day when I went to school, all my classmates were talking about the movie. And guess waht?! Every body was talking about the Ferrari screne. So I always thought that the the Ferrari screne was what the movie was all about. As it was stamped on the shirts: "Save Ferris". Our hero Ferris needs to be saved. But Cameron... he is doind all right.

(4) Ozer, October 28, 2010 6:13 PM

Great insights

This article is a wonderful perspective on the challenges we face and is as relevant in 2010 as it was in 1986.

(3) Robert Dean Wells, October 27, 2010 4:12 PM

Food For Thought, Indeed...

Even after having seen this movie a gozillion times (and enjoying it every time), I had never really thought about what Elad so rightfully points out; it IS Cameron's movie, in a manner of speaking. It is actually he who comes to a maturity and accountability for his actions; "I've got to make a stand" after destroying his cold and strict father's prized Ferrari. This movie isn't so much about anti-authority and "freedom" from parental control, but coming to terms with it. It is a blessing, really, to watch Cameron growing up and overcoming his weaknesses and the obstacles, as the author cited. We get the feeling that after the movie ends, his relationship with his father will be, while not without certain difficulties, much improved and that the both of them will become closer and more, shall we say, like a "real" father and son, much like our relationship with our own spiritual Father for overcoming the obstacles He may place in our path, all for our eventual good to teach us a greater reliance on Him. I get that now, and bless you, Elad, for having the acuity to reveal that deeper truth from this movie. I wonder if that was (director John) Hughes' intent, gone unnoticed for all this time, and even if not, it is truly food for thought, thank you,

(2) bonnie farkas, October 26, 2010 5:06 PM

favorite movie

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. You're observations are food for thought.

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