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#099. Matthew Broderick

Some actors seem to never age. Even though they came into the public spotlight early in their career, they’ve continued acting while looking almost exactly the same as they did when they started. Sometimes we wonder if they’re keeping a portrait of themselves aging hidden away in an attic somewhere. Matthew Broderick is one of these actors. While he really made a name for himself right out of the gate in the mid-80’s, he has continued acting in films and on Broadway. And yet, he has managed to age gracefully, especially considering that he was 21 when he appeared in his first hit film, WarGames (which reminds us of other young actors who are still acting today). Of course, it became obvious early on that Matthew Broderick was good at comedy. His timing and sly smirk are truly his trademark. And while he’s no Gene Wilder, he’s seen quite a bit of success in doing what he’s good at. This week’s two films show us Matthew Broderick’s early works.

Year: 1983
Rating: PG
Length: 114 minutes / 1.9 hours

Even though his skills lie in the realm of comedy, Matthew Broderick has proven that he can do drama as well. In fact, his portrayal of a Civil War Colonel in Glory was perhaps his most well known dramatic performance. And while not necessarily a serious drama, Broderick’s snarky teenager attitude comes through loud and clear in WarGames, merely accentuating his comedic talents. The character of David that Broderick portrays is a bit of a know-it-all, but realizes that he can really get out of a lot of trouble just by smiling and continuing on with what he was doing. Still, there’s a bit of that childlike wonder imbued in his performance as the computer-wiz learns a thing or two about the world. After all, not everything can be controlled by a computer.

David (Matthew Broderick) is struggling at school. And yet, it’s not because he’s not smart enough to cut it, it’s rather that he finds most of it tedious and boring. There is nothing that he would rather do than to spend time on his computer, surfing the infant world wide web. His hacking skills have helped him get through school, but when he accidentally breaks into a government computer, David quickly learns that you can’t hide on the internet forever. After being captured by the authorities, David makes his way to the physical location of the computer he accessed in the hopes that somehow he can right the wrong he had committed when he asked the computer to play a game of Global Thermonuclear War. He’s smart, but can he break into one of the most secure bunkers in the United States: Cheyenne Mountain?

Ferris Bueller’s Day OffFerris Bueller's Day Off
Year: 1986
Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes / 1.71 hours

If there’s one iconic role that Matthew Broderick has played during his entire career, it would be that of High School senior, Ferris Bueller. The character is such the epitome of freedom and teenage fun that this film has become an integral part of our popular culture. Breaking the fourth wall is often frowned upon, but when Broderick performs his soliloquies, you can’t help but smile. Just like the alter ego of David who appeared in WarGames, Ferris knows that he can get away with almost anything (including also hacking into the school’s computer system to change some personal records). And yet, even though he touts confidence and a free spirit, he still has to work at hiding his fun from the establishment and the rulers that be in his life, lest he be punished for a well deserved day off.

Perhaps the most difficult feat in High School is the successful day of hooky. Not only do you have to trick your parents and the rest of your family into thinking that you’re in school or too incapacitated to attend, but you have to be careful not to get caught. Enter Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a street-smart student who has decided to take a personal day from his studies, because he figures that he’s earned it. Brought along for the ride are his best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), and his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara). During their day out on the town, Principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) is on a mission to catch Bueller in the act of skipping school. After a full day exploring Chicago, Ferris must make it back to his house in time to maintain his ruse.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 monuments to Matthew Broderick

Bacon #: 1 (She’s Having a Baby / Kevin Bacon)


6 responses to “#099. Matthew Broderick

  1. Pingback: End of Act Two | Cinema Connections

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  4. Pingback: #098. Mutually Assured Destruction | Cinema Connections

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