Pop Culture

Ferris Bueller 2: What Might Have Been

With the death of writer-director John Hughes in August 2009, all hope of a truly great Ferris Bueller sequel went out the window. It was a concept that had been bandied about the whole two decades since the original's 1986 release, with star Matthew Broderick even remarking that he and Hughes just couldn't come up with an interesting plot, at least one that was faithful to the spirit of the iconic original.

This past week, with the early release of Broderick's Bueller-biting Super Bowl Honda CR-V commercial, America was teased with the idea of a sequel to the beloved hooky comedy. In the end, it was just a crummy commercial, for a car that the millionaire Broderick wouldn't even drive. Or even the fictional Bueller himself by this point in his life.

The angering aspect of the car commercial -- and yes, I understand that it is just that, a car commercial -- is that it toyed with our emotions tied to a character that we grew up with. Why did it have to be Broderick playing himself, this sought-after actor, and not a grown and successful Bueller?

This all made me ponder what a Bueller sequel would entail in 2012 anyway, or in any year since 1986. Visions of Justin Bieber (sigh-shudder-swoon) as a Bueller Jr. dance through studio execs' heads, no doubt.

Here are four treatments for a Ferris Bueller sequel. A remake would never work, because the original cast was too perfect, even down to that guy drooling on his desk in class, though Vincent Gallo as one of the new garage attendants would be ideal. Though having the Richard Edson and Larry Flash Jenkins still somehow going on joyrides through Chicago would be sweetly insane, though improbable with the advent of GPS tracking.

Treatment One

Bueller has parlayed his sweet-talking, tech-savvy persona into a career as a Steve Jobs-type, able to sell most any gadget to every last person on the planet. He long ago dumped Sloane, never getting around to marrying her. But a chance reunion with Sloane, now a reporter for a big-deal news organization like CNN, reignites the fire. Bueller treks over three continents to see her, barely making it back in time to unveil some new Internet-defining piece of metal to wide acclaim. The plot allows Bueller to use his charm to circumvent border crossings and airport security details.

Treatment Two

Ferris Bueller is a sad bastard middle-management drone, stuck once again in the suburbs, with a mortgage, bills, two teen kids -- à la himself and sister Jeanie -- at each other's throats. Bueller decides to have one day to himself, retracing his 1986 steps, sidestepping bosses, his wife -- one Simone Adamley -- plus his own children, who are also on the lam from school. And is that a cameo by Jeffrey Jones's Ed Rooney as an oldster in the grocery store checkout line?

Treatment Three

Bueller and Cameron Frye haven't seen each other in decades, as life had other plans, with Frye now the owner of a quickly expanding mortuary business -- "Carlton Brothers Mortuary," anyone? -- and almost always busy, as Bueller gets to do as he pleases, running a profitable online tutoring Web site. A chance meeting in an airport, as Bueller is seeing his oldest daughter off on a spring break excursion to Cancun, thrusts Frye and Bueller into a trip to Las Vegas to hash out. Predictably, the Buellers' daughter lied about going to Cancun, and you can fill in the rest. There is underage drinking and bonding involved.

Treatment Four

Our film opens with Bueller in a white-collar prison after being implicated in bilking billions from a savings and loan based in Chicago. He's become one of the most beloved inmates in his cell block, if not the entire correctional facility. This is probably the most reasonable and brutally realistic idea for a Bueller sequel. Except for...

Treatment Five
Bueller partied too hard at college after Sloane shacked up with a proto-grunge dude in her last year at Northwest, shattering Bueller's hopes that their long-distance relationship would work. He barely graduates from University of Texas, where he went to study law, and he currently works at a bar on the east side of Austin, and was in the Jesus Lizard for about five minutes. He once punched Kurt Cobain in the side of the head at a party.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty