Lessons from a teen classic: remembering to stop and look around once in a while

‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

Ah, Ferris Bueller. Your movie is full of quotable quotes but to me, this one sums the movie so well.

And given I’m all for noticing the world around me (see last week’s post here), it seemed appropriate to stop for a while and watch the world through the eyes of Ferris.


As one of the classics from my teenage years, Ferris Bueller has been on my list of ‘movies I’d love my kids to watch’ for a long time. Although they were possibly a little young, certainly younger than I was when I saw it, I was ready, even if they might not have been.

So the kids and I sat down to watch – well, my nine year old daughter lasted about five minutes and decided ‘it wasn’t her thing’, but her older brother and I snuggled together on the couch to watch, and my husband interjected often with quotes . We were absorbed as we watched. And laughed.

And, in my case, noticed both the changes and the relevance today.

Getting the movie

First, though, we had to FIND the movie. We didn’t have a copy. We don’t have Netflix or Stan (because we’re the opposite of early adopters and haven’t quite got on board). Apple TV has been a complete failure in terms of streaming. The movie is too old to find in those movie kiosks you find at the supermarket (our normal approach) and we’d thought about it after any shops that might sell a copy had closed.

Having eliminated all other options, we had to go old school. We had to find a DVD shop.

Do you remember them? How video (and then DVD) shops (or did we call them libraries?) were everywhere?? Initially they popped up to supplement milkbars and newsagencies. And then the big players, like Video Ezy, Blockbuster, etc – moved in? And you could spend ages perusing the shelves to make just the right choice? In fact, they were so prolific, they almost became characters in their own right (Clerks, anyone?) And then, seemingly overnight (well, within about six months around 2014 /2015), they’d all gone.


A few remain, remnants of their former glory, with the movies stored in random order, with dull lighting, and a hotch potch of cheap toys, lollies, magazines, cigarettes and drycleaning services (maybe that’s what the video shop near us the one near us). But, anyway, we found the movie and we were set.

Stopping to look around at Ferris Bueller for a while 

First observation

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stands up really well, for a movie which is over thirty years old.

It doesn’t appear super dated, maybe because Ferris and his friends dressed a little differently, liked music not particularly typical of the era (The Beatles, anyone?) and had an obsession with some of the finer things in life, like vintage Ferraris. The jokes and storyline still resonate too, and we can all identify with the desire to take some time off, can’t we?

On reflection, though, maybe my comments about the appearance of the movie is only partly true. Outside of Ferris, Sloane and Cameron, the rest of the cast – my goodness! Those hairstyles, the jewelry, the clothes! I am blocking my mind from the fact that apparently stirrup pants and snaplock body suits are back because that’s the 90s and … well, that’s bad too, but it’s a different era. This was set in the 80s. And what a stylish era it was (sarcasm laid on heavily!)

Second observation

It’s probably the things we that have changed incrementally which have the biggest impact when you watch it now:

  • Like not relying on telephones fixed in one place, which you have to wind up, or computers (the big new thing) which required basic coding knowledge to use.
  • Like needing to rely on your teachers and their textbooks for everything (because no one had google, of course).
  • Like the style of buildings, with their mock Victorian terracing or ranch style layout (unless you were Cameron’s family, embracing the post modern styles).
  • Central Chicago has also changed a lot, but that doesn’t stand out so much. Oh, how this brings back memories of my one visit to Chicago, and how great it would be to revisit!

Third observation

Somehow, messages and communication still existed, thanks to the (not always accurate) reliance of word of mouth. Gifts were big and excessive, however I think Ferris’ attitude might have pointed towards a shift from things to experiences (maybe).

Fourth observation

Including a cast of incompetent and oblivious adults is always funny (even if you are now old enough to be one of them) but a light touch is always needed. Jeannie  and Grace are two of my favourite characters for that reason (although I lusted after Sloane’s tailored shorts and leather jacket – what a great look!)

Fifth and final observation

There is something extremely satisfying about sharing experiences from your own childhood with your kids (or, in this case, kid – but my daughter will learn to appreciate it!), and for them to appreciate the joy.

It was so good, that I’m trying to think of what should be next!


Have you stopped recently and looked around for a while? What have you noticed? 

And (very importantly) what classic movie should I chose for my kids to watch next?


One thought on “Lessons from a teen classic: remembering to stop and look around once in a while

  1. LOVE Ferris. We have it on DVD – but I think my kids are still a bit young. I think they might like the Goonies though and perhaps some raiders of the lost ark.


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