November 7, 1998
The Ferris Bueller Timeline Problem
Most of you have probably seen the movie Ferris Buellerís Day Off, but have you ever asked the question "how did they do all of that in one day?" Well goal for this paper is to prove that it can not all be done in the time frame that the movie portrays, but first, for those of you who have not seen the movie, I will give a brief overview. Ferris Bueller, a popular Chicago high school student, is a master of the art of skipping school. During the spring of his senior year he decides to take the day off. He convinces his parents to let him stay home and when they head to work the fun begins. Ferris calls his hypochondriac best friend Cameron Fry. The two of them scheme to get Ferris girlfriend Sloan out of school. The three of them parade around the city having a great day while their high school principal searches for them. With that short over view I will get into the focus of this paper, this issue of the timeline of the movie.
Ferrisí day stars at around 7:40 when he convinces his parents that he is sick, but for convenience sake we will start his day at 8:00 when his parents leave for work. And we know that he needs to be back by 6:00 when his parents get home from work. I will go through his day event by event taking into account how long it would take the average person to complete each event. Lets start with an outline of the events.
Ok, now lets take a logical look at how long Ferrisís day off took. First Ferris calls Cameron, convinces him he is not sick and to spend the day with him. Ferris then changes the computer at school's record of his absences, drinks by the pool, plays clarinet, calls school to spread news of his sickness, before Cameron finally arrives. These events would take about an hour and fifteen minute, so that would make it 9:15.
From there the two of them proceed to call up the school and trick Mr. Rooney that Sloanís grandmother had died. At that point Ferris realizes that Cameronís car will be too suspicious to pick Sloan up in. They head back to Cameronís to pick up his fatherís Ferrari, and head to school to pick up Sloan. Weíll say that took 45 minutes, now it is 10:00.
From school they head downtown, which we will say is about a half an hour drive. So it is at least 10:30 when they leave the parking garage. They head to the Sears Tower for a trip to the top, weíll assume this is another 45 minutes. From the Sears Tower the three of them head to the Chicago Stock Exchange. Letís say it is 12:00 by the time they leave. From the Stock Exchange the trio heads to the Chicago Museum of Art, they will spend a least 45 minutes there. Not forgetting the 15 minutes it took them to get there, it is now 1:00.
From the museum the trio get an hours worth of lunch at Chez Luis, before heading to Wrigley Field to catch the Cubbies. With the half and hour it took to get to the game and in there seats, it is now 2:30. We will assume Ferris is a baseball fan and that he probably stayed more than 2 innings. So it wold be at least 4:00 before they got out of the park. From the park they head back downtown and catch part of a parade, where Ferris sneaks off and joins the crew on one of the floats. He sings two songs before making his exit. That will add another hour to our total making it 5:00.
After a 15-minute taxi ride through traffic back to the garage, they get the Ferrari and head home at 5:15. A 10-minute stop an the way home to check on Cameron, who flipped out when he saw the mileage, makes there 30-minute drive 40 minutes. So now we are at 5:55. Only 5 minutes left. From her are trio heads to what seems to be Sloanís house for a 30 minute swim. It is now 6:25. After changing there close and heading back to Cameronís, where they destroy the Ferrari, we are looking at, at least another 45 minutes. It is now 7:00 and Ferris still has to walk Sloan home and run to beat his parentís home.
So as you can see, even with the generous amount of time I allowed for each event, there is still not enough time to complete all the events that happened.