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"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" director dies. John Hughes "got" Chicago

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(Topics:  John Hughes, Chicago, movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Zennie Abraham)

When I learned that John Hughes passed away, referred to one of his films "Sixteen Candles" and I thought: What?! Heck with that; the best John Hughes film ever was "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"! That is one of my top 10 movies of all time. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is tops in my movie collection and when I think of Chicago, my hometown, that's the movie I think of.


Because "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was and is the ultimate "coming of age" story but with a twist. Ferris Bueller already came of age before the movie; we come of age watching Ferris take over Chicago for a day, even as he was thought to be very sick by everyone at his school except the principal and his nosy sister.

That movie was the epicenter of popular sayings like "Who do you think you are? Abe Froeman?" (The mythical "Sausage King of Chicago" that Bueller claims to be while trying to worm his way into an expensive Friench restaurant), or "Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy... Ssssswwiiiinng batter!" , which Alan Ruck, who played Cameron, was actually ad-libbing "He can't hit-he can't hit-he can't hit-he can't hit". It had, front and center, every young man's fantasy: to drive a hot red car all over the place, have your hot girl friend and best friend in it, and absolutely no responsibility for paying for it (because your friend's parents own it).

(Of course, it took Cameron to cause its destruction, just as he was going through his pivotal change where he's ready to argue with his dad.)

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was Chicago: big, brash, bold, old and yet young, all in the body of Ferris Bueller. We saw every inch of the downtown of the City with The Big Shoulders, from State Street and Michigan Avenue, to The Sears Tower (I refuse to use its new name) and Grant Park and the Lake Front. It was a moving, wonderful travelogue of a city I love to this day.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was our introduction to one of America's bad boys: Charlie Sheen. Playing a drug addict who makes the moves on Ferris' sister (played by Jennifer Grey), Sheen's "James Dean" take was the hit of the show behind Matthew Broderick, who is Ferris Bueller.

I've got to admit because Broderick played his role so effortlessly, it's hard for me to think of him as anyone else he's played in his long and distinguished career. As much as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was a coming of age movie, it was Broderick's coming of age movie.
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