The Breakfast Club v Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

border-breakfastLife moves pretty fast. You don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss a great 80s teen movie battle. It’s the famous school-skipper against the notorious detention-seekers. Read the arguments and decide. DON’T YOU… FORGET ABOUT VOTING!!

Ross McD: The Breakfast Club

Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns

Dear Mr McG,
I accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole two hours watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you what we think of it. You see it as you want to see it… inexplicably as a cult classic. But what we found out is that Matthew Broderick is a dick…and a tool…and a scrotum face.
Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club

I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. I know some people won’t even read these arguments, they’ll go straight to the end and click for Bueller. But I just don’t get it. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is terrible. Besides the great 80s staple Oh Yeah song and the Ferrari-booting scene, the film does not have a single redeeming feature. It’s more or less just a tourism brochure video for Chicago, though why anyone would want to go there knowing there was even the remotest chance of bumping into that prick is beyond me.

So many times I’ve seen Bueller crop up on ‘coolest character lists’ and the like. Why? How do people stand that smug, narcissistic smirk, those dopey, faux bewildered eyes, and that face you just wanna pound til it’s inside out? Not only that, he frequently indulges in the biggest, ugliest no-no in cinema rules: speaking directly to the audience. In theatre, it’s called breaking the fourth wall. In film, it’s called patronising, cringe-inducing and annoying. It even rubbed off on Broderick’s unfortunate foot-faced wife Sarah Jessica Parker, who during the early episodes of Sex And The City intermittently yakked to squirming audiences until she eventually copped on and kept her waffle directed at the other two whores and their mom.


Ferris 'The Kellogg's Cornflakes Cock' Bueller was not invited

We’ve all mitched off school and faced detention, possibly one in response to the other. However, we do not identify with Bueller, because it’s b*llox. But The Breakfast Club, we’ve all been there. The beauty of the film is that it can be viewed from five different perspectives: everyone who watches it either identifies with the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess or the criminal. And no matter which one we get behind, all five are equally enjoyable to watch. The chemistry is unique between each character, with ten individual pairings to engage, and that’s even before we throw Principal ‘Barry Manilow’ Vernon into the mix. Bueller’s only got the one character: everyone else is just filler.

Unlike the nonsense Bueller goes through, the Club’s detention is believable. Granted, some of it is a little far fetched (the ill-advised drug-induced dance montage springs to mind), but the conversations, the little jibes at each other, the pencil-fetching drawstring-pulling make-up-applying dandruff-drawing fidgeting and, most of all, the bored silences, make the film feel real and thus so much more fun to watch. And when each of the five admit to their insecurities and confide in people they wouldn’t have even acknowledged a day earlier, it’s actually quite moving, and not the cheesefest it could have been.
Which is lucky, because one year later, director John Hughes made a film that needed to consume all the screen cheese this planet could generate.

Ross McG: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Les jeux sont faits. Translation: the game is up. Your ass is mine

Ferris Bueller is a complete dick. He thinks it’s cool to skive off school. He treats his sister like dirt. He ruins his best friend’s life. He’s a smart arsed little prick who likes to show off. But you know what? I’d still rather spend a day with him than with five complete dicks. Has there ever been a more dislikeable movie bunch than The Breakfast Club?

Bueller is bad on his own, but multiply that by five and what do you get? The Jock. The Bitch. The Nerd. The Goth. And not forgetting… The Dick. John Bender is a staggeringly well-qualified candidate to run for the position of most annoying character in movie history. Down there with Stifler and pretty much anyone played by Martin Lawrence. Talking back to your teacher is not big and it’s not clever. Especially when you’re 34. Now go get a job.

Taking Emilio Estevez seriously as a wrestler is also difficult. Almost as difficult as taking Emilio Estevez seriously. Wonder how small the other guys are if he’s on the team. Molly Ringwald’s prom queen is as dull as a day in detention and Anthony Michael Hall’s geek is, frankly, unsettling. The reason he’s in on a Saturday? He brought a gun to school. Not cool. Ally Sheedy earns slight points for being Ally Sheedy, but the development of her basket case outsider is a shocking cinematic crime, as a botched makeover sees her go from hot goth chick to, well, Molly Ringwald.

Broderick always feared the worst when his agent called with news of his next role

Broderick always feared the worst when his agent called to tell him what his next role would be

The problem with The Breakfast Club is all its characters are just types. There’s nothing under the surface, no matter how hard the film strains to tell us that underneath they are all the same. You could spend years in detention with this lot and never give a toss about them. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may have a central character of astounding self-centredness, but it surrounds him with some great moments. The delightful Jennifer Grey’s sparring with Charlie Sheen’s druggie (think of the seconds of research that went into that role) is worth the admission alone. The film would have been a helluva lot more interesting – if perhaps less successful – if it had been called Jeanie Bueller’s Day At School. It also contains the definitive 80s movie song – Oh Yeah by Yello – good enough to pop up in The Secret Of My Succe$s (the one where Micky J Fox sleeps with his aunt) and, uh, K-9 (the one where James Belushi sleeps with a dog).

With Breakfast and Bueller, director John Hughes cemented his reputation as the king of the teen movie, but his greatest achievement remains the magnificent Uncle Buck, where in John Candy he had an actor with enough charisma to charm the audience. Matthew Broderick (star of The Stepford Wives) and Judd Nelson (star of Cybermutt) just aren’t fit to match up to the big man.

Would we really have minded if Ferris had been caught by Principal Rooney? Or trampled by that float? Bender’s fist pump to Simple Minds as he leaves school is an insulting ending – you’re damn right I won’t forget about you. You just wasted one and a half hours of my life. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the better movie, by the skin of its protagonist’s white, smug grin-forming teeth.

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Breakfast: 46 %, Bueller: 54 %



11 Responses to “The Breakfast Club v Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

  1. fandangogroovers Says:

    I saw these films when I was a kid and the films first came out. If you had asked me at the time I would have gone for Ferris Bueller but I watched them again in the mid 90’s while I was at university and The Breakfast Club has dated far better and is the stronger film. There is more going on in Ferris Bueller that may seduce young minds but the simplicity of the small cast and limited setting means The Breakfast Club has to work harder to be good. Think of it as a 12 Angry Men for a Brat Pack generation, the breakfast club is the clear winner!

  2. Oonagh B. McCann Says:

    I know you guys are movie buffs, but for the normal joe soap like myself, who just wants to enjoy a good laugh,cry and whatever else movies will bring, it was kinda annoying to have you strip The Breakfast Club assunder instead of letting it be what it was, an 80’s epic that normal teenagers of that era could relate to and identify with.Ferris B didnt have a look in, thats just my opinion, but isnt that what entertainment is…..ones personal taste, and I didn’t take kindly to someone telling me that my personal taste is shite.

  3. McD! Your attempted assination of one of my favourite movies is shocking! ” Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is f**king shite” I think not. On of my favourite things about Ferris is the way in which he addresses the watching audiences. It feels like your involved in his lil day of mischief. And lets not forget about the brilliant Mr.Rooney! “Come here doggy! Look what Uncle Ed’s got for you, you little f**ker! ” I watched breakfast club but never went back for seconds, but i’ll go on the mitch with Bueller anytime!

    ” Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we’d like to play a little tune for you. It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today – Ross McD, this one’s for you!”

  4. General Griervous Says:

    When Cameron was in Egypt’s land … LET MY CAMERON GOOOOO!

  5. Oonagh, I hope that ‘you’ is singular!
    I also think it is disgraceful that Ross McG abused The Breakfast Club

  6. Antonius Maximus Says:

    Peter M, Get off of the float!

    Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.

  7. Although i would really need to reacquaint myself with both movies i can clearly remember what a complete dick Bueller was – and what a classic side-shade he had. Agree with McG’s view of SJP, one of the best snouts in cinema/tv.

  8. No way, Breakfast Club. Way better all around. Judd Nelson, man. That’s it right there.

  9. Breakfast Club wins it for me. In fact, I wouldn’t put Ferris 2nd either because Weird Science is better. What would you rather do: have a day off school or make a woman who ends up being the beautiful Kelly LeBrock who has no problem taking you by the hand to the nearest bedroom for an introduction to (presumably) contraception-based human reproduction! I realise this argument would also place it higher than The Breakfast Club too – maybe I should just re-evaluate the whole thing!

  10. […] Read More: The Girl Can Write review | The Final Taxi on the late John Hughes | Foolish Blatherings review | Breakfast Club V Ferris Bueller on […]

  11. I like both films, but Breakfast Club can put you to sleep sometimes. It’s a little whiny in parts. And Ferris Bueller is a comedy where Breakfast Club is more of a drama.

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