Friday, February 3, 2012

LIFE MOVES PRETTY FAST:  As long as we're working through how much time Phil Connors had each day to learn French poetry, ice carving, and the piano in Groundhog Day, might as well also tackle the feasibility of Ferris Bueller's timeline.


  1. First of all, it's called "Willing Suspention of Disbelief"

    I also disagree with the timeline in a number of ways.  First of all, I don't understand why, if they park at the Sears Tower why it would take them 45 minutes to get up and down at the tower.  Now, I have never been to the top, but I have to assume it is like any tall building, and given the Empire State Building and World Trade Center in pre-911 days I suspect you could do it in 1/2 an hour.

    As for the Baseball game 15 minutes to find parking?  The Ferrari is "in a garage" so what would they be driving?  They took a cab or the El...and anyone who has ever been to Wrigley knows you can just be there.  It's right in the city.

    Finally, I don't think we can assume that he stayed through the 8th. No reason why we can't assuming he stayed for two innings.  I think that's a big assumption if you want to make the timeline work.

    I'm just saying....

  2. Joseph Finn9:11 AM

    45 minutes to get up and down at Sears Tower?  That's a pretty low estimate.  Figure a 45 minute wait buying tickets and wending through the very long line, 5-10 minutes up, 10 minutes at the top, another 5-10 minutes down, call it over an hour.

    But I agree with Kate that there's no reason to assume they would stay through the 8th.  So you can slap a good hour off of that and kind of make it work.  But geez, those are some generous traffic assumptions.

  3. I agree about the Sears Tower but, again, if we are doing a benefit of the doubt scenario then we have to assume no school groups, no tourists, no lines.  Buy the ticket, wait for the elevators, admire the view, have Cameron act like the serial killer he undoubtedly will turn out to be, go back down.  10 minutes up, 10 minutes there, 10 minutes down, boom, done.

  4. The one that's always, always bugged me in movies is The Blues Brothers

    So, we know they show up late to the show, very late.  But then we only see them perform one song - and the way they enter and leave for that song it's hard to rationalize that there were songs performed that we didn't see.  And then there's the confrontation with Carrie Fisher in the tunnel, which takes a few minutes.  Then they're in the car and, famously, " It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses"  Now, I'm assuming that at certain times Chicago traffic is brutal, but how late did the concert start/end that driving only 106 miles takes them from total darkness to broad daylight? Especially since we know they're in a cop car and OUTRUNNING the cops in a HIGH-SPEED CHASE for a large part of the trip.  Also, according to its current website, the Cook County Assessor's office doesn't even open until 8:30 a.m. (maybe it was earlier back then; I don't know), so we have a rough idea of the earliest time the drive could've ended.

    Given that they were "on a mission from God" I could've more reasonably accepted them covering a great distance in a very short time.  However, covering a short distance in what seems to be a great amount of time bugged me, even as a kid.

  5. Joseph J. Finn11:44 AM

    Somehow, what's even worse for me, since it's not part of a fantasy movie like Blues Brothers, is the HIDEOUS geographical problem at the beginning of When Harry Met Sally.  At the opening of the movie, Sally is picking up Harry at the University of Chicago, located on the South Side of Chicago (call it around 57th street).  She picks him up, they make it very clear they're heading to New York City, they start driving and then BOOM, helicopter shot of the car driving south on Lake Shore Drive towards downtown Chicago.  FROM THE NORTH.  What, did they drive up to Evanston for snacks?  It gives me the vapors, it does.*

    *You know how New Yorkers complain about people turning from a boulevard onto a boulevard?  Like that.

    Car chases like in Blues Brothers I also give a little more latitude because they're inherently (to me) more interesting in daylight.  So they fudge the time a bit and get one of the five best car chases ever out of it. What's annoyipng about the Harry error is that you could easily have gotten just as nice a shot of their car going down Lake Shore Drive at about 57th towards Indiana with the Skyline behind them.  Oy.

  6. Joseph J. Finn11:45 AM

    Hmmm....I think I need to go to the Tower and test this out on a Friday morning in April.

  7. Jordan11:50 AM

    This isn't a problem if you accept the Ferris Bueller-Tyler Durden theory.

  8. Andrew3:30 PM

    The Blues Brothers play two songs at the fabulous Palace Hotel ballroom: "Someone to Love" and "Sweet Home Chicago."

  9. Watts4:12 PM

    Right - so even at two songs (which we pretty much see in their entirety) still not that long a show.  I live in a town where shows are supposed to start late and usually start even later than that, but STILL.

  10. Andrew5:27 PM

    Cab Calloway opened and the band kept jamming for a long time while Jake and Elwood had a car chase. For only $5 (which in 1980 dollars is the equivalent of $13 today), not a bad value, even if it may not have been a particularly long show. 

  11. Andrew5:29 PM

    And the reason that the car chase went so long was to give Jake and Elwood time to get to the Cook County assessor's office, so they likely ended up driving far more than the direct 106 miles to Chicago route.

  12. Joseph J. Finn6:07 PM

    An interesting idea, Andrew; how do we know they didn't take the long way form the Palace Hotel Ballroom to Daley Plaza.*

    *That's where they got the Picasso, one of my favorite Belushi line readings ever, and I love that I get to walk through that plaza at least once a week.

  13. Maggie7:37 PM

    There is similar Michigan Avenue weirdness in "My Best Friend's Wedding."

  14. Jordan9:31 PM

    Did you not see Spielberg there at the end?  His appearance isn't exactly synonymous with wrapping things up in a timely manner.

  15. Watts2:15 PM

    But if they drove more than 106 miles, in that car, wouldn't they have needed to stop for more gas? 

    As a teenager I had the misfortune to drive a 1981 Chrysler New Yorker with a broken gas guage, it worked fine from full to half, but at half the needle dropped immediately to empty. So at that point, you had to set the trip odometer, and you had roughly 100 miles until you'd be out of gas.  

    It's still sloppy.