07 September 2009

Swing batter, batter! Swing, batter!

I've been told more than a few times that there must be something wrong with me because I'm not particularly fond of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. What can I say? It just never appealed to me. It's not a bad film. I just don't think it's the classic that everyone else seems to think that it is. Why? I can't get past the whole idea that there is no way that Ferris, Cameron and Sloane can get everything accomplished in the time that they have before Ferris has to get back home to keep his ruse going.

Yes, I know, it's only a movie, but I have always had issues with movies that don't assume the person watching it can figure out when something is complete BS. More on that later.

Next week, a reporter from Chicago is going to try to re-create the events of the film, as the movie lines up with reality in a nice tidy row. He won't be the first to try this, either.

Given that it's 23 years later than the time of the movie, there's no way he's even going to come close to pulling this off. The Wrigley Field situation alone will ruin any chance.

I've thought about this a few times since the death of John Hughes (especially about this move, because I'll just say that I seem to be the only person who ever existed who doesn't fawn over it), and really, I just can't get over the fact that the viewer is supposed to believe that all this is possible. It's not, not even in 1986, and there are clues in the movie that let you know this. The Cubs game alone is enough to break it into a million pieces. A vendor mentions that it is the third inning, and in '86 Wrigley Field still didn't have lights, so every game started at 1:20. It'd be a stretch to say that it would be 2 PM by the time the game is in the third inning; it would be more like 2:30 at the earliest.

But the premise gets blown further to bits when the game is on TV (as is Ferris) and you clearly hear Harry Caray say that Lee Smith is pitching. Smith was the Cubs closer, so it would be the 8th inning at the earliest that he'd be on the mound, and quite possibly the ninth inning. That puts Ferris and the gang at Wrigley Field around 4 at the earliest. You think they're driving back to the North Shore, going through the stuff with Cameron wrecking the corvette, etc. in 90 minutes? No way.

I remember feeling this way the first time I saw the movie. And it's petty, sure, but it bothers me that someone didn't catch the infeasibility of all this.

I just hate when movies do this. Yes, I can accept the story of ET crawling out of the garage because you know it's a fairy tale going in, but I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't find Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the sci-fi section of your local video store.

You know what other "classic" movie drives me crazy with this stuff? Jerry Maguire. Decent movie until the last half hour, and then it just loses me. It starts when Rod Tidwell gets injured in the end zone and lays there for a while while Maguire is on the phoen with his wife, detailing how badly he is hurt. I can fathom that, I suppose. But then Tidwell recovers, hears the fans cheering for him, and proceeds to dance and strut all around the end zone. If someone tried that in actual game, someone from the opposing team would clobber him in about five seconds. And then when he got back to the sidelines, his coaching stuff would clobber him for doing it too.

And let's not forget the big revelatory moment when Rod is on a talk show and the host divulges the huge new contract the player has been offered. It's complete bull. No team, no agent, would ever allow something like that to happen.

That kind of stuff drives me crazy yes, can ruin a film for me. My brother is a pilot. You should hear him go on about the dozens of aviation moments in movie involving airplanes that are complete BS. The 747 blowing up at the end of the second Die Hard? Phooey. The rescue of the president in Air Force One? Bunk. I always say he should host the "Oh That Could NEVER Happen" Film Festival. He could have day one, I'd take day two.

Last night I was getting ready to go to bed when I got sucked into a movie called
The Final Season. It's about a high school in Norway, Iowa that built a baseball dynasty, winning 20 championships before the school was closed due to enrollment issues. The film is about that last season, which was spring of 1991, which also happened to be my last semester before graduating from the University of Iowa. I remember hearing about the situation in Norway.

The film seemed true to the story, with some embellishments in it, of course. I doubt that the team really had an angry Chicagoan who happened to excel at the game move to the town just before the season started, among other things, but all in all, it was an adequate baseball movie that told a true story that also happened to be heartwarming: here was a school with a rich tradition of winning about to be gone forever. Could the team win one last title?

Norway does (and did) win, of course, but the recreation of the game is what killed the movie for me (again). I really, really, really doubt that in the last inning that a Norway player went up and over the wall to take a go-ahead home run away from the other team. I doubt that the stud pitcher on the other team was a prick who yelled at his players on the field "do I have to do everything myself?" I doubt that with the bases loaded and the winning run on third that a manager would have his batter bunt.

Wait, unless maybe the manager was...Ferris Bueller!

What's wrong with a little realism? Why make this movie and then turn it into a complete fantasy at the end? Does the average film maker think everyone in his potential audience is a complete moron?

I can hear the collective voice of the movie-watching public telling me to get over it. A movie is a movie, much like a novel is a novel. Which reminds me: what they did to The Time Traveler's Wife was CRIMINAL...ah, don't get me started.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Me? I just about shot the TV when watching the movie "Outbreak," and saw some dumbass lab tech stick his hand into a running centrifuge to stop it. "NO! We don't do that! That's dangerous!" Of course, the dumbass broke a tube of blood, cut his hand, got infected, risked passing it along to others...Grrrrr! We all have our hot button issues with movies.

Never fear--you're not alone in not fawning over Ferris Bueller. I liked it okay, but I've only seen it a couple of times, and never became enamored of it as so many have.

Hey, I'm coming up for a Cubs game this Friday. I'll wave to you!