Danke Schoen January 12, 2010 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Cracked.com references Cool Papa Bell's Ferris Bueller theory as #4 of "6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better". posted by quin to MetaFilter-Related at 12:19 PM (68 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

If I could favorite post titles, I would favorite this one.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:22 PM on January 12, 2010


I'd heard the theory before, but I never knew it originated on Mefi. I love this place.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2010


They left out my theory: That the little gnat that you see in every porn scene that is shot outdoors, usually buzzing around the stars' genitalia, is actually the same insect; it is, in fact, an ancient diety who must be appeased with sugar when an adult film is being made in order to assure the success of the film.

I tried to write a script based on this called Confessions of a Naughty Insect God, but it consisted almost entirely of two fat guys in Hawaiian shirts flinging packets of sugar at a gnat every time they wanted to get laid.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


If I could favorite post titles, I would favorite this one.

Double.
posted by crossoverman at 12:42 PM on January 12, 2010


Nicolas Cage becomes assistant vintner at his Uncle's winery instead of pursuing an acting career.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:45 PM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wickerman was meant to be metacomedy rather than horror.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:46 PM on January 12, 2010


This is your day off and it's ending one minute at a time.
posted by Babblesort at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2010


So is the author of the Cracked piece a MeFite?
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2010


Just cause he said this in the thread--

I'm pleased that people like my Ferris Bueller riff. I can't take credit for it, though -- google it and you'll see others have thought of it. The more I think about it, the more I can't get it out of my mind when I see the movie.

I mean, Cameron falls off the diving board and sinks to the bottom of the pool. Then he just sits there, looking around, waiting for someone to save him. Eventually, Ferris dives into the water. Who's there with them? Sloane. What is she wearing? A lace teddy, fer Chrissakes. It's a teenage fantasy, even more fantastical than the movie is already is.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:21 PM on April 28, 2009

posted by haveanicesummer at 12:52 PM on January 12, 2010


Alan Ruck was 29 when he played Cameron and that makes my head explode.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:02 PM on January 12, 2010


Pretty cool that they reference metafilter, rather than the a-holes who just take mefites quippy talk and post it as their own.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:03 PM on January 12, 2010


Alan Ruck was 29 when he played Cameron and that makes my head explode.

Oh my God, it's not too late for me.
posted by ODiV at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's never too late for your head to explode.
posted by functionequalsform at 1:26 PM on January 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


zarq: Why, just because he'd read it? I doubt it, the theory really made the rounds - see the "previously" link.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:26 PM on January 12, 2010


The first rule of Exploding Head Club is that you don't ta
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm also enjoying the 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy (though Inglourious Basterds is conspicuous in its absence).
posted by misha at 1:38 PM on January 12, 2010


You know what makes my head explode?

Scanners.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:41 PM on January 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


So is the author of the Cracked piece a MeFite?

That comment bounced around the 'net a lot in the following weeks, as did the list of crimes in Ferris Beuller's Day Off.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2010


zarq: Why, just because he'd read it?

It's been known to happen. :D
posted by zarq at 1:52 PM on January 12, 2010


I doubt it, the theory really made the rounds - see the "previously" link.
and
That comment bounced around the 'net a lot in the following weeks, as did the list of crimes in Ferris Beuller's Day Off.

Makes sense. Thanks. :)
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on January 12, 2010


I'm also enjoying the 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy (though Inglourious Basterds is conspicuous in its absence).

Link, please? Hard to navigate around there....
posted by Melismata at 2:08 PM on January 12, 2010


It's never too late for your head to explode.

On the internet your head does not "explode". It "asplodes".
posted by GuyZero at 2:14 PM on January 12, 2010


#6. "James Bond" Is Not a Man, But a Code Name

Ironically enough, this "theory" is used in the 1967 James Bond spoof, Casino Royale, where all the British agents are given the codename James Bond, 007.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:19 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the internet your head does not "explode." It "asplodes."

Calling Faint of Butt to help us derail— More Strongbad references needed here. We truly can never have too many.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:27 PM on January 12, 2010


"A one that is not cold is scarcely a one at all."
posted by Jofus at 2:33 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey there, brontosaurus baby.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:46 PM on January 12, 2010


My favorite Insane Theory That Actually Makes a Lot of Sense When You Think About It—which I read over at TV Tropes which is suffering some glitches at the moment so I can't link to it—is that Luke was supposed to be bait in a trap set up by Obi-Wan and Yoda to try to draw in Vader; Leia was the one they actually wanted to train in the Force and eventually defeat the Empire. Luke just got lucky along the way.

Leia's last name is changed when she's adopted by the Organas, and she's raised on some world entirely unrelated to Anakin's life. Meanwhile, Luke is given his father's last name, lives on the same planet where Anakin grew up, and was raised by Anakin's stepbrother. If the Jedi were really trying to protect Luke, WTF kind of hiding place is that? No, clearly they wanted Luke to be found.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:55 PM on January 12, 2010 [32 favorites]


Also, Artoo is the brains of the operation.
posted by subbes at 3:00 PM on January 12, 2010


Would anyone like to hear my theory about how John Travolta's character in Battlefield Earth is actually a self-hating Psychlo who wants to commit suicide and destroy his race's civilization while he's at it?* It makes a hell of a lot more sense than what we're ostensibly presented with.

* too late, you just did
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:07 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Little Brother Dies In Radio Flyer.

Does this really count as an "insane fan theory?" It's a very reasonable interpretation of the subtext; either the brother runs away, or he dies.
posted by Iridic at 3:15 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most "insane fan theories" are variations of "it was all a dream" or "it was all inside this one character's head". I blame Bobby Ewing and Tommy Westphal.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:23 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


DevilsAdvocate: A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope: Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III.

Makes the existence of the prequels almost bearable.
posted by wnodom at 3:24 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite movie conspiracy theory is that Edward Norton's character in Fight Club is actually Calvin and Tyler Durden is Hobbes.
posted by sambosambo at 3:25 PM on January 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


...and now I see that it's referenced in the Cracked article itself. Carry on.
posted by wnodom at 3:26 PM on January 12, 2010


Melismata : Link, please?

Here.
posted by quin at 3:27 PM on January 12, 2010


I don't know if this qualifies as 'Insane', since pretty much every PKD film includes a mental twist: In Minority Report, when Anderton is sent to jail, the film and reality depart.
The jail they place precriminals in is a sort of virtual reality wonderland "where all your dreams come true." The events after this reflect Anderton's experience inside the machines rather than reality.

So his wife never breaks him out of jail, the precogs remain slaves to the system, justice remains unserved, and he doesn't remarry his wife to live happily ever after in a remote cabin off the coast of Maine. This is probably the interpretation for people who insist that Spielberg ruins every movie with happy endings.
posted by pwnguin at 3:39 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other news, a Ferris Bueller remake is in the works.

I'm going to go ahead and run down to the sign shop and pick up a yard sign that says "GET OFF" before there's a rush.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:39 PM on January 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Most "insane fan theories" are variations of "it was all a dream" or "it was all inside this one character's head".

Is it possible that all movies can be read this way? Let's try it out with the major films of Orson Welles:

Citizen Kane - The reporter is in Kane's head. He's investigating himself.
The Magnificent Ambersons - George is the manifestation of Isabel's self-hatred.
Othello - Iago is the manifestation of Othello's self-hatred.
The Third Man - Harry Lime is dead to begin with; Holly Martin is never in Vienna; the entire film is a daydream on a Swiss Ferris wheel.
Touch of Evil - Vargas is Quinlan's long-repressed superego, and his ample mustache signifies the cop's forsaken virtue.
The Trial - "Josef K." is really Anthony Perkins, who is playing a role in a film.
Transformers: The Movie - Hot Rod killed Optimus Prime, and Unicron is the planet-sized displacement of his guilt. Hot Rod in turn is a figment in the imagination of musician Stan Bush, who needs a narrative epic enough to justify writing "The Touch."
posted by Iridic at 3:47 PM on January 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Meanwhile, Luke is given his father's last name, lives on the same planet where Anakin grew up, and was raised by Anakin's stepbrother. If the Jedi were really trying to protect Luke, WTF kind of hiding place is that? No, clearly they wanted Luke to be found.

To be fair, I think Anakin said that there was nothing left for him on Tatooine and he was never coming back. /bad memory (Luke wasn't very appraising of his home in RTOJ in his conversation with Han after his capture by Jabba) /geek
posted by Atreides at 3:59 PM on January 12, 2010


Somewhere in that article is the theory that the bulk of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is actually a fantasy from an older Henry Jones, Jr., suffering from a lack of oxygen and dying from radiation poisoning, crammed in an old refrigerator.

Also, I know Cracked.com gets little love on the blue, so I'm glad it got snuck in here. It's actually a pretty decent humor blog.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:14 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Iridic: "Let's try it out with the major films of Orson Welles ... Transformers: The Movie"

I didn't realize that was a Welles film. I'm gonna have to go back and rewatch it.
posted by Plutor at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it possible that all movies can be read this way?

Dorothy is from Oz but dreams of living on a black & white farm in Kansas!
posted by crossoverman at 4:17 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Starship Troopers isn't actually the human government's propaganda, but a motivational video made by the bugs to show that humans are all actually vaguely disconcerting animatronic puppets of some kind.
posted by dng at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find that it's easy to read read as any movie as dream or in one character's head. What'll really getcha is when you realize that you can do this with nearly everything else. MetaFilter is not actually a community weblog. It's a fantastic dream that you're having while you snooze at work.

Wake up. You've forgot to finish that spreadsheet for your supervisor.

Wake up.

posted by Mister Cheese at 4:27 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


> It's actually a pretty decent humor blog.

I used to describe Cracked.com as a guilty pleasure, but at some point I stopped feeling guilty about it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:27 PM on January 12, 2010


Plutor: “I didn't realize that was a Welles film. I'm gonna have to go back and rewatch it.”

It's not; Orson Welles just did voice work for it.

And - don't go back and watch it. It's not worth it. It will only depress you and make you feel sad for Orson Welles.
posted by koeselitz at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2010


It's not really that cracked.com gets little love on the blue, it's that people linked to it so much that it got repetitive. Like the onion.
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:45 PM on January 12, 2010


Fight Club: Tyler Durden is actually a very exciting real guy who thinks it would be great to be a taken-advantage-of office drone who never punches anyone.

He and The Narrator have imagined each other. It all takes place inside a black hole, at the dawn of time, in a parallel universe.

Think about it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:01 PM on January 12, 2010


I used to describe Cracked.com as a guilty pleasure, but at some point I stopped feeling guilty about it.

Same for me, except at some point I stopped feeling pleasure. And that point was right away.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:02 PM on January 12, 2010


  • In D. W. Griffith's Birth Of A Nation, if you watch closely you'll notice that all the black people are actually white people dress up as black people.
  • All of Paul Verhoeven's American movies are actually ironical. [viz. RoboCop, Total Recall, and especially Starship Troopers]
  • Four and a half hours into Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's Hitler - ein Film aus Deutschland, as Hitler's bodyguard is giving his hour-long monologue regarding Hitler's daily habits - i.e. what color shoes he preferred, how he liked his clothing dry-cleaned, etc - one of the cars projected on the screen behind him is not actually Hitler's car.
  • Home Alone III was actually a metacommentary about Reagan's legacy to the democratic presidency of Bill Clinton and the metaethical implications of political scandal. Seriously, think about it.
  • That movie you like? We all think it's crap.

  • posted by koeselitz at 5:10 PM on January 12, 2010


    "They left out my theory: That the little gnat that you see in every porn scene that is shot outdoors, usually buzzing around the stars' genitalia, is actually the same insect; it is, in fact, an ancient diety who must be appeased with sugar when an adult film is being made in order to assure the success of the film."

    There are a series of pornographic films titled "Superfuckers," that intersperses vaguely incomprehensible melodramatic hardcore with scenes of video and photo shoots. For anyone who wants to quickly dispel the erotic allure of pornography, there can hardly be a better aid—especially the photo shoots. You see bronzed, shaved and plucked Europeans in Southern California vistas attempting to hold contrived poses of sexual desire without actually having what any normal human would consider intercourse. Rather, it's stiff licks held immobile, penises half inserted, and ejaculate caught then applied then reapplied then replaced with lotion to better catch the light. At each moment, the video camera shows cold, miserable people, while the still camera catches what are ostensible folks having the sexual exploits of their lives. It's the closest to art house I've ever seen in porn (though not the closest to porn I've seen in art house), and entirely unintentional. That the scenes are broken by a wailing electric guitar and explosion folio while some Hagar impersonator squalls "Super-fuckas!" makes it all the more (ironic) better.
    posted by klangklangston at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


    It's all OK, though, cause Cool Papa Bell is just a figment of my imagination, and I'm a character in quin's imagination.
    posted by not_on_display at 5:54 PM on January 12, 2010


    This thread is missing a mention of the "Goofus and Gallant are the same person" theory, which I'm pretty sure originated on MeFi.
    posted by Eideteker at 6:17 PM on January 12, 2010


    This is basically the same as the principle of dream interpretation that every character can be read as "representing" the dreamer. It works, just about universally, because most movies are structured so that all the events and secondary characters are only significant to the extent that they affect the psyche of the hero. The whole movie is a fantasy, not just some of the characters.
    posted by stammer at 6:23 PM on January 12, 2010


    What did quonsar represent?
    posted by mwhybark at 6:29 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Up - the whole movie is the dream of a little boy who has a crush on his neighbor girl but has no idea what girls are like so he kills her off in his fantasy and then has his house float away with a little version of himself.
    posted by allen.spaulding at 7:03 PM on January 12, 2010


    Makes the existence of the prequels almost bearable.

    No, Darth & Droids makes the existence of the prequels bearable. It doesn't really qualify as an alternate interpretation, but rather, the premise is of a science-fiction RPG, illustrated by screencaps from the movies. Follows the plot of the movies in broad strokes but often differs in the details. A lot of the questionable stuff from the movies makes a lot more sense when it's bizarre stuff that the gamers make up, and a perhaps-too-tolerant GM runs with it. One early example: Naboo has a 14-year-old elected queen because one of the gamers had to bring along his little sister, and that's what she came up with. Also notable for coining the phrase "Jar-Jar, you're a genius!" And it's used sincerely, and works in context.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:07 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I like this take on O Brother Where Art Thou, in which the protagonists all die in the flood.
    posted by the duck by the oboe at 7:29 PM on January 12, 2010


    TV Tropes is back up; this page details (and debates) the "Luke as bait in a trap" theory I mentioned above (scroll down the page).

    wnodom: I don't think this theory really has that much in common with the one described in "A New Sith."
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:59 PM on January 12, 2010


    Holy shit. I am just now seeing this. Awesome.

    I feel weird being "the Ferris guy," even though I swear I didn't dream up the idea myself.

    Funny, I had the idea the other day to create a little one-pager Web site that collected all the aspects of the discussion in one place, for a little Internet niche of sorta-kinda-fame. Weird.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:11 PM on January 12, 2010


    You made it pretty clear in that first thread that you didn't feel that it was a totally original idea, but I think the subsequent brainstorming by yourself and others really made it the best resource around for selling the idea.

    I'm perfectly content with you deserving the credit on this one CPB.
    posted by quin at 9:11 PM on January 12, 2010


    Funny, I had the idea the other day to create a little one-pager Web site that collected all the aspects of the discussion in one place, for a little Internet niche of sorta-kinda-fame. Weird.

    I think you should make buttons that say "That Ferris Bueller dream theory? That was me."
    posted by odinsdream at 10:18 PM on January 12, 2010


    Up - the whole movie is the dream of a little boy who has a crush on his neighbor girl but has no idea what girls are like so he kills her off in his fantasy and then has his house float away with a little version of himself.

    Alternate interpretation: our cranky hero hallucinates everything in the film after the nursing home aides arrive to take him away. The balloons popping out of the chimney signal the start of his hallucination.

    Hey, it could work.

    (Also, thanks for the historical film link.)
    posted by thomas j wise at 10:40 PM on January 12, 2010


    To be fair, I think Anakin said that there was nothing left for him on Tatooine and he was never coming back. /bad memory (Luke wasn't very appraising of his home in RTOJ in his conversation with Han after his capture by Jabba) /geek

    Also, at one point Anakin very deliberately explains how much he hates sand. I figured that this was Lucas's staggeringly horrible way of explaining why he never went back to Tatooine.
    posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:46 AM on January 13, 2010


    I've read in way too much detail about that theory that R2D2 is the central character of the Star Wars films, and that Han Solo is just some chump that Chewbacca was using to travel easily. It improves the prequel trilogy some (but then so would anything), but it doesn't do anything at all for the first three and in fact sort of detracts from them by making Han Solo a clueless dipshit.
    posted by DecemberBoy at 3:11 AM on January 13, 2010


    What did quonsar represent?

    Quonsar was the mirror held up to MetaFilter's face revealing the elephant pissing in the room.
    posted by Pollomacho at 5:33 AM on January 13, 2010


    dead cousin ted: "It's not really that cracked.com gets little love on the blue, it's that people linked to it so much that it got repetitive. Like the onion"

    There are certainly people on Metafilter who have a hateon for Cracked and other sites that are "beneath" their notice. I would draw a distinction between people who think of Metafilter as being the best of the web and people who think of it as being better than the web.

    The ironic thing to me is that a lot of the people who are first to dump on other web sites that don't live up to their standards are perfectly fine with posting one line snark and Mefi injokes.
    posted by jefeweiss at 5:57 AM on January 13, 2010


    There are certainly people on Metafilter who have a hateon for Cracked and other sites that are "beneath" their notice. I would draw a distinction between people who think of Metafilter as being the best of the web and people who think of it as being better than the web.
    posted by jefeweiss


    I'm ambivalent and couldn't really care either way if/when any site has good content, but some people's hate for sites like this is their content generation and web design choices are revenue based rather than quality based. Trying to display as many ads as possible. Personally I'm not offended by this particularly, but it's not just that they think they're "above" the site or somesuch. Here is a MeFi post about the subject.
    posted by haveanicesummer at 6:29 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


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