Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ferris Bueller does The Beatles

After writing at length about "Twist and Shout," I knew I would be putting together a subsequent entry on the song's beloved and rapturous inclusion in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. And then last week, of course, John Hughes passed away, which only added to the relevance of my planned post. Like (and because of ) "Twist and Shout," the parade scene in Ferris Bueller bursts with energy and joy; it's a spectacle of wild merriment. Hughes constructed a scene which, in its loose and vibrant physicality, perfectly matched the stimulating essence of The Beatles' classic. What we see Ferris and the throng of parade attendees doing is how "Twist and Shout" sounds. Bodies that flail around are like John's scorching vocal; hips that shake are like the song's crunchy rhythm. It's an ingenious marriage of what the cinema and pop music can individually accomplish.

The most important detail of the scene, though, is this: Ferris is lip-synching, not performing karaoke-style. Which means that even one of the coolest and most endearing dudes of the '80s couldn't pull off this magic on his own. He needed some help. Or, rather, John's vocal is just so immortal that it's not worth trying to replace. Back to School, another quintessentially '80s film, tried this by having Rodney Dangerfield's character handle the lead for "Twist and Shout" in one scene. It's a fun part, no doubt. But it doesn't hold a candle to the charmed antics of Ferris Bueller.

No comments: