Bueller? Bueller? Do you even exist? April 30, 2009 1:26 PM   Subscribe

The Ferris Bueller Fight Club Theory, discussed by /film.

It blows my mind. Thanks Cool Papa Bell!
posted by SpacemanStix to MetaFilter-Related at 1:26 PM (123 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I'm happy you posted this, because it's a good reminder of why not to read most website comment sections.
posted by inigo2 at 1:29 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think it's a bit of a stretch to call that a "discussion."

Next time I start thinking the AV Club comments blow chunks, this will be my first port of call to remind me that it's actually pretty rockin'.
posted by Shepherd at 1:32 PM on April 30, 2009


Oh man it's hilarious when hordes of people don't get a joke.
posted by Kattullus at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2009


Oh geez, I just notice there was a metatalk thread already on this. And it's even on the same page. Sorry about that. I was hoping mainly just to point out that the discussion was picked up elsewhere.

That being said though, at least they gave the respect of linking directly to the discussion.

Perhaps we could close this thread.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2009


They didn't read the whole thread, cause CPB made it clear in his next comment that he didn't create this idea and that many references to the idea can be found on the web. Just throwing that out there ahead of anything else getting thrown around.
posted by Science! at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2009


Also, commenter edog has clearly never been to MetaFilter: Who knew it was possible to overthink "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"?
posted by Kattullus at 1:39 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Even more embarrassing is that my first link directs to the metatalk thread.

I don't even know how to explain that. Sorry!
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:39 PM on April 30, 2009


I don't even know how to explain that.

Lack of sleep?
posted by CKmtl at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2009


Lack of sleep?

Actually, yes. That sounds like a pretty good explanation. I'll go with it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2009


You're still here? It's over, go home.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:48 PM on April 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


Yeah, I'm still here.
posted by box at 1:50 PM on April 30, 2009


Geoffree you are an IDIOT! fight club blows?? um no it doesnt, your mother on the hand......now she blows just fine.

Every time I think "man, do I ever sound like an idiot on the internet" someone goes and show me how it's really done. Thanks, adE!
posted by GuyZero at 1:51 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell's comment also highlighted at kottke.org.
posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just caught that Ferris Fight Club Theory thanks to this post, so... thank you. I had read the Ferris Askme and thought that was fantastic, but now I've got something else awesome to think about. For the record, unlike Jezebel and Mentalfloss, when I blogged about this stuff, I linked DIRECTLY to the posts on Mefi. However, unlike those other sites, nobody reads my site.
posted by Bageena at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2009


The nice thing about the theory is that it makes intuitive sense. It just fits, the perfect antiheroic solution to all the unironic 80s camp that simply wouldn't fly in a contemporary film. A generation redefines itself!

Lemme try:
Mallrats was a movie about the American financial system.
posted by cowbellemoo at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2009


My friend Stewart yesterday said that Ferris Bueller's Day Off is the Creedence Clearwater Revival of movies. I think he's right.

Everybody likes it, it's on TV basically non-stop, and yet it remains slightly overlooked in the context of its peers.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:16 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Now someone needs to post an even grander theory about how FBDO syncs up perfectly with a musical recording of Verdi's Othello (with Cameron as Iago) in this thread and it will written up on the NYT front page and then someone will make a thread about THAT and they'll be an even more amazing theory about how a numerical representation of each frame in the film plotted against a human genome can cure Alzheimer's and it will be linked to FROM SPACE and we can all quit our jobs and blog for the government hooray, the end.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:17 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


i have been searching google for a NON cpb-sourced reference to the idea and haven't found one. the internets at large seems to think it's all his, even with his comment to the contrary.

coolpapabell : any chance you could cite a source?
posted by radiosilents at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2009


Ooh, I can do this!

Wall Street was an extended metaphor for high school, and what the "new kid in town" is willing to do in order to fit in with the cool-kid jocks and date the cheerleader. In the end, he realizes that it's not worth it, and he's better off being true to his principles, regardless of personal consequences.
posted by dersins at 2:20 PM on April 30, 2009


Metafilter: some dude's hack-cocked, pot-induced idea on how to come up with something clever that isn't actually well thought-out.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Kottke.org got it (quite indirectly) from a random link.

radiosilents, you'll have to dig a little, because /film got dugg, so this story is spreading pretty far and wide, making historic searches a pain in the ass. (I gave up finding past examples.)

For the record, here's a Calvin & Hobbes take on Fightclub from 2001. If you read that other thread and were wondering.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:34 PM on April 30, 2009


Isn't the whole tagline gag predicated on someone actually having posted the line earlier in the thread, or maybe in the original source in the event that it's not MetaTalk?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 2:40 PM on April 30, 2009


coolpapabell : any chance you could cite a source?

I honestly cannot remember where I read it, or who told it to me. It seems like years ago. It was just one of those things I had in the back of my head, like I knew what "Rosebud" was long before I ever saw Citizen Kane, but can't remember where exactly I learned that.

Here's an example of something that pre-dated my post yesterday, before everyone else ran with "my" version, which I saw on Google yesterday when I said people could Google it to see the meme had been kicking around for a while.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:41 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Somewhere in Illinois, John Hughes is jumping off the roof of his barn.

Yes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:47 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wall Street was an extended metaphor for high school, and what the "new kid in town" is willing to do in order to fit in with the cool-kid jocks and date the cheerleader.

And the Star Wars trilogies are really about the establishment and eventual collapse of the Avignon Papacy. The Emperor is a conflation of Anti-Popes Clement VII and Benedict XIII, for example, while Luke Skywalker is clearly meant to remind us of Martin V. The fiction wears thinnest in Return of the Jedi, which is nothing more than the Council of Constance in sci-fi trappings - right down to the pointless death of Boba Fett/Jan Hus.
posted by Iridic at 3:01 PM on April 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


Weekend at Bernie's is actually about the vapidness of modern life in a post-ironic age.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:02 PM on April 30, 2009


It also just made the front page of Digg.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:07 PM on April 30, 2009


Passion of the Christ - the downbeat tale of an unemployed carpenter who dies ironically in a carpentry accident.
posted by fire&wings at 3:21 PM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


I knew Cool Papa Bell before he was famous.
posted by languagehat at 3:21 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was vaguely aware of Cool Papa Bell before he was famous, also other people that might be famous in the future.
posted by Science! at 3:28 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


here's my and my friend's thoughts, in chat form:

me: in many ways Cameron is the more interesting character
me: darker and more flawed
me: Batman to Ferris's Superman
me: if you will
friend: he's me, whereas ferris is nigh impossible
me: well i have never met anyone who identified with Ferris
me: you'd have to be a pretty arrogant dick to do so
me: Ferris is wish fulfillment of someone who cant do those things
me: which is why this theory works so well
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2009


This is a pet theory of mine that I've been wanting to kick around: Star Wars makes a lot more sense if you realize that Yoda was working undercover for the Dark Side all along.

Evil Yoda Theory explains why he didn't want Anakin to become a Jedi in the first place (make him angry and he'll turn on them).

It explains why, with all of his powers to see the future, Yoda couldn't tell that the Emperor was a bad guy when he was right under their noses the whole time--really, of course, Yoda knew this, but he'd throw them all off with statements like, "Uncertain, the future is..."

Yoda also apparently didn't sense Anakin's nightmares, so by the time Anakin went to save his Mom on Tattooine, it was too late, which led to Anakin's first big killing spree. And when Anakin again has nightmares about Padme dying, it is Dooku rather than the Jedi who helps him, leading to the second big killing spree--which begins with the younglings Yoda was supposed to be teaching to fight. All of them were massacred by one Jedi, so apparently they didn't learn much.

It sure took a long time for Yoda to get to the Arena when Obi Wan, Padme and Anakin were fighting with the other Jedi. Mace Windu fought and killed Jango, threatened Count Dooku, the other Jedi joined in--Yoda only gets there in time to say, "Around the survivors a perimeter form."

Rather then watching over either Luke or Leia, Yoda goes back to his home world to muck around in the swamp. Leia's home planet of Alderon gets blown up and Luke's Uncle's place is burned to the ground. Obi Wan saves Luke only after Leia sends a message, which she does NOT route through Yoda.

When Luke comes to Yoda to be trained, Yoda acts crazy and steals his food, trying to throw him off. Yoda only fesses up after he is subjected to Luke's annoying whining, and then he spends some time complaining to a dead Obi Wan that Luke is not worthy of training.

Then, Yoda tries to keep Luke from saving his friends when Han is frozen in carbonite, but when Luke is successful, Yoda goes and dies on him before he can complete his training and blows it off with a "Your training is complete" lie.

It's only after Yoda dies that Luke is able to turn Anakin/Vader back to the Force and bring balance again.
posted by misha at 3:50 PM on April 30, 2009 [25 favorites]


I know I've seen a fleshed out version of the Evil Yoda theory on MetaFilter, somewhere. Droids, supporting characters, a lot of development.
posted by Science! at 4:04 PM on April 30, 2009


Oh man it's hilarious when hordes of people don't get a joke.

That hasn't been my experience.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:07 PM on April 30, 2009


Wall Street was an extended metaphor for high school, and what the "new kid in town" is willing to do in order to fit in with the cool-kid jocks and date the cheerleader. In the end, he realizes that it's not worth it, and he's better off being true to his principles, regardless of personal consequences.

Nah, that was The Devil Wears Prada.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:10 PM on April 30, 2009


Since this post is about a comment on a MeTa post, shouldn't it be over on MetaMetaTalk?
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:10 PM on April 30, 2009


Hey, that's Metafilter's Own Random Link.
posted by gerryblog at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2009


This whole thing is way too Freudian for me anyway...I prefer a postmodern Jungian archetype meta-analysis.

The Bueller Primordial Image, first unearthed or unleashed in 1986 but still rippling outward in many other guises, is a smug, clairvoyant vampirehero, at his worst when he breaks the fourth wall and one-ups even the viewer's skills of imagination. He is everything the miserable, trenchcoat-wearing, stuck-in-his-own-mind artist who created him despises about modernity--how easy it is for the winners and how the losers can only bask in their magnanimity--and yet by his very nature he cannot be killed or even mildly conflicted by his creator. His only weakness is that he never graduates from high school. We're only now beginning to see the full effects of this insidious soul-smog that bubbled up out of the hateful collective unconsciousness of the results-oriented 1980s. Die Ferris, DIE I SAY!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2009


"Indiana Jones never went on any crazy adventures, they were all in the head of this boring college instructor, which is why he never has anything to show for it at the end."

This is actually better than the Ferris Club theory.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:18 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Next you guys will be saying the A-Team never went on their crazy adventures and that they were all in the head of Capt. H. M. Murdock (Ret.), who was really just down at the corner bar getting drunk and telling tall tales to the locals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:30 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's this sort of thing that made Ebert's review of Donnie Darko, at least the one I heard on-air, irritate me so. Ebert's stance was that what we saw was, for the most part, not happening — this was all occurring in the mind of a singularly disturbed Donnie. I will allow that this is possible.

However, narrator unreliability is a tricky, tricky thing. Once you start playing that game, it can apply to practically anything. Star Wars? The delusions of a committed farmhand who lost a limb in a tractor accident and when batty thereafter. You can play this game with nearly any film. It gets dull, and lacks explicatory power.

Now, Evil Yoda? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
posted by adipocere at 4:35 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


In Who's the Boss?, Tony Danza's character doesn't actually exist; he was dreamed up by Mona, the sexy senior citizen, so that she could have someone to flirt with. Because in reality she was bed-ridden, confined to a soundproof attic by her uncaring family.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:37 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Porky's is actually about how vulnerable we feel about the swine flu.

first to drop the "swine flu" memeturd in the thread!
posted by qvantamon at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2009


In Who's the Boss?, Tony Danza's character doesn't actually exist; he was dreamed up by Mona, the sexy senior citizen, so that she could have someone to flirt with. Because in reality she was bed-ridden, confined to a soundproof attic by her uncaring family.

In the history of television, this development in Who's the Boss? marked the start of what television critics would later term "a very special episode", which, among other very special plot twists, led to the "very special" basement dungeon episode of Mr. Belvedere and the "very special" military lab dissection episode of ALF.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2009


How does the TV series fit into all of this?
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:55 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


How does the TV series fit into all of this?

Ha! It even makes fun of the movie.
posted by niles at 5:01 PM on April 30, 2009


The Bueller theory is fundamentally flawed. In Fight Club, only Brad Pitt's character is imaginary. Everything else that is depicted is ostenisibly happening in the film's reality, and is not a figment of Ed Norton's imagination. That is the nature of the conceit.

The Bueller theory as proposed states that the bulk of what is depicted onscreen is merely imaginary, that Cameron is in reverie somewhere and not actually doing the things he's imagining himself doing. If you were proposing that it was just Cameron and Sloane driving around, that Sloane believed Cameron to be her boyfriend based on his "Bueller" persona's actions, that would be an appropriate formulation of the theory, but that probably can't be made to fit all the onscreen action.
posted by anazgnos at 5:05 PM on April 30, 2009


Yeah, I don't particularly like the "it was all a dream" aspect of the theory. I think it works better as a Fight Club parallel if it's being told from Tyler Durden's perspective. Cameron/Ferris are actually going out and doing all of these things, but everyone only knows the Ferris persona. Ferris is the one going out and rallying people, and Cameron is the one hanging around in the background, only interacting with the love interest. It actually holds up pretty well throughout the movie. Except that Sloan talks to both of them as separate people. But that's easily hand-waved away with an unreliable narrator.
posted by team lowkey at 5:28 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

People in the world of T. J. Hooker are automatons and object types, reacting predictably to 'new' situations.

Situations, I think, created in the mind of T. J. Hooker himself.

This assertion is compelling and changes the whole meaning of the show. The plots, for example, are so shockingly repetitive and wish-fulfilling as to suggest a cherished daydream. Certainly the one-sided crooks and sidekicks lend credence to this idea.

[...] If each episode started with Hooker falling asleep or staring absently from behind his desk, the series would have been received as a work of genius.
from Officer Down! A Perspective On TJ Hooker, by Tom Maxwell. (Originally published in Stay Free! Ignore the lad-mag picture captions; Maxwell had nothing to do with them.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:32 PM on April 30, 2009


All of these plots were dreams of Bob Newhart. Way too much MSG on his Chinese ("Moo Goo Gai Pan") take-out that night.
posted by ericb at 5:38 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you want to be a stickler, the Fight Club movie/book is pretty flawed itself. A schizo that gains a loyal following by punching each other? I know Ramtha fills two-thirds of those requisites, but come on.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:39 PM on April 30, 2009


So does 'howling mad' Murdoch ever actually leave the hospital?
posted by Artw at 5:39 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


All of these plots were dreams of Bob Newhart.

Bob Newhart himself is just a figment of an autistic child's imagination.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:40 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Exactly, team lowkey. Ferris is actually pretty talented but is dogged by a crippling fear of success. He's only pretending, he tells himself, and one day everyone is going to see through all of his BS. Cameron is a manifestation of those fears, the person he believes he really is, deep down.
posted by zhwj at 5:41 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since when did this place become Clerks?
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:51 PM on April 30, 2009


The CPB theory puts an interesting spin on the scene where Ferris talks Cameron into impersonating Sloane's father.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:33 PM on April 30, 2009


I think my favorite theory is the Garfield Is Dying one, relating to these strips from (I think) 1989.

The idea that the mundane, stale humor of the daily Garfield strips ever since have really been a poor cat's desperate delusions as it slowly starves to death in an empty, forgotten home... There's something horrifying in that idea, something that kicks you in the gut.

But, then again, those strips are just so grisly and weird that I wonder if it's a hoax or something.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:10 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Bueller theory as proposed states that the bulk of what is depicted onscreen is merely imaginary, that Cameron is in reverie somewhere and not actually doing the things he's imagining himself doing. If you were proposing that it was just Cameron and Sloane driving around, that Sloane believed Cameron to be her boyfriend based on his "Bueller" persona's actions, that would be an appropriate formulation of the theory, but that probably can't be made to fit all the onscreen action.

Yeah that's true, but I think the theory still works if you take it as a "Pan's Labyrinth theory" on of Ferris Bueller were the fantasy and the reality are intentionally blurred. I've long thought that this works quite well with American Psycho as well.
posted by afu at 8:19 PM on April 30, 2009


The idea that the mundane, stale humor of the daily Garfield strips ever since have really been a poor cat's desperate delusions as it slowly starves to death in an empty, forgotten home... There's something horrifying in that idea, something that kicks you in the gut.

Garfield should taken at face value is enough for mind fucking. The key insight is to realize that John is never shown to see Garfield as anything more than a normal cat, he never interacts with the thought bubbles. So how should we take them then, are they John's unconscious projections of his inadequacies or are they a meta commentary by the author on the average man's pathetic life?
posted by afu at 8:28 PM on April 30, 2009


metametatalk.metafilter.com goes back to metafilter.com. I think this is a sign that someone should make a FPP about all these metatalks...
posted by jrishel at 8:41 PM on April 30, 2009



Yeah that's true, but I think the theory still works if you take it as a "Pan's Labyrinth theory" on of Ferris Bueller were the fantasy and the reality are intentionally blurred. I've long thought that this works quite well with American Psycho as well.


Thought it works well? Isn't that the entire deal with Patrick Bateman?
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2009


Considering that the change I want to effect in the world is to encourage more cognizant readings of visual media, I find this discussion weirdly annoying.

I will say that Donnie Darko's Day Off might be the best movie mashup ever.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:11 PM on April 30, 2009


How about, the Angela Lansbury character on "Murder She Wrote" was an unrivalled serial killer skilled at framing others?
posted by Pronoiac at 10:20 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


How about, the Angela Lansbury character on "Murder She Wrote" was an unrivalled serial killer skilled at framing others?


Now that I like.
posted by lysdexic at 10:34 PM on April 30, 2009


How about, the Angela Lansbury character on "Murder She Wrote" was an unrivalled serial killer skilled at framing others?

For years, our household has claimed that if "that bitch from Maine" ever comes around to visit, we're going to make sure we get out of town for a week or so. If she's not a serial killer herself, she is the WORST kind of weirdness magnet.
posted by hippybear at 10:59 PM on April 30, 2009




I knew Cool Papa Bell from way back, before I forgot him. But then I remembered him again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next you'll say Betty dreamt up the whole thing in Mulholland Drive.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:30 PM on April 30, 2009


It's this sort of thing that made Ebert's review of Donnie Darko, at least the one I heard on-air, irritate me so. Ebert's stance was that what we saw was, for the most part, not happening — this was all occurring in the mind of a singularly disturbed Donnie. I will allow that this is possible.

However, narrator unreliability is a tricky, tricky thing. Once you start playing that game, it can apply to practically anything. Star Wars? The delusions of a committed farmhand who lost a limb in a tractor accident and when batty thereafter. You can play this game with nearly any film. It gets dull, and lacks explicatory power.


Well yeah, but with a film like DD, there are fairly good reasons to suspect that the narrator might be unreliable - his mental illness, for one. You don't see that in every film, certainly not Star Wars which is played pretty straight (I mean, there are mysteries, but the whole premise of the series is that we the audience will find out the answers to those mysteries).
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:59 PM on April 30, 2009


Ever notice how Bill Murray is the only one not covered in marshmallow goo at the end of Ghostbusters? Everthing up until then really happened, but he went insane when they crossed the streams and Ghostbusters 2 is entirely in his imagination.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 12:19 AM on May 1, 2009


Isn't that the entire deal with Patrick Bateman?

Yeah. It is funny that it crops up on that Ten Alternative Movie Theories list above because that is actually the intended reading.
posted by ninebelow at 3:44 AM on May 1, 2009


Lack of sleep?

Actually, yes. That sounds like a pretty good explanation. I'll go with it.


Ok, that might explain the post, but what about the attempts to buy us off?
posted by Pollomacho at 4:41 AM on May 1, 2009


here's my and my friend's thoughts, in chat form:
Is that your friend mrjim11?
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:09 AM on May 1, 2009


...Ghostbusters 2...

I FUCKING KNEW IT
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:30 AM on May 1, 2009


Next you'll say Betty dreamt up the whole thing in Mulholland Drive.

I read that as Batty and before I got any further in the sentence I was seized with the image of a dying replicant dreaming of a hunter to give his death some kind of purpose...

but, oh yeah, Mulholland Drive. Got ya.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:30 AM on May 1, 2009


Ooh ooh ooh, can I try! I got a good one...

So, in the movie "Blade Runner" the protagonist is a hapless gumshoe detective who's mission is to "retire" a group of renegade "replicant" robots who are running amuck. Through the course of tracking down replicants, we learn that they are imbued with pre-installed memories to help create a normative social experience that prevents them from going on homicidal rampages. However, the entire existence of Decker is called into question when we learn that he shares some of the common memories as the replicants, leading the viewer to wonder if Dekcer himself is indeed the same breed of replicant he himself is charged with retiring.


Did I do it right? Did I do it right?

Shit.

posted by slogger at 6:57 AM on May 1, 2009


Well yeah, but with a film like DD, there are fairly good reasons to suspect that the narrator might be unreliable - his mental illness, for one.

But also, trying to tug a narrative that makes total 100% sense from a movie like DD is an exercise in frustrated wankery. It's such a dreamy half-stoned take on suburban life with lots of casual weridness. That sustained-gently-doomed mood is my favorite part of the film (When the camera slowly turns as the kids get off the buss, the guitar riff right when the red car appears in the beginning. Ahh). So the director's cut pissed me off to no end when he added in all these talky explain-y scenes and new music that did not fit the action at all and chopped up the werid internal rhythms the movie had developed.

If I was being really, really stupid, like if I had syndicated colmn of some sorts, I'd say DD is the suburban stoner's Last Year at Marienbad.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on May 1, 2009


God I hate the unsubtle, stupid, "Bzzt! I am a robot!" version of Blade Runner.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


qvantamon : Porky's is actually about how vulnerable we feel about the swine flu.

Now you're just being silly. Most people will suggest that Porky's is a critical look at the state of modern entrepreneurship in a rural environment, but they'd be wrong. It actually a metaphor for the the posthumous execution of Oliver Cromwell in 1661 and a statement on the condition of those who would advocate for such a thing.

Anyone paying attention should be able to clearly read this between the lines.
posted by quin at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2009


Next you'll say Betty dreamt up the whole thing in Mulholland Drive.

I vote Diane.
posted by owtytrof at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2009


"God I hate the unsubtle, stupid, "Bzzt! I am a robot!" version of Blade Runner.

But wasn't that from a time that it was okay to do stuff like that before it wasn't cool to do it anymore? I don' think it was cliché yet.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2009


Since when did this place become Clerks?

And if cortex is on vacation, and matt and jessamyn are in New York... who is driving?
posted by ormondsacker at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2009


Ssh!
posted by languagehat at 8:57 AM on May 1, 2009


I'm imagining vacapinta wandering around the halls of Meta like Burgess Meredith in that twilight zone episode.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on May 1, 2009


who is driving?

BEAR IS DRIVING. HOW CAN THAT BE?
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:27 AM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


It was a cliche in the 50s.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2009


Next you'll say Betty dreamt up the whole thing in Mulholland Drive.

I vote Diane.
posted by owtytrof at 8:07 AM on May 1 [+] [!]


I was thinking Wilma, myself.
posted by ooga_booga at 10:36 AM on May 1, 2009


Next you'll be telling me there is no Cabal. Who have I been playing Thursday Night Poker with, then? I mean, I... hold on, someone's at the door...

[walk walk walk ... SFX opening door ... Yes, can I help y
OAAAGGGHHHRRRGHHHgurgle]
posted by not_on_display at 12:54 PM on May 1, 2009


My last conversation about Blade Runner went something like:

Guy: "Yeah, I like the Director's cut of Blade Runner."
Me: "You mean the new new Director's cut?"
"Well, the most recent Director's cut."
"Yeah, there's like four versions now."
and he's like"Well, they originally blah blah blah..."
and then I'm like"Yeah but blahdy blahdy blah"

then I got bored and just agreed because the movies great, but I like book better.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2009


hey, i just saw another movie that absolutely fits the FBDO theory:

Let the Right One In (Swedish: Låt den rätte komma in) - "a 2008 Swedish romantic vampire film" which is actually horrible & brutal if you assume that certain elements are entirely in the main character's head.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2009


And if they are real, it's not horrible and brutal? Vampire sympathizer!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:05 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Little known fact: Parker Lewis Can't Lose is actually a cryptodrama about the conflict between the concepts of free will and predestination.

That the show was not titled Parker Lewis May Or May Not Lose, Depending On the Choices that He and Others Make tips the writers' hand a bit, in my opinion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:07 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pacific Blue was actually science fiction. The bike cops were from the future, and their bikes were Segways, but in the 90s our brains weren't able to comprehend such wondrous vehicles. Also, Mario Lopez was a cylon.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:14 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you assume that certain elements are entirely in the main character's head.

And ignore the plot of the book on which the movie's based.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:16 PM on May 1, 2009


Ah, Parker Lewis, the Ferris Bueller lite. I always notice when the big bully character shows up on TV these days.
posted by nomisxid at 2:17 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


We would like to declare that We had no part in not_on_display's disappearance.

We were having dinner with friends at the time. The Elders of Zion will corroborate Our alibi.
posted by the Cabal at 2:32 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


And ignore the plot of the book on which the movie's based.

because movies are always true to the books on which they're based?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:36 PM on May 1, 2009


because movies are always true to the books on which they're based?

When the author of the book and the screenplay are one in the same, it tends to happen, yeah.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:49 PM on May 1, 2009


meh. without giving away any spoilers, i think it's entirely plausible that there was a real-life schoolyard story, alongside an imaginary vampire friend who sublimated & compensated for what was actually happening. and the ending was about 100% diametrically opposite to what was shown.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 PM on May 1, 2009


I do like that theory. I lived through a similar situation, if you replace "vampire" with "the Duke brothers".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 PM on May 1, 2009


The amusing thing about the /film discussion is how many people take it seriously as a theory and try to refute it.

DUH.

Interesting to think about, though.
posted by empath at 4:01 PM on May 1, 2009



because movies are always true to the books on which they're based?


I think that the reading of American Psycho in which Patrick Bateman made it all up is more strongly supported by the film. I read the ending of the book as more saying that in Bateman's world it ultimately doesn't matter because he is surrounded by people who are themselves so close to being inhuman that they can't tell each other apart enough to notice if one of them is missing or dead or a killer.

But I haven't read it in a few years, so i could be off on that.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:13 PM on May 1, 2009


UbuRoivas' take on "Let the Right One in" & the "bzzt! I am replicant" take on Blade Runner are probably best taken as fanfic & stupid fanfic at that.

Ubu: The imaginary vampire friend appeared in scenes, doing stuff without being "observed" by whatsisface.

I think I'm annoyed at this because this is about a step before going "wait a minute. ALL THESE MOVIES ARE IMAGINARY! THIS TALE ONLY TOOK PLACE IN THE SCREENWRITER'S HEAD. OH FUCK. WHAT IF THE SCREENWRITER IS IMAGINARY BECAUSE I MADE HIM UP?"

No good can come of that. Other than more imaginary stories, of course.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:16 PM on May 1, 2009


so, Oskar wasn't capable of imagining her going about her business without him?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2009


I would just like to point out that Ferris Bueller's Day Off features one of these.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:30 PM on May 1, 2009


(So does Let the Right One In)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2009


Unless your reimagining is at least as thematically provocative as the original, in concert with it, it's pretty much - I don't want to use "fanfic" as a descriptor of masturbatory interaction with the text, because fanfic can be so much better than that - it's just junky whatiffery. A trompe le monde isn't always a generative recontextualization, even if it is the funnest trope ever, which it is, imo. The Cameron's Dream FBDO is compelling because the film is originally a fantasy of teenage autonomy. By making it Cameron's fantasy, the viewer is able to identify with the experience of that desire for autonomy in a more conscious way.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2009


Since Jeannie never meets Cameron directly, that means Jeannie is a figment of Cameron's imagination as well, which works out nicely, as Jeannie represents Cameron's unease with "Ferris'" style, until the end of the movie: Cameron finally accepts Ferris' live-for-the-moment philosophy, and thus he imagines Jeannie, previously trying to bust Ferris, now covering for him and saving him from Rooney.

Oh, and if you like this kind of speculation, you'll love the Wild Mass Guessing section of TV Tropes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:05 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


» On the other hand, the very first sentence of American Psycho the book
ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank ...
which of course is (in the translation I read at least) the same warning inscribed above the gateway to hell in Dante's Inferno (which we all know is about Dante's imaginary journey through hell, etc.).

Although Bateman has no Virgil, never sees the "divine light" -- instead (co-)creates his own imaginary(?) hell and is forever stuck there as the book ends with
... and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry's is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes' colors are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT.
But yea, basically what you said.
posted by Glee at 5:17 PM on May 1, 2009


Star Wars makes a lot more sense if you realize that Yoda was working undercover for the Dark Side all along.

So when he fought the Emperor, did he throw the fight?
posted by homunculus at 6:51 PM on May 1, 2009


Star Wars makes a lot more sense if you realize that Yoda was working undercover for the Dark Side all along.

Star Wars 1-3 make a lot more sense if you realize that George Lucas was working for the Dark Side all along.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:59 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Although Bateman has no Virgil, never sees the "divine light" -- instead (co-)creates his own imaginary(?) hell and is forever stuck there as the book ends with

... and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry's is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes' colors are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT.

But yea, basically what you said.


Yah. Bateman's fantasies are all recursive. He can't escape. The Political interview at the end, "how can he lie like that?" Bateman is already in hell, where knowledge means nothing. Even the knowledge that he's in a prison can't save him, he's forever stuck, like Jack in the photo of the overlook hotel, in a perfect hell.
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2009


solipsism lol

And everyone knows that Angela Lansbury is the Angel of Death.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:37 AM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Isn't the whole premise of "The Wizard of Oz" that there is no way to tell if Dorothy ever actually left Kansas at all?
posted by nomisxid at 7:42 AM on May 2, 2009


Assuming Oz is within Kansas airspace...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on May 2, 2009


Weren't they all really dead anyway?
posted by pointilist at 1:09 PM on May 2, 2009


In "The Wizard of Oz" books--and there were many--Dorothy goes and comes back to Kansas many times. Of course, the whole series could be her imagination, but I always felt that part of the movie (Oh, she hit her head and dreamed it!) was a cop-out.
posted by misha at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2009


it's clear that Ferris Bueller is in fact a vampire.
posted by geos at 4:30 PM on May 2, 2009


Isn't the whole premise of "The Wizard of Oz" that there is no way to tell if Dorothy ever actually left Kansas at all?

The Wizard of Oz, as bizarre as it may sound, was actually a really elaborate political treatise.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:19 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember reading an essay proposing that the whole Star Wars series was about R2-D2's life as a rebel spy. Or something. It was pretty clever.
posted by epersonae at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2009


Here you go, epersonae.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:55 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: The Wizard of Oz, as bizarre as it may sound, was actually a really elaborate political treatise.

Here's a pretty convincing rebuttal of the claim that that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a retelling of the struggle of populism in 1890s USA.
posted by Kattullus at 1:47 PM on May 4, 2009


Tracking the spread of CPB's original post: it was mentioned today (with correct attribution!) in Canada's National Post, in the Of The Week column.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:42 AM on May 9, 2009


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