Most Rebootable 80s Franchise (Part 2) [Think Tank]

Grab your scrunchies and slap bracelets, it’s 80s time.

Ferris Bueller, by McNeil

Ferris Bueller 2Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was one of the seminal artistic endeavors of the decade. It’s characters are memorable and endearing (to the point that we’ll forgive Matthew Broderick for pretty much anything), the catchphrases still resonate (“Bueller… Bueller…”) and we all still pretty much want to be him. It’s time for a sequel.

Back in the 80’s, Ferris led us to consequence-free rebellion, to the realization that breaking the rules was fine if you were smart, friendly, and well-intentioned. Ferris had a loving relationship with his parents as well as the sportos, the motorheads, the geeks, the sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, and dickheads think he’s a righteous dude. His rebellion was a bloodless coup, a 20th century Saturnalia, when for a single day, the young were in charge (Cameron as Mr. Peterson lording it over Principal Rooney; Ferris as Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago). Nobody was hurt, everybody had fun, and Cameron realized the Oedipal complex with a $10.8 million sports car.

1986 was the middle of Reagan’s second term—America was poised to win the capitalism vs. communism debate, and we were obsessed with success, money, and hair gel. Ferris offered escape from that mindset. For Ferris, it wasn’t about the cost of the Ferrari (as it clearly was for Cameron’s dad), it was about the freedom it represented, the freedom to sing, to dance, to see fine art to eat fine food, to see something good today.

In 2009, things are a little different. We wanted to be Ferris, but we probably turned out more like Cameron. As we sit in front of our computers day after day, we know that capitalism’s star isn’t quite as bright as once it was. We’re still obsessed with money, but it’s no longer about getting more, it’s about getting enough. We’re stressed out, we’re worried, we’re working as hard as we can to keep the boss happy so that we’ll survive the next round of pink slips. Couldn’t we use another day off?

The sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off could offer us the same kind of hope. After lackluster academic performance, but showing great potential in computer science, Ferris is a depressed software engineer. (If this sounds like Office Space, consider the fact that Lumbergh clearly stole his shtick from Ben Stein.) As the film opens we see him in bed, on the phone, convincing both his suspicious boss and his watching wife and children that he’s too sick. Then he calls Cameron, successful Cameron, and tells him to borrow the company jet and come on over. After that, it’s the same movie: a celebration of rebellion over rules, giving those of us with kids, mortgages and 401ks another chance to hit the road, to twist and shout, to see Sloane change by the hot tub, to put our bosses in their place, and to be kings for a day.

Oh yeah.


BTW: Mr. Broderick is clearly ready for this:

9 Comments on “Most Rebootable 80s Franchise (Part 2) [Think Tank]”

  1. Glenn #

    I have but one suggestion: Perfect Strangers, co-starring Anton Yelchin as Balki.


  2. Gab #

    I can’t help but think your answer was spurred by a certain film recently in theaters, Lee. I get frustrated with remakes/sequels/prequels/etc., too, but I’m sorry you were *so* traumatized/jaded that now your love for the franchise has been marred. :(


  3. DaveW #

    Building on Gab’s comment and Lee’s answer, you know what really annoys me? When a sequel or reboot is so bad, it somehow makes the original (completely awesome) product tainted by mere association. While sequels and not reboots, the Matrix trilogy comes to mind as the most glaring example of this. The original was a spectacular film when it was released, but the sequels were so wretched that even the first moves has become an outcast and a pariah. Star Wars? Same deal. T:S (and T3, to an extent) hasn’t managed to have that effect yet, but McG’s still got two more sequels to finish murdering the originals with, so it’s still anyone’s game. Who here doesn’t think that the new G.I. Joe movie’s going to destroy any lingering fondness they may have had for the source material?


  4. Gab #

    Well, I’m quite easily entertained, and it takes a lot for something to get “ruined” for me to the extent that I won’t like it because of another edition to its canon- so I’m going to say “me” for myself. In fact, I think the previews look kind of awesome. Action fluff. BUT, I won’t be surprised if a ton of people *do* get jaded by the G.I. Joe movie.


  5. Erin #

    I won’t accept anything less than _The Adventures of Buckaroo Banazi Across the 8th Dimension_.

    …Cause the renaissance man/top neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car driver/rock star/comic book hero/last hope of the human race combo is hot.


  6. lee OTI Staff #

    @Glenn: “Anton Yelchin as Balki”

    @Gab: I did sort of have Terminator on the mind when I wrote “Leave ’em alone,” but I suppose that could have applied to the decision to make a sequel to Terminator 2. That David Foster Wallace article we mentioned a while ago certainly took the opinion that T2 ruined T1, which is certainly a minority view.

    But even if you think T2 was great (which I do), there was plenty of risk that the sequel would have fallen well short of the original. This of course did not happen, for 2 main reasons: 1) James Cameron is James Cameron and 2) T1 was super low budget; T2 was Cameron’s chance to really max out what could possibly be done in a Terminator story.

    So I guess a better rule of thumb than a blanket “leave ’em ALL alone” for reboots/sequels would be to make sure you’re really adding value and not just stamping out another copy of a template. Also, adding value is not the same thing as making random changes to the original just for the sake of being able to say it’s not just a template copy. Sigh, this is a topic for a whole separate post.


  7. Gab #

    @Lee: You’re so gonna blog about it?


  8. Bob #

    One Word – Krull! True, not a franchise to begin with, but I think they could build it into one.


  9. Eddie #

    I voted with Lee, but mainly just because HeMan and Masters of the Universe weren’t on the list.


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